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juliebarkley

Juliebarkley applies herself

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[story placeholder; getting the challenge up is more important]

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My last challenge was about trying to figure out the best way to create a good habit so that it will actually stick. Now is the time to apply that knowledge to the real world! So much excite!

 

Ahem, actually, maybe a little too much excite. While planning for this challenge, I ended up writing out detailed plans for six different habits. Now, looking at my list, it is obvious that this can only end in dismal failure if I try to implement them all at once, even if they are very small. I will never remember them all, apart from anything else. But I'm having real trouble eliminating any, because I guess I just really want all of the things right now. Heh.

 

So here's my plan. I will pick one to work on the first week. Just one. If I feel like it's going okay and I'm not forgetting to do it, I'll add one in the next week. If I'm having trouble remembering anything or otherwise having a hard time, I stick with just what I have until I am on firmer footing. My goal is not just to get the things done, it's to build a habit that just sort of happens, like when I walk into the kitchen and get out the cat food without even remembering that I needed to feed the cats.

 

Here's the six that I have planned in the order I currently plan to do them (subject to change):

 

1. I want to do my evening prayer every day. I am doing this to give myself a stronger spiritual foundation. I am going to achieve this by washing for prayers every day. To make this as easy as possible, I will lay out my prayer mat after I roll up my bed, in the same spot as my bed goes. If I am tired, I will remind myself that washing alone is enough to be successful. My cue is brushing my teeth. My reward is to mark off the day, then congratulate and praise myself both right after, and in the morning when I wake up. I CAN DO THIS.

 

2. I want to walk for 30 minutes every day, plus do some toe touches and squats while doing so. I am doing this to strengthen my legs, improve my flexibility and endurance, hopefully fix my hip issues, and make sure that exercise is fun. I also have a trip coming up where I will be doing a lot of walking, so I need to stay in good form. I am going to achieve this by walking daily up and down the basement stairs three times, or to the hill and back if the weather and road condition permit. My cue is putting my dishes away after my first meal at home. I am going to put a note where the dishes go to remind myself. My reward is that I can listen to a podcast while I walk. I CAN DO THIS.

 

3. I want to use my todo list program consistently every day. I am doing this to keep myself from forgetting the things I have to do, keep myself organized, and create a productivity foundation to fight procrastination. I am going to achieve this by opening the app, look at the task for today, and pick a task for tomorrow every day. To make this as easy as possible, I will create a notification for the start of the day that will remind me to check my app in big letters. I could be derailed by rushing to do HQ when I get home late (this is a family activity) and then forgetting to go back to the todo app, so I will make another notification for after HQ to make sure I do not forget. My cue is picking up my phone for the first time. My reward is to watch a video from Vincent Oostelbos, Lunuloj Ni Ludistoj, Animal Wonders Montana, Vsauce, WonderWhy, SciShow Talk Show, or Blimey Cow. I CAN DO THIS.


4. I want to read at least one book a month. I am doing this to spend time doing something I love and which enriches me. I am going to achieve this by sit down with your book and read one paragraph every day. To make this as easy as possible, I am going to have three books picked out and sitting next to the chair with bookmarks handy, and try to recruit my son to read at the same time. My cue is a phone alert. My reward is sharing what I was reading about with my son, and listening to what he's been reading. I CAN DO THIS.

 

5. I want to work on my self-employment projects every day. I am doing this to build independent sources of income and work towards financial freedom. I am going to achieve this by looking at business task for the day, then working on that for 1 minute, or write two sentences on a blog post every day, then picking a new task for tomorrow. To make this as easy as possible, I am doing to make this a one-item task list in a large font on a sticky that covers my whole computer screen. My cue is finishing my daily walk. I am most likely to be derailed by forgetting to have the computer after I sit down, so I will try to move it to the place I will sit down before the walk. My reward is to do some stock research (I know this sounds weird, but I find it very relaxing and fun and I get totally absorbed in it). I CAN DO THIS.

