February 23rd – “You will tend to scatter your efforts in all directions, and this could only bring you trouble.”

I didn’t want any trouble, so I followed my horoscope. There were several moments in the day when I was close to getting distracted by the possibilities of new fun projects. At one point, I wanted to make board games! I still have 2 projects which require a some of my attention and 1 project that requires more focus.

The big project is practicing creative writing. I know I just called it a project, but it’s really a routine. What makes it a routine is that I hope to make it a habit and eventually be able to get myself accustomed to writing a few hours each week, no matter what’s going on in life.

Routines are much harder than they appear. Some “studies” say that it only takes as little as doing something 17 times to make it a habit. What’s not explained is how much time can elapse in between times that you are taking action. It took me a few years to maintain a fitness routine (which I’ve been doing for 20 years now!). It required a lifestyle change and training myself to act in a different way until it became intuitive.

The way to test if you’ve created habit or not is to see how long it takes you to get back to the habit after an interruption. Interruptions include any extenuating circumstances like personal issues, vacations, starting/stopping a job, beginning/ending a relationship, etc. Things happen in life and it’s necessary to put those fires out. If a handsome/beautiful stranger asked you out on a date, are you really going to say “no” so you can spend your time at the gym or stay at home writing alone? Of course not! Well, you might, if you’re REALLY into your routine. That’s okay too! The point is, we don’t know what comes our way and have to be ready to be flexible when opportunities/situations arise.

If you can get back to your routine after a vacation, congratulations, you have a habit! If you aren’t able to get back to your habit right away, it’s likely that you didn’t create a habit. When you’re committed to a habit, you bounce back well and can easily adjust your routines to make room for anything.

That’s enough lecturing from me for now! Back to my habit.

I’m somewhere in between with building my habit. I had a few weeks off from adjusting from a 2 cat household to 1, getting ready for an interview, and planning an unexpected trip to Italy. I’ve mostly put out these fires, so it was time to write again.

I opened my chapters last night and was surprised to see how much work I had already done. I added 2 more paragraphs to one chapter before calling it a night. It’s not much, so the real test will be this weekend. I don’t have any big plans for the weekend and have lots of time to write. Wish me luck!

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