Habit Forming

Sorry guys.

I’ve been struggling for weeks to write the second part of my career path and it’s still not suitable for broadcast. I’m onto edit number 4, trying vainly to cut out all the self-serving, woe-is-me-life-was-super-hard-back-then stuff whilst still retaining some sort of context that would explain the positively crazy off-shoots into other work dimensions.

I’ll get there, I promise.

As an interlude, here’s my latest venture: a mandala a day. And here’s why I’m:

  1. Doing it
  2. Telling you
Day 1 … and not a lot to show for it.

Whilst awaiting my latest credit on Audible (this is not a sponsored post [HA! As if!] – I’m just an addict), I was browsing the list of freebies today on my lunchtime walk and came across an intriguing little podcast called “In the habit: introduction to changing our behaviour“.

Having a whole day to wait til I can get me some more ear candy, I downloaded it and started listening and very soon realised it’s the answer I’ve been looking for lately with regards to staying sane in a stressful period of life.

Yesterday we went to the Annual Pirongia Craft Markets – a truly cool event that we stumbled upon our first year here and have made a traditional pilgrimage to ever since. There were some truly amazing and beautiful handiworks from just regular shmoes like me, which got me thinking about my creativity or lack thereof so when we came home I tried in vain to do something mildly original and creative using my graphic design programs.

Rather than satisfy my longing, it just frustrated me no end. I couldn’t do what I wanted – it would have to be hand-drawn. But ah, dear readers – am I skilled at drawing? About as much as I am at keeping my mouth shut and opinions to myself.

Of course, it takes practice and dedication. It takes setting aside regular time to perfect and hone existing skills. It takes … a habit.

According to scientific studies, it takes on average 66 days to create a new habit, not the usual 21 that’s regularly trotted out. And whilst it is proven to be harder to create good habits than bad ones, there are a few tips and tricks that can help.

You can try linking your prospective new habit to something you already do regularly, such as mealtimes. For instance, I started my lunchtime walks as a way of counteracting the desire to punch someone in the face when I had 5 different jobs on and no way of getting them all done in the given timeframes. I’d go for a good 45 minute walk, calm the F**K down then eat my lunch at my desk whilst getting back into all of the things.

Now I just do it because it makes me feel good. And, I must confess, so I can listen to my latest audiobook – which nicely segues into the next tip: Temptation Bundling.

It’s a nerdy way of saying “Combine something you love with something you should be doing but don’t really want to because you don’t love it”. Like watching that trashy movie you know is a waste of time whilst you fold the mountain of washing. It’s a win=win! You get your trash fulfilment and the family has clothes in the cupboard instead of on the floor/couch/spare bed/spare room.

Another useful tip for successfully creating a good habit is by making it public knowledge, which explains this blog post.

A final tip was to put some money on it – there’s even commitment platforms like stickK that can help you reach your goals … or pay the consequences. Literally.

I’m not going that far as we are currently like the proverbial church mice.

And because it’s now 9.30pm on the first Monday after Daylight Saving started, I think I’m already going to fail my “one a day” challenge as I’m buggered … but at least I’ve made a start. I’ll keep you updated … hopefully this won’t go the same way as my Part 2 😛

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