 

6. I want to get rid of the piles of excess stuff that I have. I am doing this to create a more pleasant environment and make it easier to find and care for the things I want to keep. I am going to achieve this by picking up today's pre-selected decluttering pile and sitting in my designated decluttering chair with it every day. To make this as easy as possible, I am going to pick and label a selection for each day in advance, taking into account how busy each day will be. I will put the pile on the bathroom counter to make it hard to miss. If I am tired or busy, I will tell myself that I have already planned the amount to match my available time and that all I have to do is pick it up. My cue is seeing the pile on the bathroom counter. My reward is a piece of chocolate that I have placed on top of the pile. I CAN DO THIS.


I've got a bunch more things I want to work on, but this is PLENTY for right now!

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8 hours ago, juliebarkley said:

Ahem, actually, maybe a little too much excite. While planning for this challenge, I ended up writing out detailed plans for six different habits. Now, looking at my list, it is obvious that this can only end in dismal failure if I try to implement them all at once, even if they are very small. I will never remember them all, apart from anything else. But I'm having real trouble eliminating any, because I guess I just really want all of the things right now. Heh.

 

100% sympathize with this. It's hard to go slow and steady, but it does pay off. YOU CAN DO THIS. :)

 

Good challenges, and you're right, that is a lot to do all at once. Sounds like you've got a good plan for adding them in gradually though. You've got this. 

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8 hours ago, juliebarkley said:

While planning for this challenge, I ended up writing out detailed plans for six different habits. Now, looking at my list, it is obvious that this can only end in dismal failure if I try to implement them all at once, even if they are very small. I will never remember them all, apart from anything else. But I'm having real trouble eliminating any, because I guess I just really want all of the things right now. Heh.

 

Insight, understanding, and then change of plans into something more realistic... you and i have come a long way since we were newbie-Nerds here, a year or so ago :)

 

I really like your staggered approach to changing habits, and how you are so specific in what your cue will be and what you will do to make your habit easier to do when you start out.

 

After reading the long write-up on habit-forming you posted in your previous challenge thread, I re-framed my "get to the gym and work out in the evenings" goal in my mind, to make it easier. My goal is no longer to get to the gym, because that takes time and effort and is exhausting to think about. My goal is "change into gym clothes and get in the car".  This is easy and doable. In fact, I am convinced this re-calibration is what has helped me get to the gym on evening when I was dragging my feet, so thank you very much for sharing that. :)

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On 2/11/2019 at 12:24 PM, scalyfreak said:

After reading the long write-up on habit-forming you posted in your previous challenge thread, I re-framed my "get to the gym and work out in the evenings" goal in my mind, to make it easier. My goal is no longer to get to the gym, because that takes time and effort and is exhausting to think about. My goal is "change into gym clothes and get in the car".  This is easy and doable. In fact, I am convinced this re-calibration is what has helped me get to the gym on evening when I was dragging my feet, so thank you very much for sharing that. :)

Yes! It is exhausting to think about when it is big and you are not feeling it. So much easier to blow it off. Now give yourself a happy reward for doing the good thing. :)

 

I picked the prayer goal first as it is a habit I have worked on for a while so I have a half-foundation already in place. The tooth-brushing trigger already existed, but the rest is new. I am really hoping that breaking down and understanding the trigger-routine-reward elements of the habits and how to reduce resistance and preplan for difficult moments will be helpful in making habits really stick. The reward part especially I had been completely ignoring. No wonder I was always quick to ditch them when the challenge was over - I had framed them like a thankless chore.

 

Monday was easy, super easy. I was excited to get going and felt really good for whatever reason. I would see my stuff set up every time I went into my bedroom and look forward to the habit that evening. Cool!

 

Tuesday was a bit harder. I had an I-don't-wanna attitude by bedtime and I did have to remind myself that I could just do the little bit and it would be enough. Once I got my toothbrush out though, I was fine and everything went smoothly. I did have to remember to pause to make sure I sat with the satisfied, happy feeling for a while for my reward.

 

Everything is set up for today, so fingers crossed!

 

I am thinking of joining in the TODO challenge in the PVP area. I went walking on the river on Monday as there is an awesome thing there that I wanted to see and I think it could make a cool vlog thing to share. But Tuesday was a big snowstorm, bad enough that I had to cancel work today as I was not sure I would be able to get out. Oh well, bonus day off today! Maybe I'll go play in the fresh powder snow. :)

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On 2/11/2019 at 10:35 AM, Manarelle said:

100% sympathize with this. It's hard to go slow and steady, but it does pay off. YOU CAN DO THIS. :)

 

It is hard to go slow. SO. HARD.

