Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Developing a Habit

How long does it take to make a habit of something? I have seen articles claiming anywhere from twenty-one to one hundred days. And really, I think there are too many variables for a one-size solution. Where is it on a continuum of MostFunEver to Borrrring (or Painful?) Is it enough of a stretch to be compelling? Does it involve intrinsic or extrinsic rewards and expectations? Is there muscle memory involved? How much time does it take?

The experts tell us that as we take on new habits, there are ways we to encourage success.  Having some way of being accountable is a biggie among most sources. Carving out the time for the habit helps, too, especially if it is keyed to times of day when you have the headspace to get it done. Figuring out how to handle things when you would rather do anything BUT the task you have set before you... The lists go on.

It works in my favor that I am a completionist--I really enjoy getting to check things off my to-do list, turning things in, and knowing that I have done what I set out to do. I am not, however, especially quick with these things, and often pull things down to the very end.  (What? It's 11:52 and you haven't done three of your daily things yet today? Get on it, young lady! Then GO DIRECTLY TO SLEEP!)

I have been working on blogging daily. Today, if I am doing my math correctly, is Day 40.

In some ways, blogging every single day is easier than whenever I get around to it. Because let's face it--there are thousands of things that could keep me from that whenever. And then I feel horrible because I haven't written in months and it feels like it has been so long that I won't be able to restart... oy, the cycle.

A daily practice ups the urgency and keeps it on my personal radar.

It has also helped me to accept that not every post will be Totally Amazing and Immediately Changing The World. As a perfectionist, this is a major issue. Sometimes it is just about sticking with the habit, being ok with 'ok', and developing a specific voice. And simply getting something OUT THERE, instead of hiding away. And anything that helps me take myself a little less seriously? Bonus.

So, has the habit stuck yet? Nope. This evening I nearly fell asleep on the couch with any number of things left undone. And it still feels somewhat unnatural-I do not easily fall into a flow most days, and the editing can be soul-sucking. (A journaling practice is so much easier for me, as I don't have to edit!) I still have problems with endings that aren't completely abru

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