Habits – July 2020 Update

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
June – No hitting the snooze
July – Avoiding the national news

I have to give myself a C+ or B- on giving up national news. I avoided my usual news sources for big chunks of the month, but did listen to a little talk radio on a couple of longer drives, and checked out a few clips online. Overall, cutting down significantly I think helped in my mood, attitude, and peace.

It seems like the stopping category each month is harder to succeed at than the starting. I think for the third time in a row I will duplicate my stopping. This time I’m not doing it to help solidify a habit as much as I don’t want to go back to a big dose of national news, so keeping the goal in place should help me to at least keep my intake moderate. Ultimately, I would like to find the right balance for me to intake news and keep my sanity.

My starting habits for 2020 include:

January – A daily devotion using the YouVersion Bible app and a ten-minute writing timer (TMT)
February – Read a list of truth declarations (Plus daily devotions and TMT writing)
March – Twelve minutes in prayer (Plus daily devotions and TMT writing)
April – Twelve minutes in prayer (Plus daily devotions and TMT writing)
May – Two minutes of prayer after devotions (Plus daily devotions and TMT writing)
June – Two minutes of prayer after devotions; Two minutes of core after running; (Plus daily devotions and TMT writing)
July – Three minutes of prayer after devotions; Two minutes of core after running; (Plus daily devotions and TMT writing)

Starting my day with devotions and prayer now feels normal. I’m doing it consistently and naturally. I no longer think about doing it so the excuses like I don’t have time, I can do it later, I’m tired, etc., never enter my mind. As soon as I get dressed I sit down. The habit is there! For August I will increase it to four minutes, and if I’m having a good prayer time I won’t make myself stop.

The core work is still hard. I missed a handful of times, but in the middle of the month remembered a quote from James Clear. It’s probably in his book but I remember it from one of his interviews. He said never miss twice in a row. Simply doing that will guarantee you do something at least half the time.

So, In August I will continue the two-minute core workout after running for and see if another month will help it start to feel normal. I shouldn’t be surprised that it’s still hard as this is the first month I succeeded most of the time. But at least it was an improvement over June.

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I have successfully continued my year-long goals of daily devotions and daily writing for at least one ten minute timer (TMT). My hard drive crashed on my computer, so I don’t know how many TMT’s I had in July and in total for 2020, but I did write every day and have done so for 213 straight days as of July 31.

Looking back on my original goal for the year, maybe one habit a month (for both starting and stopping) wasn’t enough time. I’ve often repeated my monthly goals. At first that discouraged me, but now I realize that 30 days just isn’t enough, usually to even establish a routine, let alone get it to the point of feeling like habit.

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