 

On the upside, this week is easy so far, so I should be able to add in a more challenging habit start for next week!

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7 minutes ago, juliebarkley said:

I picked the prayer goal first as it is a habit I have worked on for a while so I have a half-foundation already in place. The tooth-brushing trigger already existed, but the rest is new. I am really hoping that breaking down and understanding the trigger-routine-reward elements of the habits and how to reduce resistance and preplan for difficult moments will be helpful in making habits really stick. The reward part especially I had been completely ignoring. No wonder I was always quick to ditch them when the challenge was over - I had framed them like a thankless chore.

 

I have made this same mistake for so, so long. I completely forgot about the reward aspect of building a new habit. In my new enlightened approach I used to reframe the gym habit, the workout itself is actually my reward. So my new goal is to get changed and get my gym things, and get into the car. If I do this, then I get to go to the gym and lift barbells, which is one of the greatest things ever. Getting there just seemed like such an insurmountable obstacle sometimes after a long day... the trick, I'm learning, is to make it as easy as possible to do the habit I want to form, while making it difficult for myself to do other things.

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9 hours ago, juliebarkley said:

I am thinking of joining in the TODO challenge in the PVP area.

Welcome!  It is totally casual so no pressure if you can't do a thing, but it is a fun way to try out new things that you normally wouldn't think of doing

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On 2/13/2019 at 11:15 PM, WhiteGhost said:

Welcome!  It is totally casual so no pressure if you can't do a thing, but it is a fun way to try out new things that you normally wouldn't think of doing

 

Well also, making basic habits are great and foundation-building and all, but BOORING because they feel so small. I'm definitely doing the mini and the todo challenge to liven things up a little.

 

Prayer habit at 100%, woo! I do need to make sure to give myself my self-congratulations as reward and really feel proud of myself. I have not focused on that the last couple of days, and I do not want my habit to slip into the "thankless chore" direction.

 

Since the habit is going so well and feels very easy, I will be adding habit #2, walking, to the roster tomorrow. I've been looking forward to this one. :)

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5 hours ago, juliebarkley said:

Prayer habit at 100%, woo! I do need to make sure to give myself my self-congratulations as reward and really feel proud of myself. I have not focused on that the last couple of days, and I do not want my habit to slip into the "thankless chore" direction.

 

Since the habit is going so well and feels very easy, I will be adding habit #2, walking, to the roster tomorrow. I've been looking forward to this one. :)

 

Congrats, that's a great step forward (pun only slightly intended). 

 

Basic habits might feel small, but in a year, you'll look back and be amazed at home much they build up and completely change things. You've got this. 

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Hey I saw your post in WhiteGhost's challenge with the book tip about drawing with children and you mentioning homeschooling.. my daughter is only 2, but we're thinking about doing the same and I thought it'd be nice to get to know someone who's been doing that for a while! Turns out you've got an interesting thoughtful challenge too, so if you don't mind I'll stick around and do the getting to know thing :) 

 

 

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On 2/21/2019 at 9:00 AM, KB Girl said:

Hey I saw your post in WhiteGhost's challenge with the book tip about drawing with children and you mentioning homeschooling.. my daughter is only 2, but we're thinking about doing the same and I thought it'd be nice to get to know someone who's been doing that for a while! Turns out you've got an interesting thoughtful challenge too, so if you don't mind I'll stick around and do the getting to know thing :) 

 

Now why would I mind that? :) And wouldn't you know, I was looking at your challenge where you mentioned your curly hair just about the time that I discovered Curly Girl and started trying to take better care of my own wavy/curly hair. So perhaps it's fate. I am light on volume, but I do a challenge every time, so I'm sure I'll see you around. My son's never been to school, so if you have any questions, I'm happy to help!

