Looking back on my progress, acknowledging my successes and turning failures into lessons

Soooo, I really fell out of habit last week into this week of planning my days, checking my tasks, and therefore working towards completing my quarter 1 goals. Then March turned into April and officially I am behind on these goals. And does my brain have a list of some convincing (at least to me) excuses? You bet. My brain has 3 decades worth of experience of talking me out of things. But excuses are just excuses and the truth is that if something is really a priority, you’ll make it happen. No. Matter. What.

And even though I ended my first quarter having completed 9 out of the 10 blog posts I aimed to complete, and I had written “Write blog post” in my top 3 priorities for today, I still considered just… not doing it. Postponing it for “one more day”.

I’ve been trying something new to break these cycles. Instead of focusing on how uncomfortable it feels to do things that I don’t feel like doing (and therefore how good it can feel to not to it), I try to remind myself of how awesome it feels to have it done. I mean, then I can do what I want to do without the extra weight of that thing I told myself I “should” do, hanging over my shoulders.

So here I am. It’s 9:47pm. Instead of vegging out like I want to do, I’m writing my next blog post and taking another step towards my goals. Moving forward even if today it’s just by a couple inches.

First quarter in review

So how did I do last quarter on my improve air/oxygen goals? I exceeded some and I fell shy of some. I don’t know that I believe it yet, but I’ve been telling myself that failure and mistakes are how we grow. If I turn the missed marks into learning opportunities then they aren’t really failures. If I say it enough, maybe I’ll accept it as truth one day.

  • I swept/vacuumed my house floors 9 out of 8 times. SUCCESS!
  • I brushed my dog’s fur 6 out of 8 times. Womp womp.
  • I brushed my cat’s fur 7 out of 8 times. So close!
  • I completed focused exercise/breathing/stretching for 985 out of 900 minutes. NAILED IT!

What did I learn?

  • My toddler is one of my best motivators. That 9 out of 8 floor cleaning sessions? Yeah, he initiated a good number of those.
  • Daily habits are easier to keep up than weekly ones. I tried to exercise every day and even though I missed a day or two many weeks, I still crushed my minute goal.
  • If I don’t feel like doing it in the mornings, I’m probably not going to feel like it later either. I love telling myself I’ll do it “later”. I exercised most mornings, but on days when I managed to talk myself out of it because I didn’t feel like it now, by nighttime I usually didn’t have any additional willpower or motivation to power through and do it. On rare occasions, I did fit something in before bed. Most days, though, not doing it in the morning meant it wasn’t happening.
  • Having a dedicated time to complete a task makes me more likely to do it. Exercise time is after breakfast. Doing a new habit after an established habit gives me a consistent trigger to start that new habit. It made me less likely to push it later because “It’s time to exercise. Let’s just do it and have it be done.”

How will I change moving forward?

I’d like to keep up with my air/oxygen improvement habits, but I’m not going to put them in my daily priority list anymore. I’m going to try to make all of them more regular (either daily or close to daily) and set an established habit for them to follow.

  • I will sweep/vacuum my floors after dropping my son off at daycare (which would mean it will happen 5 days a week most weeks)
  • I will brush my dog’s fur after my morning stand-up meeting for work (this works because he’s usually relaxed and near me at this time. This only works while I continue to work from home because of the pandemic but I’ll stick with what works now and figure out how to adapt when the time comes.)
  • I will brush my cat’s fur right before going to bed (this is when she most commonly comes to me asking for attention).
  • I will continue doing my exercises after breakfast

Adding sleep goals

This April-June I’ll be focusing on sleep goals (which honestly, I haven’t decided on what they are just yet). It will likely be something involving going to bed consistently earlier, limiting my late night screen time, avoiding afternoon caffeine, and/or increasing my sun exposure during the day. But more on that in my next post.

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