30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 29

Over the past month, what has been the easiest AND most difficult part of writing every day?

I can hardly believe tomorrow is the last day of June! And that today is my 29th post! It is completely amazing how taking things one day at a time… can REALLY add up to something a lot bigger!

The easiest part… was committing to doing this daily and knowing that, no matter what, I was going to write every day. No matter how tired of writing I was, or whether or not I felt like writing what the prompt wanted me to… I was going to write! I know most of that motivation came from declaring my goal publicly. (People could see if I failed.) Also… I wanted it to count for my 40 T.B. 40 list, which meant fulfilling it completely. These two motivations kinda halted my procrastination (Though, I fully admit, some posts have been written toward the end of the day.)

The most difficult thing… which surprised me… was feeling like I had run out of words. Things began to feel a bit redundant. But that also challenged me to figure out other ways of writing about them… or choosing a different topic altogether. (After all, the goal has been to write a blog post every day for a month…. and not that I would adhere to a list of prompts for a month.) It was freeing to realize I could change what wasn’t working.

Overall, I’m glad I did it. I learned some things about myself as a writer that I didn’t know before. (Like, maybe I don’t need to feel guilty about not writing every day, because that isn’t my preferred way of doing things- which is OK!.) And I also learned how strong the external motivation (public accountability) needs to be to accomplish a new, daily goal! (I’m wondering how waking up early or getting on the treadmill every day would work with this?!) Even if no one ever read my blog… or cared… I think the fact that the goal is ‘out there’ is enough of a push forward. (I feel like I might need to test this hypothesis.)

I’m looking forward to my last post of the challenge tomorrow!

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 9

Write about a habit you are trying to change.

It’s fitting that this prompt came up today, as I am one chapter away from finishing the book “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. (Which, is a wonderfully FANTASTIC book that has already helped me reframe my ‘all-or-nothing’ way of thinking and has SIGNIFICANTLY impacted my W.O.T.Y. (word of the year) journey with PROGRESS. (Honestly, it helped me pick my WOTY in the first place!)

I have about 5 habits I’m actively working to change this summer:

  1. Wake up at 5:30 am. I prefer to sleep in much later… so right now, I’m working on waking up then. (I’m not even trying to be productive yet, the goal right now is just to get used to waking up.)
  2. Go to bed by 9:30 pm. This is almost more difficult than waking up early. I’m a chronic night owl. I LOVE staying up late. The house is so quiet and I don’t feel like I have to ‘beat the clock’… the way I do in the morning. (Because the rest of the family can wake up at any time.)
  3. Write/blog/journal every day. This 30 Day Writing Challenge has successfully motivated me to blog more consistently. But I want to be better about journaling more regularly too!
  4. Daily exercise. Between all of the exercise programs I own on DVD, and the treadmill, elliptical, and stationary bike we have in our basement, you would think this would be easy to get down there and start. However, finding more enticing motivation than the obvious intrinsic value of being healthy…. has proved difficult.
  5. Working on chores/projects in small chunks of time, daily. This has also been frustrating to even get started. The projects are BIG and feel overwhelming… and I know I just need to start. I’m hoping if I can make the work-chunk small enough and frequent enough, the progress will add up quickly.

I am using a combination of a habit tracker (a sheet of paper I can check off each day as I complete my new habit) as well as earning rewards after a certain number of days in a row. (Star Wars merch I’ve been wanting, Olive and June nail polish (it’s the BEST), etc, etc.)

I’m hopeful it will go well… but successful or not, I’ll update at the end of the summer!

W.O.T.Y.

Last time, I wrote about how I chose my ‘Word of the Year’... and even gave one example of how I was making PROGRESS with my reading goals. I was surprised afterward, how writing about it gave me even more motivation to move forward in another area…

… purging and organizing the basement…

… again.

When you grow up as an Air Force BRAT, you can get used to the cycle of packing/unpacking every 2/3/4 years. ( I mean, maybe some people don’t, but I did.) It is a forced event that is built into that life. It definitely made it easier to go through my belongings… since I was able to see all-the-things, while I put them away in my new room. But, for me, there was a side effect to living that kind of nomadic existence. It began when I was a child and I continue to struggle with it as an adult…

I hate to get rid of things.

And, more specifically, I hate to get rid of things tied to memories. (I’ve joked with a few people that I’m a ‘Hoarder of Memories’ and it’s kinda true.)

I’ve talked with my best friend (also an Air Force BRAT) about this phenomenon before… how military members, dependents, or anyone who moves regularly can (though, not always) associate more attachment/feeling with their “things” because the “things” are what helped every new place feel like “home”. They were the constant when everything else changed.

Let me interject here and say… I’ve been “Marie Kondo-ing” my house since 2016, a couple of years after her first 2 books were translated into English (before the Netflix special came out). (Read about that here.) An over-simplified summary is that you surround yourself with things that bring you joy… and get rid of the rest. (This process has often been confused with the minimalism movement, but that is a topic for another day.) The trouble is… LOTS of things bring me joy. Too many things. Sometimes, it feels almost impossible to begin, because emotionally, I know it is going to be painful to let go. I’m not saying I can’t get rid of things… I have successfully de-cluttered/purged many, many, many times…. I just don’t look forward to navigating all of the emotions tied to the things. That is the draining part.

We have now lived in our current house for 13 years… (which, I STILL can’t believe is a sentence I actually get to write.) We have had our seasons of a clean and well organized basement… and other seasons that are the complete opposite of that. (The latter being the season we are currently in.) More Christmases and birthdays pass, the kids outgrow their clothes/books/toys… and the clutter sneaks up on you.

SO, yes, the things bring joy…but a clean and organized house ALSO brings me joy… and that ‘clean-house-joy’ outweighs the ‘stuff-joy’ EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. (I can be resolute when I want to be.)

It still doesn’t make it any easier to start. The whole basement… (which has a playroom, storage room, my husband’s home office, my craft room, a tiny movie ‘theater’ room, the laundry room, our gym (another small room with our treadmill, elliptical, and stationary bike), and overflow pantry) is a mess. It is an overwhelming project. I feel as prepared to go through it all, as I would be ready to hike Mt. Everest.

This week, despite so many things (like weather changes, kids being affected by the weather changes, other things that are TMI for this blog…) that drained more of my energy than normal… I took a deep breath, tightened my PROGRESS bracelet (more about that later), set a timer for 10 minutes, turned on some 80’s music, and with my husband’s encouragement and support, the whole family went downstairs to begin going through the playroom. We made it 20 minutes! The next night, we set the timer for 30 minutes… and made it an hour! After 2 more days of multiple 20 minute timers… the play room was done!! My best friend even celebrated with us by sending funny memes as a reward for completion (which I knew about beforehand, and were incredibly encouraging… P.S. get yourself a friend who will be your cheerleader, no matter what your goals are!!) That success motivated me to go through all of the kid books, which then motivated me to begin clearing out the storage room! It is like a snowball of motivation that keeps growing!

Two of my projects from this week aren’t completely finished (yet, but they will be soon!) and they definitely weren’t executed perfectly. Yet, the momentum I gained from the success of this week is encouraging me forward… Little by little… PROGRESS.