Sunday, January 2, 2011

Week One: New Beginnings

I've heard two things about starting new habits:
1. They take 30 days (sometimes I hear 60) to become habits, rather than "that new thing I am making myself do because I think it will be good for me."
2. They can't be too radically life-altering or you will never be able to maintain them.

I can't speak to #1 from experience, as I'm not sure I've ever deliberately managed to add a "habit" into my life through dogged perseverance. #2, however, I can definitely vouch for. Allie Brosch provides a really good illustration of what happens when I try to make positive changes in my life here.

This year, I'm doing things differently. Back in September, I hit on the idea of making one small change - something small, something manageable, something that I both wanted to do and felt like I could easily accomplish - each week. The idea was that each week, I could add a new small goal - while keeping up with the goals from previous weeks. I knew this wouldn't instantly leave me in the apartment/body/life I like to daydream about, but it was a small, tangible way to get myself closer to where I'd like to be. Also, I could put them on a list and check them off, and if I know anything about myself it is that I am much better at doing things when I get to cross them off a list - preferably one that's visible to other people.

I kept this up through the fall, but wasn't consistent about adding new goals each week. Some weeks I came up with ideas that really weren't practical for maintaining/repeating, and other weeks I had trouble coming up with a new goal that seemed worthwhile. But it was such a positive experience that I want to keep it up for the new year. And so, to up the stakes a little bit (and, who knows, maybe even get some ideas for new goals!), I'm going public.

So, the plan:
Each Sunday, I'll choose a goal for the week. It should be manageable and attainable - but also worthwhile. I could be more specific and choose a theme for my goals, but I think this will be more useful to me if I set out with a broader goal of choosing things that I think will somehow make my life better. At any given point in the year, "my life" might turn out to be related to eating, dating, working, cleaning, playing, or any of the myriad other things I need to accomplish in a week's time. Each week, I'll try to choose the one small change I can make in my life that I think will have the biggest payout. And each week, I'll post here about how I'm doing at keeping those goals in sight! At the end of the year, I'll have made 52 small, but hopefully meaningful, life changes - a year of Sundays.

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