 

This week was say more tiring than it had any reason to be. I worked a little extra, but not a great deal. Yet most nights when I got home, all I wanted to do was stare at the wall. Even YouTube was too much energy. I did manage to get out to an event on Saturday which I had been looking forward to - a collection of medieval classes run by the local SCA. I came home with some tasty recipes for rose hips, plus a shiny new fibula and the knowledge of how to make more. My son created a coat of arms and wore himself out doing a sword dance. And we both learned that there might be an option to try youth rapier in the future! So, a good day.

 

I will not be adding in a new habit for next week. The new walking habit is making me achy like only exercise after a winter of sitting on my butt can, and I need to let it develop for another week before I get a new thing going. Also, it turns out I did kind of get another new habit going this week that I wasn't planning on. I play a live gameshow app call Qriket every weekday at noon when I'm not working (it's a family thing), and they had been on hiatus since November, but started back up this week. The show is longish, but all you have to do is pick a colour ten times and then you can ignore it, plus they give you thirty seconds to pick one. So rather than sit there staring at the phone and wasting 20 minutes doing basically nothing, I was using that time to fold laundry and otherwise tidy up. This is a good habit to nurture, as I can procrastinate like nobody's business on tidying up. Now that they've come back online, I want to maintain the tidying habit. I think I'll be good to start the final habit of the challenge by the end of next week though.

 

I have not missed a day on any of my habits, woo! I even had one evening when I was actively telling myself that I was only going to do the bare basics as I was really quite tired, then forgot all about that and promptly did the whole routine minutes later. :):):)

 

That is not to say that there have been no gremlins trying to sabotage my beautiful new habits. In fact, I snapped pictures of the dastardly critters:IMG_0476.JPG.68270ab44fcbe2579c753e4d7f74afd0.JPG

 

This pretty lady wants me to pay attention to her rather than do prayers. She does not move either, requiring weird contortions around her THE WHOLE TIME. She promptly leaves afterwards, too. She is love-starved, so I get it, but... cats. Why. She has been a habit gremlin three times this week.

 

IMG_0479.JPG.5849eba2754a9736ae73d4ba19449b1c.JPG

 

This pretty lady is a more dangerous obstacle. We call her "Exercise Support Cat" due to her penchant for sabotaging exercise. Note where the tail can swing just as you want to step there, and how she is nearly invisible when coming round the corner due to her dark colour, poor lighting, and being tucked into the inside curve. She is also skilled at being directly under your face while doing pushups. She gave up this particular sabotage attempt after only five minutes. She has been only an occasional gremlin this week, but she is a recurring and persistent one.

 

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17 hours ago, juliebarkley said:

This pretty lady wants me to pay attention to her rather than do prayers. She does not move either, requiring weird contortions around her THE WHOLE TIME. She promptly leaves afterwards, too. She is love-starved, so I get it, but... cats. Why.

 

Any activity that is not focused on giving either food, or love, or entertainment, or love, or treats, or love, to the cat, is a complete waste of everyone's time. Your cats are simply trying to make you aware of this fact.

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3 hours ago, scalyfreak said:

Any activity that is not focused on giving either food, or love, or entertainment, or love, or treats, or love, to the cat, is a complete waste of everyone's time. Your cats are simply trying to make you aware of this fact.

At least that cat is only inconveniencing me. My second cat seems to be trying to kill me (or herself).

 

My pushups yesterday were not too bad from a pushing up point of view, but they gave me a migraine (note: I call it a migraine if it gives me nausea and doesn't go away after two hours sleep). I missed prayers as I did not brush my teeth, and frankly just making it from the couch to the bed took willpower. I can live with this.

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When calculating the 10 years did you keep progression in mind? :P Maybe not a linear one, but surely your pace would improve over time at least. 

 

On 2/25/2019 at 1:04 AM, juliebarkley said:

 

Now why would I mind that? :) And wouldn't you know, I was looking at your challenge where you mentioned your curly hair just about the time that I discovered Curly Girl and started trying to take better care of my own wavy/curly hair. So perhaps it's fate. I am light on volume, but I do a challenge every time, so I'm sure I'll see you around. My son's never been to school, so if you have any questions, I'm happy to help!

  

How is the hair care going? I've not managed to make much of a habit out of it yet.. 

Oh and I have thousands of questions ;) but mostly curious about the why and the how! 

