Habits – April 2020 Update

Each month I set two new goals—one to start and one to stop.

My habits journey in April ended with mixed results.

My to-start goal for the month was a repeat of my failed March goal. I wanted to spend twelve minutes in prayer after doing my morning YouVersion Bible App devotional.

As I struggled to be consistent that first week, I finished reading the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. In the book he recommends starting a new habit with the two-minute rule—do the habit for two minutes then stop. He says to make the act small at first until it becomes a habit, then you can expand it.

So, I decided to give that a try. For the rest of the month I tried to do two minutes of prayer after my devotions. I succeeded about half the time. My goal for May is to do it daily. Even though I didn’t succeed, the two-minutes seems a lot less daunting and I think with a fresh start I can succeed.

The activity I chose to give up for April was eating chocolate, which was a repeat because I totally bombed in March. Well, I did better in April, though not perfect. I failed twice. Once when I made puppy chow for my daughter, and the other time when I spent a few days at my sister’s during and after my brother-in-law’s heart surgery. All-in-all, I did well.

For May I think I will give up hitting the snooze on my phone’s alarm in the morning. This will be extremely challenging, as the snooze is a normal part of my morning routine. I like having an extra ten or twenty minutes of sleep before jumping into my day. But if I want to make my devotional time in the morning a regularity, I think I should try to avoid the snooze button and see how it goes.

I had two long streaks going into April but only one remains.

My daily streak in the YouVersion Bible App came to an end. The day my brother-in-law had emergency open heart surgery, I woke early and drove to Overland Park to my sister’s house, so I missed my morning devotion. I didn’t think about it until I had turned out the lights that night well after midnight.

I opened my phone and went through the motions of reading the devotional, but honestly I felt like a zombie, not comprehending a thing I read. Of course, since I did it after midnight, the app counted it as missing a day. I don’t mind because like I said, I wasn’t into that night anyhow.

I also relaxed in doing my devotions first thing in the morning during April. I often left them until the end of the day. Waking in the morning and starting my day immediately has been ingrained in me from years of doing just that. I think I want to continue to try to do morning devotions, but part of my challenge is that I often get into a good groove of writing (or other projects) at night and it’s hard for me to get to bed early enough to support an early morning devotional habit. I’ll work on it. Maybe with giving up the snooze button I will adjust.

The habit that I did keep going through April was writing for at least ten minutes every day. Most days I spend several hours on writing projects, but those projects, particularly in April, don’t include new writing but rather revising already written stories. Still I want to write at least something new every day. On April 30 I hit my 121st day in row, beginning on January 1. April was my least productive month as I only succeeded in 87 TMTs, but I knew that would be the case as I worked primarily on revision.

I hope to write the rough draft of the sequel to my murder mystery in May, so I expect those numbers to jump up next month.

The end of April marks the end of the first 1/3 of the year 2020. Overall, I am happy with my production so far this year, and want to continue to push efficiencies to help me accomplish my dream of writing full time. Spiritually, I’ve made progress but don’t feel as satisfied with the changes made.

Part of my lack of a sense of spiritual growth could be that I haven’t attended church for several weeks due to the coronavirus. I watch several sermons online each week, but they can’t replace gathering with other believers to worship and encourage one another.

Either way, I’m making progress and for that, I remain thankful and determined to continue on my journey.

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