Two weeks ago I wrote about some fancy new goals that I had set for myself. I thought I’d try this “public accountability” everybody is talking about these days. Of course I thought I’d be back to report a week later but I wasn’t. Mostly because I had this really annoying persistent cough that made me want to do nothing but stay in bed all day. My goals were:
- only eat at mealtimes. That is: breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner.
- exercise at least three times a week for at least 30 minutes. Walking while doing errands doesn’t count.
- play guitar or piano for at least ten minutes a day.
- post on my blog 3 times a week.
- write at least 100 words of fiction every day.
- meditate every day for at least 10 minutes, and write morning pages.
I did quite well for about five days by the way. I went walking almost every day, I played guitar and piano, I wrote my words, and I was quite consistent with the meditation and morning pages. Meditation and morning pages has been something I have been doing for years, and so it wasn’t that hard to get back into that. Playing music and writing fiction was a bit harder because I found I never got around to it until late in the evening, and so I really only played for ten minutes, and I stopped writing after 120 words or so. But even when I felt like I was much too tired for writing or playing I enjoyed it nonetheless. And a 100 words isn’t much. It takes me less than 10 minutes. Also I never got the feeling that the story was making much progress at that rate. But then I wrote about 700 words on it in five days.
And then I felt terrible because of the coughing, and then, and then, and so I let everything slide. I’m still doing quite well with points 2 and 6. You can see for yourselves that the blog-posting three times a week did not happen. I may have to resign myself to the fact that these days it’s more about twice a week if that.
You might have noticed that I didn’t write about the first goal on my list. Ahem. This is the goal that I didn’t reach once in the past two weeks. Not once. I definitely won’t be making any rules around food and eating for the moment. I don’t stick to them anyway. Which is extremely frustrating. But it doesn’t help if I pretend that it’s different.
So, I’m suspending the setting of goals again. What I did find out about myself was that I can only concentrate on one thing at a time. Before setting my new goals I was on the way to get a better grip on housework again, but the minute I concentrated on my new list, I got lax about housework again.
And then I got sick, and then I started knitting a sweater that I want to have right this minute, and that meant I have been doing nothing but knitting for the past week. I started it last Sunday, and if I can go on like I did last week it will be finished by next weekend. And while I really would like to accomplish other things too, there is something very, very nice about sitting around and knitting a warm ruby-red sweater while reading Miss Marple novels. So I’ll just do that for the rest of the weekend.
So for me, obviously, public accountability doesn’t work.
In response to my post about goals PiaPessoa said she wanted to work on exercising two times a week. I’d like to hear how that went. And Anne said that I should strive to reach the point where a new habit is like brushing your teeth. She is totally right with this, of course, and when I strive to form new habits it always helps me to remember how long it took me to brush my teeth twice a day without fail. You know, as a child I was taught to brush my teeth in the mornings only. And I did so for years. Then it occurred to me that brushing them in the mornings and evenings might be a good course of action. I think I tried to bring myself to brush my teeth in the evenings too when I was about eight years old. I never succeeded until I was about twenty. And then I lost the habit again, and had to re-install it when I was about ten years older. These days I never would go to bed without brushing my teeth first. So I finally reached that stage of forming a new habit where I do it every day without fail. But it took me about 22 years to reach that stage. 22 years!
There must be a way to speed that up. Really.