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On 2/27/2019 at 12:26 PM, KB Girl said:

When calculating the 10 years did you keep progression in mind? :P Maybe not a linear one, but surely your pace would improve over time at least. 

 

How is the hair care going? I've not managed to make much of a habit out of it yet.. 

Oh and I have thousands of questions ;) but mostly curious about the why and the how! 

 

My walk to Mordor is currently walking up and down my stairs for half and hour every day. I made just over a kilometre today, but there's a limit to how fast I can go. Even the 10-year estimate was higher than my current pace, as eventually I will be able to walk outside again! :D It's all good.

 

I've been scrunching in my conditioner, started using mousse, and and plopping my hair. I don't really know what to expect. Hair care, makeup - these were all things I had next to zero interest in my whole life. I didn't use conditioner for ten years at least because I thought they were all too heavy and made my hair limp and greasy. Now, without the silicones, my hair seems to be soaking up the conditioner and is never greasy-looking. I think I need some protein though, as the beautiful wave-curls that I was getting early on are not holding right now. I seem to have a weird thing going on where I get strong spirals when wet, but when it dries it is wavy at the top and bottom with a straight bit in the middle. I can't figure that one out. Also, I really need a trim - haven't gotten one of those in about ten years either!

 

PM me with any questions, for sure! But short answers for why and how.

 

Why: encourages love of learning and curiosity rather than treating learning as a chore that ends when you graduate from school is the biggest reason. I have met so many kids who were full of wonder and curiosity when young and who just don't care about anything anymore. All the joy of learning sucked right out of them - and many will never find that joy again. I want to raise a lifelong learner. Despite the school's claim that they are teaching kids to "learn how to learn", I would say that a lot of kids struggle when the hand-holding stops in university because they don't really have a lot of opportunity to teach themselves stuff in or out of school.

 

How: your two year old is learning right now, all the time. In fact, she has probably learned more all by herself in these past few years than she will learn in the whole rest of her life (what the world is and how it works, what language is and how it works, how her body works, how other people think - it sounds so basic but there is so much there). Some things you teach her, some things she teaches herself. That just sort of ... keeps going as she gets older. There are lots of different philosophies and curricula and whatnot, you have to find what resonates with you, but fundamentally you continue to be partners in learning. You are less like a teacher and more like a facilitator or guide. Not that teaching never happens, but it's different than school teaching.

 

Ok, even my short answers were pretty long! Oops.

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Still on track for everything, woo! I'll be starting a new habit next week.

 

I'm so glad I started tracking my distance in the Walk to Mordor challenge. The reward that I picked for that habit is not rewarding enough on its own - listening to podcasts while doing something mentally tedious is my default, so it doesn't feel like an actual reward. I rush to record the distance for Mordor, though, so that seems to be a good reward. I need to talk up my prayer rewards with myself too, as I slack too easily. So I guess I sort of suck at rewards, but it's fixable I hope?

 

Simply laying out my prayer rug when I roll out my bed has been a total game changer. That simple environmental change, the visual reminder and ease of it - I never forget now. Even if I'm tired, I don't even realize I'm starting till I've started. It's like frickin' magic, I tell you.

 

Yesterday was an awesome day. I was a merchandising machine at work. Made four new displays all spiffy and nice - I was proud of myself. And! We have been trying to get a fibre club going, but only had one person for the last three sessions. But yesterday, we had six who stayed the whole time, and they all seemed to get along and chat and have a great time. I had to all but throw them out of the library at the end as they were way overtime and we were closing. And one of the six was an eleven year old girl that I taught to knit. Then she taught me to finger knit, and made me a necklace super quick. She was great. I hope she comes back to learn more.

 

I had hoped to be all productive-like today, but it didn't really happen. I did get a bunch of stuff that had been sitting in bags and boxes for ... too long ... unpacked and put away though, so that's something anyway.

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Thank you! I'll PM :)

 

12 hours ago, juliebarkley said:

I'm tired, I don't even realize I'm starting till I've started. It's like frickin' magic, I tell you.

That's amazing! 

