better than before: day 3

yesterday I told some of my work chums about my Revamp Project and they were SO MEAN — ha, ha, just kidding Hi Pals I Heart You.

Day 2 was a pretty good First Weekday start, I think. I stuck to my decisions about morning activities, what I would eat for the day, my walking expeditions, and I even washed my face at night. (I often slept with my makeup on and then wondered why my skin was unhappy.)

The evening was a bit of a soft launch: My ma and sis came over maybe 10 minutes after I got home to an apartment covered in drywall dust. (We have an ongoing saga with bathroom repairs, and the guy was in to sand and paint, and fix our shower temperature knob. guess whether or not he did a good job.) Anywho: my evening was one of hanging out and dining with fam and cutting off arguments before they got toooooooo tiresome (what is the proper protocol when you smell gas leaking in your home or workplace?: the cage match), rather than the mapped-out hour-by-hour plan I’d made for weekday evenings.

But that was cool, because I’d done some If/Then Planning! I’d read about if/then planning in one of the other habit books, maybe the yellow & red cover one (which google tells me is called The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg) (which I really liked, btw), but Sunday was my first day trying it out, and that planning ahead for possible habit-breakers has already paid off.

Basically I’d decided what I would do if I had an evening event — a dinner with friends, a work event, a party (hahahaha I never go to parties), a family supper. The then part was I would still do my Exercise Hour — keep the habit of the habit — but the ‘hour’ could be truncated to, say, 20 minutes. So last night, after my fam had left and I’d cleaned up the kitchen, I had 40 minutes til bedtime. Not enough time (or energy) to do my full-hour New York City Ballet workout. So I popped on the evening episode of my 20 Minutes with Rodney and did some light yoga-ing. Convenient. (Another of Gretchen’s 21 strategies, and one of my favourites: convenience.)

In hindsight, the lighter choice was wise for day 1 of evening exercising: I am achy from going from zero activity to walking and yoga-ing (my arms, in particular, are really surprised about having to hold themselves in poses for so long). And if I overexerted myself and got discouraged, well, that way habit failure lies.

IMG_1432In terms of Monitoring, the creepiest sounding of the Better than Before strategies, I’ve taken the post-it note off my laptop camera and now anyone can hack in, watch, and make sure I’m on track. (The post-it note fell off, and now I’m vaguely paranoid all the time. That NSA ep of The Good Wife did this to me.) OKAY. Actual monitoring strategies:

I’m keeping the Daily Time Log (which looks nice printed on blue paper, IMHO); GR (I’m tired of typing out Gretchen Rubin!) provides a template on her website. On it, I’m logging my post-yoga/post-shower, pre-breakfast weight every day (despite not having an actual weight loss goal [yet], I want to see how the number is affected by daily choices); I’m mapping out how I intend to spend my time and checking off how I actually do; making a rough log of food choices; and then in the evening, I’ll note my Tackle It project, my exercise choice, and my leisure hour choice (to monitor my TV watching). Finally, at the bottom, I’m writing down my steps for the day (even tho this is also being monitored on my phone by Argus — I like it all in one place). So it’s a kind of Pre-Day Plan and End-of-Day Report combo sheet.

It was a lot easier yesterday to say no to Halloween candy and dessert, because I just reminded myself that I’d Already Decided and then I stuck with that. I’m know that I’m in the shiny, new, exciting phase of the plan, and I’ll have to watch for when my enthusiasm, inevitably, wanes. I need to get on those accountability strategies, which I have not yet done. Could be part of Tackle It hour this evening, after I tackle cleaning up the drywall dust everywhere FFS.

But for now, day 3, the report is: So far, so good. So far, better than before.


one thing I meant to post about, that I picked up from the Happier podcast: lower the bar. Normally, I want a perfectly clean house before my family comes over; normally, I’d like to make the dinner, or at least pay for the takeout, but last night I just lowered the bar — the point is to hang out with my family, not to impress them with a clean house (they don’t care), or a well-prepared meal (they’re happy to pick up food from a Polish deli on Roncesvalles and eat golumpki). To add another GR phrase to my growing-list of Important Things to Remember: don’t let perfect get in the way of good.


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