My word for 2020 is habits, so each month I select one habit that I want to stop and one I want to start.
So far in 2020 I’ve given up:
January – Watching shows for entertainment
February – Soda
March – Chocolate
April – Chocolate
May – No hitting the snooze
My goal is to stop the habit for a month. At this point I haven’t tried to permanently quit any of these. I simply test them for a month and gauge the likelihood of any sticking. Plus I think it’s a good discipline to deny ourselves desire on occasion. You’ll notice I had to do chocolate twice. That’s because I crashed and burned in March.
My starting habits for 2020 include:
January – A daily devotion using the YouVersion Bible app and a ten-minute writing timer
February – Read a list of truth declarations
March – Twelve minutes in prayer
April – Twelve minutes in prayer
May – Two minutes of prayer after devotions
For the habits I have started, my hope is to continue and build on them throughout the year. I haven’t had complete success, but overall I have made progress.
In May I decided to give up hitting the snooze button for the month. To put this into some context, I honestly cannot remember a time when I haven’t used the snooze button most days of the week.
I love hitting snooze once or twice; to slowly wake and allow myself to mentally prepare for the day. Most of the time I go right back to sleep until my five, nine, or ten minutes (it’s been different snooze times with the different clocks/phones I’ve had over the years) expires.
Yet, I successfully gave up the snooze in May. Only twice during the month did I succumbed to the call of the snooze. Once was on a Saturday when I literally had nothing scheduled so could have slept all day but didn’t want to. The other time happened on one of those dark, rainy, cold mornings. Yeah, both failures were worth it.
My goal for June is to repeat the no-snooze goal. This time I’m repeating my goal because I had success and want to give it more time to see if I can turn it into a habit.
My starting goal for May was a carry over because I struggled with it in April. Each day I spend time doing a devotional through the YouVersion Bible App on my phone. I added a two-minute time of prayer after the devotional.
I chose two minutes because James Clear in his book Atomic Habits suggested the best way to start a habit is to make it simple and short in order to get used to doing the activity. The pattern also creates a trigger. In other words, what I want is for the completion of the devotion to become a trigger where I naturally move into a time of prayer.
Originally in April I had tried twelve minutes of prayer, but that length of time intimidated me and I failed more often than not. Clear states in his book that we can’t improve a on habit we don’t have (I’m paraphrasing). So, I’m developing the habit and eventually I hope increase the time spent in prayer.
I want to be more consistent in doing my devotions first thing in the morning. Eliminating the snooze in May helped in my success of that.
The changes in May made a significant difference. Most days I successfully did my devotional and prayer time in the mornings. When I missed, I did them at night. I didn’t keep track of how many days, so I can’t quantify it. I think I will do that for June so I will know how well or not well I am doing with my new habit.
Also for June I want to add at least two minutes of core work after running. I run 4-6 days a week and love it, but I hate doing core work and have never succeeded in consistently working my core for any length of time. I want to use Clear’s two-minute theory and get myself used to moving from running into core and hopefully create a trigger that makes my body believe that core work is natural.
On January 1 I started using ten minute timers (TMT) to help me write new words. On May 31 I finished the month with 167 TMTs. For 2020 I have completed 631 TMTs and successfully completed at least one every day of the year (152 straight days). I’m on pace to have one of my most productive years writing ever.