Near the end of last year, I decided to purchase a goal/habit-setting workbook made with creatives in mind. Some of it was a bit too much. I don't like to wade through a bunch of questions and introspection, I prefer to tackle those later, if ever. What I wanted was what I immediately dug into, the meat and bones of the workbook - specifically, the daily habits tracker.
It only had space for ten habits to practice every day. I really think it needed more, but that's me being an overachiever. Each month, you can set all new goals, or carry on with some from the month before. I usually have a mix of easy ones, medium challenge, and a few that I might consider harder ones.
Would it surprise you that the self-care ones are often the hardest for me to master?
I can't help wondering if I'm not the only one who struggles with self-care.
In any case, I realized a few months ago that I could take the parts of the workbook that really worked for me, and add them into the whole mindset of the book I've been threatening to finish for, what, a dozen years now? Quit Your Job, Change Your Life - well, it's basically the life I've lived for 18 years now. Back in 2005, I cut the tether and stepped into freefall. And no, I haven't been stunningly successful. I don't run a multi-million dollar business and hire pool boys to ferry me bonbons and fan me poolside. I don't even have a pool, unless you count the one I bought for $19.99 from Aldi this summer. And I don't count it because I'm pretty sure it already has a hole in it. Darn kids.
Anyway. While Quit Your Job, Change Your Life, once I actually get it finished, is not promising with a money-back guarantee to change your life and bring you wealth beyond imagining, what it is (or will be), is a guide toward creating the life you want to live. And believe me, there's a hell of a lot of life worth living in that space between egregiously wealthy and barely having two nickels to rub together. Being wealthy carries with it a lot of baggage people simply do not consider. Like, if we ever win the mega millions we will do everything in our power to DISAPPEAR. You'll literally never see us again. It's far easier that way. Don't worry, I'll resurface under a totally new pen name from some mysterious island.
Anyway, see how I go off on tangents? Back to the habits tracking and goals workbook.
I have realized how energizing it was to fill out a habit tracker each day. I mean, DAMN, I'm getting stuff done. And done in a way that feels right. And seeing my habits tracking along, and my life changing as a result, well, that's the kicker.
Here are some of the things I have mastered in the past year. And once I master it? I get to take it off the list to make room for other things!
6-8 Contigo cups full of water each day - I shoot for six of the 24-ounce bottles each day. Sometimes I exceed that amount. After being told in no uncertain terms by a chiropractor, my PCP, and a massage therapist to drink more water, and a couple of agonizing thrown out backs, I made water consumption a priority. I alternate between sugar-free flavor packets and plain water, usually preparing two Contigo cups at one time, morning, noon, and late afternoon/early evening.
Happy gums, happy teeth - I hated flossing and pretty much never did it. My dentist, however, told me it would help reduce gum irritation and likely keep me cavity free since I have rather strong teeth. When I asked if I could use a flosser instead of just wrangling the floss, the hygienist laughed and told me "any flossing is better than no flossing" so I went with flossers. The first few weeks were awful. But I kept at it daily, then twice daily, or more if I snack. My gums feel so much better now, and my teeth in general. Gotta make these suckers last another 30-40 years!
Morning Pages - If you are familiar with Julia Cameron's Artist's Way series, this will sound familiar. Basically, it is three pages, handwritten, each day. One big long brain fart at times, other times catharsis, emotion, and it certainly doesn't have to make sense or be something profound. I don't write exactly three pages a day, per se, but I still refer to them as such. I returned to writing morning pages a year ago, and plan to continue indefinitely. At this point, I've probably missed five days total, maybe ten, since restarting, so I consider that a win and an opportunity to remove it from my daily habits list.
There are other habits that just didn't take. Things I thought I would try and decided "Nah, this isn't as much of a priority as I thought it would be." Learning a foreign language? Fun for a few months, but easy enough to grow tired of. I might return to it. It's good to expand my mind, especially as I progress deeper into my 50s. Create more art? Yeah, that's something I want to do, but I would rather get my writing done on time instead.
That's why having a monthly habits list is important. Things change, get accomplished, or set aside for another season. A weekly habits list would be too short of a time to create a new habit, but a month feels just about right.
Not everything gets done. Not by a long shot. I am afraid to admit how long it has been since I've dusted this house. It's been... a while. But overall what I have is a sense of satisfaction. I've made progress. I've lost weight, put in place healthy behaviors (flossing regularly, drinking water, stretching/physical therapy exercises), and the plates keep spinning. It helps keep the "woulda, coulda, shoulda" dictator-like inner voice a little quieter. And quieter inner critics equals better emotional health. Which, let's face it, we all should strive for.
For the month of September (and likely beyond for as long as it takes), I've got a daily habit listed of reading to a kiddo every day. Despite my rabid love of books, I've been remiss at times in promoting reading with my kids, so I really want to make that a priority.
In any case, the reason for this long, meandering post is to let you all know that Quit Your Job, Change Your Life won't just be a single book, it will also include a workbook and a habits/goals planner and tracker. I hope to roll this out by the end of the year... hopefully!
How does goal-setting or self-improvement look in your world? Have you tried tracking daily habits or goal-setting?
Need Organizing Help?
Something else that might help while you are waiting for Quit Your Job, Change Your Life and the accompanying workbook and planner to come out is my book Get Organized, Stay Organized.
Getting organized is helpful anytime of year, but fall and winter are my favorite times to organize. The kids are in school, the yard isn't calling quite as loudly for me to work in it, and the changing of the seasons mean switching out the kids' clothes and digging out the winter gear.
What I'm Reading Currently
Okay, I'll admit it, it feels a bit schizophrenic since I have several books in various stages of being read. I tend to do this when reading non-fiction, though. It's as if my brain can only take so much concentrating on one subject! Here is what I'm parsing through...
Good Inside is more than a parenting book. It's a relationship book. It's slow-going, but she has some great advice for all areas of interactions with our kids. I especially liked her chapter "It's Not Too Late," it really resonated with me.
Mudras: Yoga in Your Hands I have barely begun. I'm hoping to begin some meditation in the months to come, and the hand mudras can help center and direct intention, encourage creative flow, and more.
Shadow Work Journal doesn't have a ton to read past the introduction. But I'll include it nonetheless. It is quite interactive, and I purchased all three books in the series. The blue book is the recommended starting point, then the purple book addresses healing your inner child, and the green book focuses on eliminating self-sabotage and unleashing creativity.
I just finished reading a fun book. Kane by Dick Wybrow is a humorous, supernatural thriller. Honestly, when I read the book description about a wolf being bitten by a human and turning into a enormous human who turns into a tiny dog in moonlight, well, I just had to read it. It was definitely entertaining and I'll be buying the sequel, Kane Unleashed, when it comes out later this month.
Picture of the Week
This little cutie patootie just turned two.
I refer to him as my bookend baby. My firstborn just turned 35 five days before him, and this little guy is my last child. I rather adore him.
We sang happy birthday, helped him blow out the candles, served him a slice, and I turned away for a second. He was absolutely covered in icing!
It's a great reminder that life (with kids or without) is messy, colorful, and fun. I hope you have a great week, full of mess, color, fun, and maybe even some cake of your very own.
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