In April I started to experiment with some monthly habit changes designed around Cal Newport’s strategy for Cultivating a Deep Life. April felt good, May was better yet, so I’m going to keep it going for the third month.
Time to reflect and set up some new habits for June.
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 May
Overall I think May was slightly better from a habit change perspective. My goals felt more targeted and were more effective overall. The trend so far seems to be the more specific and atomic the habit, the better I am at following through. Here is a little scoresheet for how I think I did.
- 🟢 Amplify creative skill: Create a logo for (this) site and explore Canva or other design tools to help
I did this, and it was fun. I learned some more about Affinity Photo (awesome) and played around with Canva (meh). I’m going to do more next month, this time with Affinity Designer.
- 🟡 Reduce time spent on shallow work: Limit daily Slack-scrolling and misc reading to 30 minute chunks (use a timer to monitor)
This was a repeat and I didn’t find a very effective technique for doing this, but I also don’t feel like I wasted time on it either, maybe this is a non-issue for me? Removing this for next month.
- 🔴 Amplify my friendships: Introduce myself/meet at least 3 people each at school, work, and coworking space
I wasn’t specific enough on this one and I also think that I need a reason to meet people, like an event or meeting, etc. I’m going to make this more simple next month.
- 🟢 Reduce laziness: Stop leaving things to clean up later (art supplies, clothes, dishes, etc) – use the 5-minute rule
This was non-specific but I thought about it when I looked at a pile of clothes or dishes, so it was effective for me.
- 🟢 Amplify strength: Do 100 push-ups a day
This was great. Although I missed a few days towards the end of the month when my daughter’s birthday happened and company was in town, overall this worked. It was harder than I thought to actually do 100 every. day. Try it. You’ll see.
- 🟢 Reduce drinking: No drinking at all in May
This also was a great success. Except for two days (which were special events) I didn’t drink at all in May and feel my stance towards alcohol has been thus “readjusted” and “recalibrated” to a more healthy position as a result.
- 🟢 Amplify mental health: Read minimum one chapter of Radical Acceptance/related book a week
Reading and recapping the chapters of this book has been really eye opening, both for the process and information retention, and the material itself. You can check out my write ups to see for yourself.
- 🟡 Reduce negative thinking/spinning by taking time outs for 2 – 10 mins to meditate, breathe when anxious
This is a really helpful habit, I just need to make it more specific next month to make it stick.
My goals for June
|＋Amplify||Amplify creative skill: Update logo in Affinity Designer and create 2 designs to use as banners||Amplify my friendships: join an event at coworking space||Amplify strength: Do 100 sit-ups a day||Amplify mental health: Read minimum one chapter of Radical Acceptance/related book a week – repeat|
|－Reduce||Reduce distractions during meetings: Close browser, only have Zoom/notes available||Reduce complaining: No complaining or criticizing related to house renovation or otherwise, zero!||Reduce gluten: No gluten in June (fermented liquid variety excluded)||Reduce negative thinking/spinning by taking 2 times outs per day for 2 – 10 mins to pause|
No gluten and no complaining are going to be tough, especially the latter. I’ll report back on how it goes at the end of the month!
Powerful avalanches begin with small shifts.Pamela McFarland Walsh