As I round the corner from May and head into June I thought I’d take a moment and reflect on how I did sticking to my habits in May, and also think about the changes I want to make as I head into June.
How Did I Do in May?
I had five habits I wanted to keep in May. Here are those 5 habits as well as my results.
1. Practice mindfulness every day of month.
I only missed on day, which means I practiced mindfulness 30/31 times–a 97%! I haven’t sensed that mindfulness has helped me tremendously, but I’m going to withhold judgement and give it at least another month before I decide whether mindfulness will have a place in my life long-term.
2. Exercise at least 5 days per week.
There are 21 weekdays in May, so my goal was to get in 21 days of exercise. In actuality, I exercised 25 days in May. So I met and exceeded my goal.
31-for-31! This blog is the evidence. This is by far my longest blogging streak.
4. Take at least 5,000 steps every day.
I managed to hit this goal 30/31 days, and on the one day that I didn’t hit my goal, I still managed to get in about 4,500 steps. I give myself a 99% on this one. I’m going to drop this habit from my journal next month as it overlaps a lot with my exercise habit and if I just walk the dogs 3x per day I’ll get in my steps, so it feels a bit unnecessary.
5. Read for at least 10 minutes every day.
I missed one day. I read 30/31 days in May. Now, there were a LOT of days where I just squeaked in with a bare-minimum effort. And I only read for more than 20 minutes a handful of times. So while I technically hit 97% relative to my goal, I’m still not thrilled with how this one went.
May in Summary
This past month was the absolute best I’ve ever done in terms of sticking to my habits, by a really large margin, and I think the public nature of this blog is a big part of that.
My Habit Goals for June
I think that the peer pressure generated by this blog was a big part of why I did so well at sticking to my habits in May. So much so that I’m going to give it another try in June and go public with my habit goals with the hope that doing so helps me stick to them.
Here are my habit goals for June.
1. Practice mindfulness every day.
This one is a carryover from last month. I’m not yet sold that mindfulness has a place in my life in the long term, but I also don’t think I’ve done it for long enough to really make that call. Sign me up for one more month.
2. Exercise 5x per week.
This is another carryover from last month. I want to exercise every day of the work week. I may miss a day here or there, and I’ll make up those missed days on the weekend.
3. Blog daily.
I’m participating in a 100 day blogging challenge. As of today, I’m 32 days in, so I have basically 2 months and 10 days to go.
4. Read at least 10 minutes every day.
For this month, I’m keeping this habit as-is. Next month I may shoot for a total cumulative read-time tally, but I haven’t thought through that sufficiently and I don’t have a system for tracking my time, so I’ll stick with just getting in at least 10 minutes every day.
5. Complete a shutdown ritual at the end of every work day.
This is a new goal this month and it comes from a book I’m reading, Deep Work by Cal Newport. If you happen to read the book, the idea is covered on pages 151-154.
The idea with a shutdown ritual is that you develop a system for the end of every day that gives your brain permission to stop thinking about work with the goal of truly refreshing your brain power prior to the next work day.
My shutdown ritual is going to go like this:
- Make sure that all Slack channels have been read and that all Slackbot reminders have been addressed or snoozed until another time (none left incomplete).
- Achieve inbox zero by addressing every email or snoozing them until the day and time when they’ll be addressed.
- Quickly review my schedule for the next 3-4 business days.
- Schedule deep work sessions for the following day (if applicable).
- Write a to-do list for the top 3-5 things that must happen the following day.
I think I’ll also institute an “end of the week” shutdown ritual, but I’m not ready with a plan for that one yet so I’ll not add it to my habits journal at this time.
My habit goal will be to finish each work day with this shutdown with the goal of giving myself permission to truly disconnect for the rest of the day. Cal’s premise is that doing so may slow your responses a bit, but will cause you to be more effective overall. So we’ll give it a try this month and then decide next month if the practice should continue.