Hi, my name is Nina and I’m addicted to habit formation. Given that you are here, once again reading up on my bullshit, I’m going to go ahead and assume that you are similarly afflicted. This year, since I’m using the Passion Planner, I’m also using their Passion Roadmap to sort of direct me in whatever I’m trying to do, including the habits that I’m trying to form. 

I’m writing this during the second to last week of February and so far, I’ve done pretty good. The first Game Changer goal I picked from my Passion Roadmap was to get healthy. I’ve managed to institute a habit of fiveish workouts per week and yoga about every day. I started changing my diet around the end of October last year after I started working with my personal trainer. On top of those, I’ve been more diligent about getting enough sleep, even if that effort seems to periodically fail. 

For the first keystone habit, I chose yoga every day. It was a good choice, if I do say so myself. I used the Youtube channel Yoga with Adrienne to help. After a couple of false starts I managed to do yoga 31 days in a row. To be clear, I could not do all the things. The crow pose will remain out of my grasp for a while. My knees are cantankerous enough that multiple days of cat/cows in a row left me in a lot of pain. So some movements I had to modify to what I could reasonably do. But in general, doing yoga every morning before work gave me movement in my muscles that I was sorely missing. That, together with the five workouts per week gave me some spectacular results in the muscle growth department over the first two month of this year. 

The habit I’m working on now is to create a sustainable creative habit. As nebulous as “get healthy” is, somehow “create a sustainable creative habit” is more nebulous. For now, it looks like writing 250 words of fiction every day except on my day off. And that one day off is part of that effort of creating a creative habit. Two other weekly parts – reading 10 pages for editing and an hour of planning upcoming fiction – are on hold as I write this. I’m trying to finish a short story to match a deadline. By the time you read this, I should be back on that bandwagon. I’m not sure if these things are enough to actually create that creative habit I want and I may need to experiment with different strategies while I make this habit happen. Regardless, I’m going to keep up these two habits until the summer. 

I can’t remember where I read it, but some productivity book that I read probably in 2016 said that you should plan to work on creating one new habit per quarter of a year. I can see what they meant. Right when I started this second set of habit building, I got really overwhelmed by having to do everything. At the same time, no less. Since my 31-day challenge of yoga ended, I’ve been giving myself the option of excuses to not do yoga. And the biggest of all the excuses is the lack of time in the mornings. It’s a hard balance to hew, and I really do need to get back to it.

That brings me to the other thing that I’m trying out this year; as I’m doing these 31-day habit challenges, I’m rewarding myself for each 31-day streak. My reward for the yoga was giving myself a ukulele. It took me until February 17th, starting from sometime between Christmas and New Year’s to actually get there. But in the end, I did. Now I just need to work on actually keeping the habit until it becomes second nature instead of letting it go because I reached my initial goal. And I think that’s going to be the hardest challenge of all.

What’s your habit challenge this year?