Spring is less than 24 hours away in Australia. I’m using the month of September to break some unhealthy habits and create a whole new batch which I’m hoping will stick.
But let’s rewind for a bit…
First of all, how did it get to be September already? What happened to those months following January called March -August?
Short answer: Covid
After a rocky start to the year, recovering from the bushfires (we weren’t directly impacted where we live but our daughter’s property was badly damaged) autumn and winter were followed by the continuing nightmare that is Covid-19. Initially I put isolation to good use, increasing my daily word count, recording extra episodes for the podcast and even doing regular at-home exercise. But as the months dragged on and the house continued to be full of family members either working or studying from home, and job hunting due to retrenchment, distraction after distraction piled up. Word counts decreased in direct proportion to my expanding waistline as the exercise program stuttered and then stopped. Six o’clock pre-dinner drinks shifted forward an hour allowing more time for that extra glass of chilled rosé.
I was reading more but writing less. Those daily to-do lists I started back in January became vague ideas floating around in the ether of my head rather than pen-on-paper schedules. One day became like every other as weekdays and weekends blurred, and one month stumbled into the next. And then the next. Fully aware of my procrastination I sat indoors in front of the fire looking through the window at my horse, vowing that next week I would actually get him out and ride. The gym membership I took out in February and continued with during lockdown languished – I attended no more than two online classes and probably around three since it’s reopened.
As the months rolled on daily facetime calls with my grand-boy brought me face-to-face, quite literally with my idleness: the bleary eyes and bloated face looking back at me as I answered the Facetime call surely belonged to someone else? On the few occasions I’ve ventured out since restrictions have eased in NSW the jeans have been decidedly tighter. My lack of fitness has left me puffing after each uphill stretch on my sporadic walks and while the idea of an early morning jaunt with the dogs has crossed my mind on occasion I’ve generally rolled over and stayed in bed for a longer doze.
On the writing front it hasn’t been all doom and gloom. In those early days I did get three quarters of my next draft done, and during July and August I revised my second published novel Essie’s Way, giving it a makeover and a new title, set for a re-release later in the year.
But now spring is in the air. Mornings are brighter. The temperature is rising. Excuses to stay in bed and indoors are getting harder to fabricate. Yet I feel sluggish and tired and generally lacking in spark. I need to get more work done for the podcast, more words on paper for the next novel, more sales on the rung for my stagnating bank account. I need to tone up and slim down, wake up each morning without a fuzzy head and a desire to roll over and continue sleeping. There’s a direct correlation between how physically and mentally fit I feel and how productive and creative I am. In short, I need to give myself a good kick in the behind, get moving and get organised.
Now I know there’s a theory that trying to change too much at once is setting yourself up for disaster, but I’ve always been an all or nothing type, it’s just how I roll. So rather than starting small and working my way up to changing my bad habits and creating new ones I’m going all in: I’m signing myself up for my very own September Habit-Buster Boot Camp.
More great quotes on habits from Success.com here
And here’s how I’m tackling it:
- I’ve made lists of all the things I want to change ranging from diet to exercise, work schedule to wake-up time.
- Then I’ve taken each individual issue and made notes on how I’m going to deal with manage it.
- I’ve jotted down the things I want to include in my schedule each day and each week, like a 5pm walk each afternoon and a weekly visit to the beach with the dogs.
- Starting on September 1 (tomorrow!!!) I’m scheduling my weeks and days to include writing time, podcast commitments, reading, housework, exercise, family time and meal preparation.
- I’m setting up a whiteboard for the month of September with my five main goals for each day: writing time, podcasting, exercise, No alcohol, being out of bed at 6.30am on weekdays. At the end of each day I’ll give myself a tick for achieving the goal, a cross if I didn’t.
- Each night I’ll do a quick assessment of how the day has gone, keeping myself on track. If things go pear-shaped I’ll assess why, change things up a bit if I find I’ve been too unrealistic with my scheduling – but not let myself off the hook.
- Because I’m still in revision mode I’ll schedule writing time in number of hours rather than a daily word count.
- I’ll set myself a minimum of thirty days – the month of September to ensure the habits stick.
- I’ve enlisted the help of my family to keep me on track with the exercise, diet and other goals I’m planning on kicking.
What’s my overall goal for the end of the month?
To feel healthier and stronger physically and mentally, and to be more productive.
How will I know if I’ve achieved it?
I’ll be waking up earlier every single day, feeling fitter and stronger and riding multiple times per week. My clothes won’t be quite so tight and I’ll be looking forward to exercise rather than coming up with ways to avoid it.
Work wise I’ll have a clear, productive schedule, and an increasing word count. My revisions will be finished, I’ll be back to the draft of the new book and I’ll have a consistent marketing and social media schedule.
Some might say I’m taking on too much, setting myself up for failure … only time will tell. But even if I don’t quite get to where I want to be by the end of the month it has to be better than where I am now.
When I first posted about this on Instagram quite a few people commented on it being a great idea and saying they might join in. I’m a firm believer of the power of the group to provide mutual support and motivation.
So, if you’re reading this and you’re up for it why not join me?
You can follow along on Instagram, share your goals and progress using the #habitbusters hashtag and let’s see if we can spring into spring, break the Covid doldrums and create some positive change in whatever way works for you.
Let me know if you’re on board in the comments below, including the habits you’re trying to break and the new ones you’ll be creating.
Good luck boot campers. We’ve got this!!!