It's scary making large sweeping promises, even if they're to yourself. There's something about long time horizons that churn our stomachs a little bit. If I asked you to give up sugar for the rest of your life, could you do it? Just thinking about it might make you uncomfortable. I almost never eat sugar and it makes me uncomfortable. If I ask you not to eat sugar just tomorrow, though, it's easy to agree.
Our brains can conceive of forever and they can conceive of just one day, but intuitively forever doesn't just seem like a collection of single days. It seems like something much bigger.
One of the tricks to sticking to habits is to not think very far ahead. Commit to something for a length of time that makes sense, but then stop thinking about that duration. Just think about today.
I have an ongoing bet with my friend Ben where I can't visit any non work-related site on my computer except during meal time. The duration of the bet is three months, but it could have been any length, really. I know that I can avoid visiting sites today, so that's all I really consider. If a day felt really difficult, I'd just think about each hour. Can I avoid those sites for an hour? Sure, that's easy.
The hours stack up into days, the days stack into weeks, and the weeks stack into months.
The interval doesn't have to be time-- it can be anything. When I'm doing a 20 rep set of squats, I don't think of my entire workout or even the set. I just think about each rep. Can I do this one more time? Yep. Good. Now can I do another one? Yep...
You could say that this is all semantics, which is true only if you don't internalize it. There are many different lenses through which the world can be viewed, and this particular one makes it pretty easy to stick to long term committments. If you know to use it when you're having trouble in that area, it's a nice little tool. When you're deciding on commitments, rather than executing on them, you may find it better to take a really long term view and ask yourself, "What could I do every day for years to give myself the greatest advantage?"
When considering my writing, I figured that writing every day would be a small time commitment that could lead to my skills advancing steadily. During the actual writing process, or the moments before I decide to write a post, though, I just think about this one day. Can I write a post today? Sure... I just did. Can I write one tomorrow? Of course-- it's just one day.
Photo is a somewhat freaky statue in a park in downtown SF.
Notice that SETT got even faster? We quadrupled capacity today...
I'm currently in the middle of a new habit to write everyday and publish on a blog for accountability. I called the project the "365 Challenge" because the goal is to write everyday for the rest of my life. I told myself the experiment was only for the month of July (I like 1 month habit experiments). But all I require of myself is to write one post each morning after I meditate. I don't give myself any expectations about tomorrow until tomorrow comes. So far, I'm 7 days strong. It definitely works.
hi ryan :) i like the idea... writing after you meditate. meditation can bring us such clarity. i guess i would ask, what is the goal of discovering you can accomplish your goal and commit to/complete the writings. Are you seeking confirmation that you can be dedicated to something continually? Are you seeking the goal of having the writings, and the process is not important other than staying dedicated to it so that you may accomplish the result? in my humble opinion, there is as much to be said to allowing your life to unfold without controls as there is to dedication and accomplishment. in example, if one day, you are on vacation, traveling... and within that day all of the other amazing plans and experiences you are having are so all encompassing and attention seeking, that you would have to force a break in those moments in order to meditate and write.... is there more intrinsic value to breaking that moment to write, or in continuing in the moment? Just thinking out loud... :)
Hey there. I definitely agree that we must leave room for spontaneity and serendipity in our lives. But that can't be an excuse to avoid building the most helpful rituals into our everyday. Most days, I don't have anything else happening in the morning. If I did, I would plan ahead to wake up earlier or just write later in the day.
For now, I'm building this habit because I want to change my self-identity. We usually don't believe something about ourselves until we see ourselves doing it. I want to see myself as writer and more generally as a creator.
Also, I meditate before writing because that was just the best spot in my current morning ritual. I didn't want to meditate after writing- I would be too tired.
trying to address life in intervals (aka being present) while simultaneously planning 2yrs ahead. interesting ;)
Everything you eat is primarily made up of three macronutrients, or building blocks: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
Today I'm going to focus on what I've learned about carbohydrates, because they make up the bulk of most people's diets and they offer the biggest opportunity for diet improvement.
So today while at work i started to think more about what I wanted to do with this blog space. I started to think that maybe a blog about me working out, losing weight, not drinking, and what not may not be that intersting. At least not every day. So I started to think about what other things i can do with this real estate. I recently took part in this musical challenge to compose, record, mix and release a 10 song album all in the month of Febraury. For the most part i suceeded in doing that, i have 10 completed songs i didn't have three weeks ago. But the toughest part of the project was coming up with lyrics to the songs. The main reason for that was I rarely ever write lyrics, so I'm not good at it. What I've been learning by doing the 750 Words writing exercises everyday is that you need to keep writing to get better at writing. I know, pretty damn obvious. So I'm toying with the idea of writing a poem everyday and publishing it on here. I got the idea from this page here:
She liked one of my first post on Word Press, so i fallowed her, and liked the idea she's going for.
Now I'm not a poetry kind of person at all. I've written some stuff over the years i suppose you could lable as poetry. Besides a Charlse Bukowski book and some Edgar Allen Poe, I've never bothered reading poetry, never been to poetry slam, and have never had any interst in it. So what makes me think I can even attempt a challenge like this? I've no effin' clue. But I figured it's something way out of my comfort zone, so that should be a good challenge. Plus I may actually write some stuff that will fit some of the music I'm writing.
I'm thinking of starting small, like just trying to write a poem a day just in the month of March, and see whether it's a success or failure. If I find it's something i enjoy, I'll see how far i can keep it going.