Time and habits

Today I slept an extra hour. I’m still groggy and not feeling top of my game, and I’m not feeling like writing. I committed myself to writing every morning for at least fifteen minutes, and I want to prove to myself that I can carry through on that. I’m not one to stick relentlessly to a rule that I made up for myself if it doesn’t make sense; I won’t write if I’m sick, or on vacation, or trampled by elephants who broke my hand. But just feeling a little groggy doesn’t clear the bar of obligation for me, so here I am.

One piece of advice I quite like about forming and keeping habits is that it’s fine to skip once, but if you skip a second time in a row, you may not skip the third time. If you get in the habit of breaking your habits, that’s a hard habit to break!

Aside: See, I like this sentence. One reason to do the writing thing even if I'm half asleep.

I do best when I have a certain amount of routine; I prefer recurring events on a daily and weekly basis. My morning routine means I don’t have to make any decisions until I’m done with my first coffee, which is better for everyone. Events which occur on a weekly basis help to lock in a sense of time passing, which I mostly took for granted until I started working completely remotely. Waking up on Fridays and wondering where the whole week went is one of my least favorite feelings, so knowing I meet my buddy for Star Trek: TNG on Wednesday evenings and do board games or baking with my Scottish friend on Thursdays gives me stability.

Aside: Doing something social on Friday nights always makes the weekend feel much longer to me.

Another tactic I use to goad myself into doing something I don’t want to do is to consider the effect doing it has had in the past. No matter how hard it is to drag myself out into the pre-dawn cold in the winter, I have never regretted going for a morning ride. This only works for me for positive results, unfortunately: still can’t reliably stop just halfway through a bag of chips.

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