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18 hours ago, juliebarkley said:

I'm so glad I started tracking my distance in the Walk to Mordor challenge. The reward that I picked for that habit is not rewarding enough on its own - listening to podcasts while doing something mentally tedious is my default, so it doesn't feel like an actual reward. I rush to record the distance for Mordor, though, so that seems to be a good reward. I need to talk up my prayer rewards with myself too, as I slack too easily. So I guess I sort of suck at rewards, but it's fixable I hope?

 

Simply laying out my prayer rug when I roll out my bed has been a total game changer. That simple environmental change, the visual reminder and ease of it - I never forget now. Even if I'm tired, I don't even realize I'm starting till I've started. It's like frickin' magic, I tell you.

 

Look back on previous years - did you ever say "my habits are fixable, I hope"? And here you are, rocking new habits like no one's business. Keep trying out new things and you'll find what works.  

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On 3/2/2019 at 3:35 PM, juliebarkley said:

Simply laying out my prayer rug when I roll out my bed has been a total game changer. That simple environmental change, the visual reminder and ease of it - I never forget now. Even if I'm tired, I don't even realize I'm starting till I've started. It's like frickin' magic, I tell you.

Nice!  This is one you have been working on for a while, so it is great to find something that helps you make a leap forward in progress :) 

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On 3/2/2019 at 12:35 AM, juliebarkley said:

Simply laying out my prayer rug when I roll out my bed has been a total game changer. That simple environmental change, the visual reminder and ease of it - I never forget now. Even if I'm tired, I don't even realize I'm starting till I've started. It's like frickin' magic, I tell you.

 

Progress!!

 

Your cat appreciates it as well, I'm sure. :) 

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On 3/2/2019 at 8:40 PM, Manarelle said:

 

Look back on previous years - did you ever say "my habits are fixable, I hope"? And here you are, rocking new habits like no one's business. Keep trying out new things and you'll find what works.  

 

On 3/3/2019 at 11:01 AM, WhiteGhost said:

Nice!  This is one you have been working on for a while, so it is great to find something that helps you make a leap forward in progress :) 

 

On 3/3/2019 at 5:37 PM, scalyfreak said:

 

Progress!!

 

Your cat appreciates it as well, I'm sure. :) 

 Thanks for the support everybody! I have been working on that particular habit for such a long time, and it is a really good feeling that it may finally be becoming a really truly habit!

 

Habity stuff progressed as normal, nothing too exciting. Except for the fact that every living creature larger than a mouse was obstructing my walking route today - people and cats. But the cats ganged up on me, and at one point all three of them were seated somewhere along the route. Sigh. Cats.

 

I have not yet started my third habit, as I forgot to look up what my cue was supposed to be, oops! I did pick out a task yesterday, which I will do now, and make sure I pick one out for tomorrow.

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Long time, no update! Quick summaries:

 

Tuesday:

     All done. Details are hazy.

Wednesday:

     All done. Details are hazy.

Thursday:

     Prayer: Done. Some reward taken.

     Walking: Done. Did not start at trigger time.

     Todo: Done. Did assigned task. Did not start at trigger time.

Friday:

     Prayer: Done. Reward abbreviated.

     Walking: Done. Did bare minimum only, for the first time ever. Still counts.

     Todo: Done. Did not use chosen trigger. Did not complete the assigned task for the day.

Saturday (today):

     Prayer: Not done yet.

     Walking: About to do. Did not use assigned trigger.

     Todo: Done. Did not quite use assigned trigger, but it did remind me. Worked on today's assigned task, but was unable to complete it. However, I set myself up to be able to complete it tomorrow.

 

Got to check on the ToDo challenge and mini and get my contributions in posthaste!

 

I need to work on establishing triggers for the tasks that I have, and taking the time to claim my reward in some cases! But the trigger I think is the more urgent one as I have two habits where it is weak.

 

I seem to have slightly strained my hip flexor or a tendon in my left leg (not sure which). Nothing too bad - just a bit annoying. Nothing seems sore to the touch at rest. If it has ached, it sometimes feels a little sore deep under the muscle of my upper thigh (and sometimes, the outer edge of my knee?). I only really notice it when I lift my leg - for some reason, I can squat to the floor with knees to the chest with no pain at all, but if I try to stand and lift my knee past parallel, it aches. What the heck, body, it's the same motion??? Anyway, I'm trying to avoid angering it and it will hopefully heal itself.

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