Creating Habits

Book: Joy of Missing Out by Tonya Dalton

What’s the best thing to do on Boxing Day after a week-long Christmas preparation complete with a day-by-day to-do list in which you accomplished everything on said list, but also had so many things going on the actual Christmas day that you racked up over 12,000 steps?

Snuggle up with a book on the joy of missing out.

Deep diving into someone else’s wisdom on how they manage to fit in all the things that give life its glimmer was a welcome escape. While I continue to make joy my destination in every moment, I struggle with my inability to get all the things done…the things that are important to my soul growth as you can tell with my erratic blogging schedule.

Today’s discussion had my head reeling.

Well, it’s reeling because I managed to hit myself on the head with the door when it rebounded off an air mattress my son is sleeping on in our small office (Christmas guests) as I was attempting to do a “is he still breathing check.” I have performed this ritual since my children were babies, but with young adults, I am willing to push the envelope to around 5 pm. My husband though was less confident due to my son’s discovery of Fireball on Christmas Eve, and since I was heading down to retrieve my computer for writing which was above said son’s head, he requested that I assess his wellbeing.

Well, this year was a first as I managed to confirm my son’s breathing as he peeked over the edge of his blanket and said, “Are you okay?” as I nursed my head. I secondarily confirmed that he wasn’t fake breathing by double bouncing him as I struggled to step over the air mattress he was sleeping on to grab my computer. Good times.

Back to the book…

Reading about habit creation after determining the order of activity importance resonated with me. In an attempt to grasp the material, I wrote down all the things…not in order of importance, but just all the things I do that seem important and all the things I want to do. Then, I tried to figure out how I could create habits. I became very overwhelmed and quite frankly a little depressed.

Here’s my short version of my have-to list:

  • Work

  • Volunteering

  • Driving non-driving children to their commitments

  • Walking dogs

  • Physiotherapy for one dog

  • Dinner

  • Grocery shopping

  • Household errands and appointments for all the dogs, people, and things

  • Maintaining relationships – family and friends

Here’s my short soul-desire list:

  • Write every day

  • Self-education

  • Working on my house to make it look prettier than the current holes in the wall make it look

  • Exercise

  • Adventure

Let's be frank. I am very ashamed to note that I do not fit at least one item on my soul list every day. Multiple days can go by before I do what I am doing today...reading a book and writing. When I get down to the creation of a habit plan incorporating all the things that I do just to achieve responsible adult status, I found myself completely down about two things…the lack of opportunity to do the things that I want to do and a rigid routine lacking spontaneity. I’m not sure if you operate the same way, but I operate joyfully with a schedule of about 60% routine and 40% spontaneity. I love routine centered around work and volunteering, but I want time to go saunter down the aisles of our local bookstore (a dream yet to be realized) or spend a ridiculous amount of time shopping for kitchen scissors with my husband complete with a lunch date (hopefully soon?).

I wish I had a magic happy ending for you to go forth complete with all the secrets to getting a handle on your important/soul lists, but I’m not here to be a guru. I’m just here trying to find the joy in every possible moment that I remember to. What feels good to me right now is the idea of taking just one thing rather than doing my new year’s desire which is to renovate my life which only ever serves to leave me feeling like a failure and irritate the heck out of my family.

So, I’m going to try and write every day for two weeks even if it’s just notes on the latest book I’ve read…not blog, just write for my enjoyment and/or blog, but stretching the creative muscle is the goal. Why two weeks and why writing? It’s the area I feel the biggest frustration with, and I am realizing how much I like a short-term goal in my old age. There are just too many fun things to learn to commit yourself for long periods.

Do you have any areas that are of frustration to you that you would like to implement on a short-term basis? Join me in my Facebook group and I’ll post a little something to do with my goal every day for two weeks @AcceptingJane. Facebook not your jam, then I'll update through the blog as well, just not daily.

When joy is a habit, love is a reflex.

- Bob Goff

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