How I Reach My Goals? I Make It a Matter of Habit!
Like so many others, I am happy to see the last of the year 2020. It was a rough slog for just about everybody. However, for me, it was also a year of growth. A lot of seeds were planted that I hope to see grow to fruition this year. I developed new skills and hobbies, rededicated myself to my writing (plotting and writing the first few chapters of the novel I have wanted to write for years now). I’ve also started to see a therapist and am finally getting a handle on my ADHD, among other issues.
I figure all of this is a good start, but it is just that — a start. I’m setting new goals for this year, but I really want to develop habits that will help me reach those goals.
My goals probably aren’t much different from those most people reading this might set. Here are some of my goals and the habits I will develop to meet them.
Goal 1: Increase My Writing Output and Quality.
Specifically, I want to publish on Medium several times a week, while completing, editing, and publishing my novel. I’ve noticed in the past the more I write, the better my writing’s quality becomes. Toward that end, these habits are mostly about improving my output:
1. Write every day. I somehow fell out of this habit after establishing it in 2020. I have committed to writing every day this year, even if it is just a small part of a Medium story or a brief personal reflection.
2. Edit and publish my writing at least three times a week. My writing goal involves writing for Medium 3 or 4 times a week, with the balance being writing for my novel. When writing Medium stories, I plan to edit and publish them after writing them. Because the idea is not to do this every day, this will be a harder habit to establish. I also have to find a time to do it, preferably at the same time every day. The plan is to write first thing every morning, but there probably is not time to also edit and publish before starting my day. I need to work this out before I can establish this habit.
Goal 2: Develop Mindfulness and Similar Techniques to Address My Attention Deficits.
I am working on improving my ability to concentrate and be in the moment. My thought is that developing these techniques will provide me with the tools to be more productive in my work and personal life. I have discussed a lot of strategies with my therapist and will be taking up medical options to deal with my ADHD with my doctor when I meet with him in a few days.
However, there are some things that I have started that I would like to continue or add to this year. These are:
3. Complete mindfulness exercises regularly. I currently do breathing and other exercises at least twice a day. I will continue this practice, with additional exercises as I discover them. I don’t feel that full meditation sessions are necessary but do want to set aside specific times every day to concentrate on, well, concentration.
4. Set aside time for inquiry. It’s important that I keep discovering useful practices and keep thinking about what I can do to help my attention. Besides regular visits with my therapist, I plan to set aside ten minutes every day to read or watch about and try out new strategies. Studying mindfulness sounds like a sound idea regardless of my ADHD issues, but considering what I am dealing with, I think it is essential.
Goal 3 (Most Important): Master Time Management
This will come as no surprise to anyone with ADHD or who knows someone dealing with it, but managing unstructured time is a seemingly insurmountable challenge for me. I also deal with the related issue of procrastination, so whatever I do has to take that into consideration. Therefore, my number one new habit for this year is:
1. Keep track of how I spend my time. Before I can change my habits concerning time management, I need to know how I am spending my time right now. I will keep a log. I can make and use a Google spreadsheet with the day broken up into two-hour periods. I can refer to this table every few hours to record what I have done and for how long. After several weeks of this, when I can determine patterns, I might add an additional habit concerning planning and further managing my time, but I cannot do that until I know where I’m at right now.
There you have it, my five new or improved habits for this year. I could have made this list longer, but I’ve found it counterproductive to have much more than five new things to work on at any one time. For each of these habits, I need to establish very specific conditions. It helps to do things at the exact same time of day, on the same days, etc. It also helps to share these with the world (or Medium readers, in this case) to hold myself accountable.
It usually takes three to four weeks to develop a habit, so I will let you know next month how I am doing.
I would love to hear what habits you are developing this year. What are your goals? How do you plan to get there? Let me know in the comments.