Habits, Not Goals

Really? Mwah? Not make goals? Not create my elaborate New Year's resolutions? No way am I putting my lists down. Talk about swimming upstream. Like having a bibopsy of my neck and taking my twin away (My Big Fat Greek Wedding). Gulp! But... I am.

Ok, so where did this come from? First, my beloved The Power of Less by Leo Babauta. This is the first book that I read in which slow down, focus, do less and succeed more really got thru to me. "Simplicity boils down to two steps: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest." (Location 72). Here's a bit more detailed: "Set limitations. Choose the essential. Simplify. Focus. Create habits. Start small." (Location 105).

Babauta runs a very successful blog at http://zenhabits.net/ . Having frequent reiterations of his techniques helps to keep me motivated.

One of his most successful techniques is to focus on one goal at the moment. Work on it till its set and then move to the next one. His book helps to define which habit would be most beneficial to work on. Such as, for me working on creating healthy sleeping habits will have the most impact on my daily life, not cleaning.

The amount of time spent on the habit will depend on the person, how much time is needed to set a new pattern of habit, and how long one has been doing this system. Babauta's suggestion of one month per goal is what I'm trying out.

This is the next book I am basing this year off of. Rubin sets one focus per month and in each month she has habits she wishes to create, tasks, projects, and things to buy and try out.

"Just in time for January 1, when I planned to start my project rolling, I completed my chart with dozens of resolutions to try in the coming year. For the first month, I’d attempt only January’s resolutions; in February, I’d add the next set of resolutions to the January set. By December, I’d be scoring myself on the whole year’s worth of resolutions." (p. 10).

Rubin describes the things that helped her most in achieving more happiness in her life. "Twelve Commandments" and "Secrets of Adulthood" are great ideas to help define what is your happiness, what rules you want applied to your own happiness project, and things you can't do anything about because life is life sometimes.

What I have found most helpful so far about her book (I am continually adding principles from the above two books to my life) is defining what makes me happy. I love to wear nail polish. Such a simple task, when made intentional, adds a bit of color to my daily life. In her "Twelve Commandments" her first rule is "Be Gretchin". When changing my habits and when considering what makes me happy, I need to remember what will impact my life the most. Not what someone else says. Be Loralyn and Loralyn is not Gretchin, or Leo, or my neighbor, or even the average mom of seven.

How I'm combining the two books and anything else I find helpful: I am setting ten new habits this year. January was a redux, relax, and be happy month. And December is busy enough. I don't have the ten habits listed out like Rubin does as I want to be able to go with the flow, as in be present in my own body and life and to choose the habit that would have the most impact at that time. For February I am focusing on healthy sleep and in March I am focusing on exercise. That's all I have planned at the moment.

I have my list of what makes me happy. I have my list of habits I want to create. From these I can evaluate as I get closer to a new month. I don't plan on doing as much as Rubin did with each of her months. I want to have a more relaxed approach. I want to succeed each month. With my health being unstable, the success level will vary from month to month.

I am sure I left out tons of important parts and as I think of them I will post them. I plan to talk about each habit as I'm going thru them and will address my sleep tomorrow. Have a beautiful Saturday!

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