Journalling 001 - A Positive Habit
I'm embarking on a journalling challenge. I've embarked on them in the past, and never managed to get a grasp on the habit. To counter that, I've added in some accountability by spending 30 mins to an hour with my colleague A every Tuesday morning to dedicate some time to the project.
I'm trasposing the daily prompts provided by AoM into Weekly ones, and cutting out the first two. Today's prompt is Decide on a positive habit, and write out the steps it'll take to get there.
The positive habit that I really want to build is meditation. I've always told myself that my morning strength training affords me some reflective and meditative time, but if I'm being entirely honest it's not the exact type of meditation that I want to build. It's a very anabolic period where my body has blood racing through it and hormornes are kicking off everywhere. I want a more chilled out, quiet and catabolic, period where I sit and meditate. I've read about tons of health benefits, and it's something I feel would just benefit me personally quite a bit.
So what of the steps? I'm trying not to look up things online (dedicating this time to writing). Reflecting for a moment on all of the knowledge I've gleaned about growth and habit building, generally I've found the steps are somewhat akin to
- Know your enemy (also known as collecting underpants): what have others done? Where did they fail? How did they succeed?
- Plan your approach. What this entry is about, setting out the steps (meta eh?)
- Dedicate time. It has to be a priority, at a particular point in the day/week.
- Low barrier to entry. For me, I'm an evolver when it comes to daily habit building, not a revolutionary. Start low, with a minimal commitment.
- Regular. Drilling in the habit is hard when the accountability is low. Daily is best.
- Language. I don't have to meditate once a day, it's just something that I do.
- Accountability. Who am I accountable to for this?
- Logging. Need a dedicated log that serves as a repo of progress; even if I don't look at it.
Ok, so now I know how I build habits. How does that apply to meditation?
- Zero Day -- spend 30 minutes researching daily meditation, what people meditate on, what helped others build the habit, how do people set up their environment?
- Daily habits are best. When have I got the most time? If I'm not training I'm sleepy when I wake, so morning meditation presents a risk. It'd be good to have an evening habit, but too late in the evening and I'm likely to put it off. Afternoon or early evening would be best, so between 1600 and 1800. Simply go into bedroom, and meditate on the floor.
- Low barrier to entry. I only need to meditate for 2 minutes. Knowing me, I'll want to do a bit more once I get going. But 2 minutes a day isn't a barrier to me, and builds to over 670 minutes over a year even if kept at this minimal level.
- I have a spare notebook that I've not used for ages. This can serve as a temporary meditation log.
- I can use Google Drive (eurgh) and a friend in order to log the days boolean style so that they can chase me up if I don't do the thing. I might give them money which they dripfeed back to me in order for me to build the habit properly.
There are some risks to this habit that I can already see looming. I think I can tackle them, however.
- Noise My flatmate, and our upstairs neighbours can be very noisy. There is a risk in meditating in my room. Once my initial barrier to the habit has been smashed, I can move outside into the back yard with the firepit (a repurposed wok) and meditate there.
- Scheduling I work evenings on Mondays, and some Saturday day times until the evening. My low barrier to entry will be used to combat this, as 2 minutes can be performed before work on Saturdays. I am also lucky enough to have a quiet space at the Lab to utilise at 1500 on Mondays where I'm at the charity.
So. There we go. Now all I need is accountability.