Last month I started to experiment with some monthly habit changes designed around Cal Newport’s strategy for Cultivating a Deep Life. April felt good, so on that measure alone, I would count the first month a success.

It’s a new month now so time to reflect and set up some new habits for May.

If you’d like to see more background on the plan I’m following, check out the summary I did in April.

A look back at April

Overall, I’m really happy with how last month’s goals went. The month just “felt” better than the last. Maybe it was because the weather was slightly better, or because I went running more, or because I started to experiment more with these goals. Anyway, things have started successfully with room for improvement. 😃

Craft goals

  • Amplify sources of feedback: Spend time each day finding and starting work with an external coach
    This went really well. I learned a lot about myself in the process and have my first coaching session in May. 🟢
  • Reduce time spent on shallow work: Limit daily Slack-scrolling and misc reading to 25 minute time block (use a timer to monitor)
    This wasn’t very successful. I didn’t have a timer set up for this so I’m going to try this again next month. 🟡

Community goals

  • Amplify my relationship with my wife: Spend a minimum of 30 minutes a day together, no kids, no Netflix, no screens
    This went really well and was a great practice we’ll continue. 🟢
  • Reduce laziness: Stop leaving things to clean up later (art supplies, clothes, dishes, etc) – use the 5 minute rule
    This also went well, just by having this goal I was much more mindful of my, and the kids, daily mess. 🟢

Constitution goals

  • Amplify strength: Re-start strength training 3x times a week (dips, pullups, pushups, sit ups)
    Meh, I didn’t get to all of these 3x a week consistently, it was more like 2. 🟡
  • Reduce drinking: Drinking only on nights when I’m not working the next day (plus never more than 2 nights in a row)
    A total failure. No excuses. 🔴

Contemplation goals

  • Amplify mental health: Read minimum one chapter of Radical Acceptance/related book a week
    I was late starting this one but it was really enjoyable to get started. I’m going to continue to do this next month.
    🟡
  • Reduce negative thinking/time spent thinking about failure/losses as out of my control (maybe try active mindset)
    This one didn’t work as good as I expected as I didn’t have a system set up to trigger an active mindset. Going to try again next month. 🟡

My goals for May

CraftCommunityConstitutionContemplation
AmplifyAmplify creative skill: Create a logo for (this) site and explore Canva or other design tools to help Amplify my friendships: Introduce myself/meet at least 3 people each at school, work, and coworking spaceAmplify strength: Do 100 push-ups a dayAmplify mental health: Read minimum one chapter of Radical Acceptance/related book a week – repeat
ReduceReduce time spent on shallow work: Limit daily Slack-scrolling and misc reading to 30 minute chunks (use a timer to monitor) – repeat Reduce laziness: Stop leaving things to clean up later (art supplies, clothes, dishes, etc) – use the 5-minute rule – repeatReduce drinking: No drinking at all in May.Reduce negative thinking/spinning by taking time outs for 2 – 10 mins to meditate, breathe when anxious

I’ll report back on how it goes at the end of the month!

Powerful avalanches begin with small shifts.

Pamela McFarland Walsh

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