Something Small Everyday

This, from Austin Kleon, is exactly what I needed to hear today:

It takes time to do anything worthwhile, but thankfully, we don’t need it all in one chunk. So this year, forget about the year as a whole. Forget about months and forget about weeks.

Focus on days.

The day is the only unit of time that I can really get my head around. Seasons change, weeks are completely human-made, but the day has a rhythm. The sun goes up; the sun goes down. I can handle that.

I needed to take some time away from my thesis writing and reading — the end of the school year, along with the normal, daily busy-ness that comes with family and work life, led to the need for a little break. However, I’m finding it eminently difficult to get back into the hard work of reading every night. The inertia of the last few weeks is weighing heavy on my will.

So, what’s the solution? Well, I think it’s a perspective-shift. First, I need to actively understand that getting back into the work won’t feel natural or easy. In looking for the path of least resistance, my brain would much rather rewatch The Office than read a book called The Paradoxical Rationality of Soren Kierkegaard. Second, I need to lower the expectations which I have placed on myself I cannot immediately revert back to three hours of reading per night when I haven’t been doing that recently. Instead, I need to use the tactic of simply “one small thing, every day.” Kleon again:

Figure out what your little daily chunk of work is, and every day, no matter what, make sure it gets done.

Don’t say you don’t have enough time. We’re all busy, but we all get 24 hours a day. People often ask me, “How do you find the time for the work?” And I answer, “I look for it.” You find time the same place you find spare change: in the nooks and crannies.

Let’s get back to it, one step at a time.

Make Goals, Not Resolutions

New Year’s resolutions kind of suck, and I think we all know that. Probably most of us have the experience of making a resolution to “lose weight” or “eat healthier” or “exercise more” or “read more” or “watch less TV” or… (the list could quite literally be infinite). The implication of this repetition every year, however, implies that we find some inherent goodness in the notion of resolving to be better. I find myself around every new year in a pensive mood, dreaming of the person I’d like to be, the things I’d like to do. There’s nothing wrong with that, and I think it can be meaningful for us to decide there is something we’d like to accomplish within a given amount of time.

All of that said, this year, I decided to make some goals for myself for the year 2018 (not resolutions!). These were tangible things that I wanted to be able to look back on in December of this year and say “that’s something that I did.” Resolutions are typically vague or ambiguous, which makes them either difficult to recount or difficult to stick with. My goals for this year are as follows:

  1. Finish my M.A. and ace my thesis (I’ll admit – the finishing the degree is a bit of a “gimme,” but it’ll still be quite the accomplishment).
  2. Complete a 365-picture per day project with Elaine (blog/Instagram and details to follow shortly!).
  3. Keep a daily log.
  4. Build a backyard fence and do a landscaping renovation for the backyard (and the front yard if time/money allow).
  5. Eventually work up by the end of the year to the following weekly exercise routine (with exceptions on tough weeks):
    • Run four times per week
    • Yoga twice per week
    • Bodyweight fitness routine twice per week

While these are all things to “do,” my hope is that each of the goals reflects an aspect of my personhood that I want to either change or grow. I want to do better at remembering, I want to do deep research in topics that interest me, I want to be the kind of person that cares about the things given to me, including my home and my body.

Let’s go, 2018.