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Sunday, May 8, 2016

Making Changes a Little Bit at a Time

My life has been insane for the last few months. In the last two months I've shopped for, found, negotiated and closed on a new house. I've had my first release in almost a year. And I've been in another car accident. Its been complete chaos. I guess its fairly common, but I'm not a fan of this everything happening at once. I know I don't have control over it, but if I did, I'd love to have a little more space between these events in the future.

Now that everything is slowing down a little. And by little, I mean from 60mph to 30mph. Not completely still. At least not yet. I want to start making some changes in my life. I'm not happy with a few things that have started to become the norm for me lately. Like not writing, not exercising, limited reading, and more stress than I'm comfortable with. Now that I have a new house, I want to start working on becoming a more improved me.

But applying these changes, I will admit, intimidates me. I've gotten into these bad habits for a reason. And breaking them will take work. So I was a little scared to start the process, until I came to a realization the other day. Why do I have to do this all at once? Why can't I do a little bit at a time?

So that's what I'm trying to do. I've decided to take all the bad habits I want to change, or the good ones to want to apply, and break them down into small bits, so I can start slowly implementing them into my life.

For example, one of the things I want to change is watching so much TV. I've gotten in the habit of coming home from work, slump in front of the boob tube and doing nothing else for the rest of the night. As a result I don't get anything done. So this last week I've started to enact one night a week watching no TV. I don't even turn the thing on. And even crazier, I've started to look forward to it. I listen to the radio, music or podcasts. But no TV. Not only is this one night a week now something fun and different from the rest of my routine, I actually get more done, because I'm not wasting my time slumped on the couch. Not only that day, but for several after.

Another way to set aside time to do something different, is called the pomodoros method. The idea behind this is to really focus on a task for 25 minutes and then take a 5 minute break. By putting a timer on it you can trick yourself into focusing because its only for a limited time. What can't wait 25 minutes? With the held of kanbanflow I've started to use this technique to focus more on my writing and completed several important tasks (like this blog) and I believe it has helped to improve my productivity. Often the starting of a task is the hardest part, and using this method helps me jumpstart myself into work. I try to use my breaks to clean (since one of the other things I'd like to change is to be more tidy) but on that I can't confess I am always successful.

And most important I am trying to reward myself. I am horrible about rewarding myself when I do something good (but not so bad at punishing myself when I do something wrong-another work in progress) and I am really trying to focus on changing that. Even small rewards, like a starbucks coffee instead of the stuff in the cafeteria, or going to a movie just because I've hit some important bench mark, makes a huge difference on my motivation and overall moral.

I can't claim to be perfect on any of these new habits. Far from it. But I am trying. And some days that's all we can do. Get up each day and try to do better than the one before it. Will these new habits stick? Only time will tell. But I can tell you for sure, even if they don't, my life will be better for the time I make them work.

So what do you want to change in your life? What little things can you do today to start moving towards these goals. Because I can assure you, every tiny step brings you closer to where you want to be. We are all this boat together, trying to be the best versions of ourselves, no matter how many times we might fall flat. The only real failure is to not try at all.

1 comment:

Tina Donahue said...

Great ideas, Willa. Hope everything turns out the way you want it to. :)