gankylosaurus added a topic in Daily JournalsMy Own Personal BootcampHello again, GQ. This is my fourth attempt at this. Things happened recently and I realized that life doesn’t stop and wait for you to catch up. You have to keep moving with it or it will leave you behind. I’m trying to catch up here, and I’ve put a TL;DR at the end which is not exactly exhaustive but should at least hit the core of what I’m doing here. Hopefully the section headings will make it easier to keep up. My goal here (especially in the interest of not annoying veterans or Cam) is for this to be the last journal I make on this site because I want to stick with it for more than a few weeks. But if you’re interested, here are links to my previous journals:
Resistance is Futile
Where I Went Wrong
I don’t want to go back through my old blog posts again to see where I went right or wrong in the past. I think I had some good insights that violated one core principle I’d discovered in self-improvement. I had gotten good at keeping up with running, until I stopped suddenly. But I hadn’t told the world about my running because I wasn’t looking for a pat on the back. Only when I felt comfortable in my progress and my resolve to keep up with it did I tell anyone about it.
Running taught me the power of habit, of focusing on today and not thinking about the goal. By just running a little a day, I made it a habit that I wanted to keep up with. It made me feel good about myself, and it gave me energy. I didn’t get to do that 5k I wanted to do because I got sick that weekend (and ultimately this led to me not running anymore for a while because I’d broken the habit) but for a time, I felt great.
I also made a good daily habit of getting the apartment clean, and reading, and writing. I wouldn’t allow myself the more “time-sink” activities like gaming or YouTube until after a certain time of day. Usually 8 on weekdays and 5 or 6 on weekends. That way, when everything was clean, my only choices for passing the time were finding other errands, reading, or writing. I usually settled on reading, especially if I’d already done my writing and didn’t feel a burning need to get more words down.
More recently, I’ve lost sight of my priorities. I put them on the wayside and let all the things I need to do pile up. We have the things we need to do, the things we want to do, and the things that we just do to pass the time and pacify ourselves to the world around us. I chose the third category too often for too long. As a sidenote, I lost my job recently.
Some of my hobbies became habits. Gaming is one of them. I drank too much, watched too much porn, and blamed all my unhappiness on these things rather than the person I had become. It was my decision to do all these things and yet I didn’t think to blame myself.
Now I recognize where I went wrong, and I know what I have to do to fix it. It’s uncomfortable, but I know from the past that it is worth it.
But before I also complicated my life with trying to adopt new hobbies and turn them into habits, under the guise of learning and personal development. Like learning to draw or code. Thing is, while I would still like to do these things, I need to get my life as it is under control.
I’ve had my girlfriend help me with porn before, by blocking access to it and giving her exclusive control of the account with her own password for it. But I found a way around it because I understand how the modem and router work. I don’t think I’ll do that again. There’s so much more power in being able to say “no” when I feel an urge to go back to my old ways.
She did come up with a “you drink when I drink” rule a while back, though. I’m going to go back to that. I felt better about it. I didn’t overindulge and she didn’t come home to find me passed out in bed and worried for my life.
The goal of this is not just to eliminate bad habits, but to focus on building and keeping new ones. I’ve tried using programs developed by others before, even tried Habitica. The only thing that’s worked for me is relying on my own intuition. Coming up with a plan, sticking with it until it works, and figuring out how to adapt and overcome in order to keep on keeping on.
Here comes the hard part: Figuring out where to start.
Well, I can start off by focusing on my schedule. I’m in class for a large portion of the day Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; off Tuesday; and back again for one class on Thursday. Tuesday and Thursday mornings I go to a high school for observation hours. So those hours are pretty much locked down.
However, when I start my day, I can give myself a little time to relax. Let’s say an hour because that’s what I did before. This means that when I get up or I get home from school/work (you know, when I get a job again) I can watch a little YouTube or something. But once my time is up, it’s time to get to work.
After 8 on weekdays and 5 on weekends are freetime.
Homework comes first during home hours. There can be no exception to this. However, I got into the habit of waiting until the last minute to do this work, especially for my two online classes. To change this, I’m going to start looking a week ahead at my requirements for my online classes. The workload on one of them changes from week to week and has taken me anywhere from fifteen minutes to three hours to complete. By looking ahead, I can be prepared to work on this homework throughout the week whenever I get downtime.
As for other classes, I actually care about my in-class classes. So I’ve had no issue doing the work for those (except for online discussion. The points aren’t worth it and I really don’t care). The one sticking point is the reading for one class, which requires a weekly journal response. I'll just have to work harder to put up with the forty-page chapters.
I’ve tried setting a minimum time for me to read daily. I don’t wish this upon anyone, and won’t do it to myself again either. It makes it into a chore and takes the fun out of it. Instead, reading will be my go-to activity when I’m out of things to do.
Hoo-boy. This is perhaps the biggest hurdle. I’ve done every approach to this: Write when the mood strikes; write a half-hour a day; write 1500 words a day. I can say that every method has shown results to varying degrees. I have an issue with a time limit or word requirement, though, because I end up only doing that much, when I could do so much more.
Instead, I’m going to hold myself to work on a novel every day. But that comes with the attachment of a daily task. I don’t ever know how long that task could take and once I get into it, I often stop caring about how long it will take. It’s done when it’s done, whether that takes fifteen minutes or three hours.
I’ve written before about how the physical clutter in my life becomes mental clutter. Now that I have an office that I keep generally pretty neat (he writes as he spots an ant on his desk) this isn’t such a problem. But it’s funny how quickly keeping the house in order gets away from you. I know from experience that once the place is clean, it’s easy to do little things here and there to keep it clean. Just spend fifteen minutes a day going around picking things up, throwing things away, and dealing with the day’s dishes. Better yet, if you do the dishes on a meal-by-meal basis, it’s like there were no dishes to begin with.
Considering I don’t have a job right now, I’ve been applying at places around the area. But this has also lit a fire under my ass to try and start writing for money once more. I mentioned in a followup post on my last journal that I might try Reality Craft once more. I can use this to develop the skills I need to become a copywriter (or better yet, a copy editor) and get paid to do it. This is one aspect where I know less about my goal, but I’ll look into it on a daily basis.
As for other habits, like drawing and coding… Well, I draw when an idea strikes me, and I came up with a pretty cool idea for a book cover design. But it’s not something I want to focus on. With coding, I have a pretty good lesson plan through Udemy to follow, but again I’m not going to focus on it. I want to get the other aspects of my life in order before I get into the thick of coding.
Simply put, when I’m working on school, I’m working on school. This goes for all other aspects. I might even draw circles on my whiteboard labeled School, Writing, Cleaning, and so forth, and move a magnet into the appropriate circle depending on what I’m doing.
No, seriously. I’m bad at coming up with workout plans. I would get a gym membership if I had an income right now. And the trail where I used to run is about seven miles away now. And I’m not running on the sidewalks of Cleveland.
I guess I could work out at the gym on campus for free, though… Damn, I guess I’m going to have to do that. Just give me a little time to adjust to this idea first.
I know this is a long post. This won’t be a continuing trend. Actually, I can’t make any promises there. Anyway I will distill all I said into the following:
My goal here is to build up habits like cleaning, doing schoolwork, reading, and writing. My “freetime” where I can screw around a little more happens later in the day, but only if everything is done. I’m going to stop making up excuses, and stop blaming other things (or other people) when I’m responsible for my own shortcomings.
Talk is Cheap
The only way I can prove that anything I’ve written here is valid is by going ahead and doing it. I’ll check back in with my progress tomorrow.
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