This isn’t the first time I’ve tried to be a better writer.
I spent the last 30 days with a self-imposed mandate: going to the gym. And the time commitment wasn’t allowed to change: 65 minutes (including 5 minutes of machine suggested cooldown) of exercise every day.
It could start at 5:40am if I had plans for after work, and once it even started at 9:30pm. This was not going to be a time for excuses. I felt as if I’d been giving the same excuses for far too long in my life, and in theory, a number of them are connected to sloth.
A confluence of sour moments pushed me to become Mr. Shares Photos of Workout Machine Results*. After a slight wallowing period, I found something valuable: a sense of urgency that propelled me through the last thirty days.
It wasn’t easy, but to be honest, it wasn’t always that hard. With practice and repetition, I found myself realizing that finishing the process would be easy.
But what now? When asked of my plans for completing the thirty days, I replied, “I don’t know … change it up, put some weights in there, do some upper body work?” My interlocutor laughed, they meant how was I going to celebrate. Well, this was how I celebrated, if you’re curious.
Over the last week, though, I spent a good amount of time planning out how I’d take this momentum through to the end of February, to March, and beyond. Today, I’m ready to explain this thing I like to call The 30s.
Working out isn’t the only thing I feel a need to do in order to reach the goal of a better condition. A better condition is being well rounded.
The Next 30
A better condition includes being more well-read than I am. I’m a criminally slow reader, and that’s something that I’m tired of being self-conscious of. So, reading comes next. Every single day, I’m going to attack the stacks like I attacked the gym. No excuses like “the train is too crowded,” or “I started too late at night and got tired.” Every day, I will read. I’m tired of saying it, and for days 31–60, I’m going to try and build those atrophied muscles.
But I won’t forget about the gym. At least four days a week, every week of those thirty days, I’m going to continue that good habit. Going to mix in different kinds of gym activity into those days. I didn’t break from the elliptical machine habit and diversify my workouts for the fact that I didn’t want to complicate the good habit. Now that it’s built, it’s time to strengthen it.
The 30 After The Next 30
Looking ahead, though, there’s a third aspect I want to improve, so, banking on the reading thirty going well, I’m planning for days 61–90.
A better condition should include fixing the I’m A Writer Who Doesn’t Write problem. I call myself a writer, in my various online profiles, and I don’t feel like I’m living up to that description. When I do write, it’s extremely sporadic, and not as well executed and drafted as I’d like.
I led this post with a screengrab from today’s email from 750Words.com, a solution some people have used to remind themselves to write more often. I’ve been on this email list for the longest time, and it rarely ever helped.
I’m not going to let an excuse like writer’s block or “there’s not enough time in the day” let me be lazy about writing. Every day for days 61–90 will feature writing. I’ll try to have it commensurate with an hour at the gym. Enough writing to make me sweat: when it’s tough, when it’s not happening, when I’m frustrated, no days off. If I can’t write the same kind of thing every day, I’ll switch it up.
During this stint, as with the last, each week will have four days at the gym, and at least three days with the solid reading time. Which brings me to what happens once the day count strikes 91.
91 & Beyond
I want to be practicing two of these three habits, every day. All three a day on weekends. Is this preposterous? I’m not sure. It seems possible, but knowing how self-improvement jags have lasted in the past, I can’t say it’s guaranteed.
Eventually, trips out of town or something will cause gaps in the goal, but I hope that the muscles will be strong enough to not let lapsed days stop good habits.
This will be good, I’ll cut out the less important TV shows from my routine, probably cut some blogs from my Google Reader. I don’t know how I lapsed out of these habits, and I’m looking to not know how I’d live without them.
* Postscript: Supposedly my online posting of this every day routine got/shamed friends into going back to the gym, even though wasn’t the intention. I just thought that some way of putting this out here might help me keep to it. To know people might ask about it. Posting about The 30s here is meant with the similar intent. This is something that is starting to work for me, maybe it’ll work for others. No guarantees, though.