We are continuing our conversation about creating goals from a place of compassion and self-care. In this episode we talk about the tiny habits we can establish to work toward our goals. (I don’t call them small changes because there is enough in the world keeping us small and this practice should not be one of them!)
Mentioned in this episode:
Atomic Habits by James Clear (Affiliate link to Bookshop.org – I will get a little something but you won’t pay anything extra.)
Goals with Compassion Workbook by Jerri Miller (Free download)
Transcript of episode created with Microsoft Office with some, but not a lot, of editing. Read as your own risk!
Hi and welcome to today’s episode of Not a Writing Advice Podcast. I am your host, as always, JerrI and today we are going to continue our discussion about goals and specifically creating goals with compassion. And using goals as a way to come, as a way to, to do or practice self love as well.
A lot of times. I mean, I know I did. I equate goal setting with productivity, and you know that whole got to push harder and work harder. And all of that stuff.
But I’ve realized that if we can create goals from a place of self-care and self-love and compassion, then we don’t have to necessarily create extra goals to make sure that we’re putting self-care into our daily practices it’s already going to be embedded in what we’re doing.
So last week I talked about creating goals from a place of compassion and how it kind of came about. And I talked about the workbook that the 1st edition is out now and is actually free. I’ll link to it in the show notes and on my website, so if you want to go grab that and download it.
What is there for you? It’s a 26 page workbook that has several journal prompts in it to kind of help you dig into this process deeper, and it also has other exercise brainstorming, those kind of things to help you help guide you through the process of selecting goals out of a place of self-love and compassion. And then following through on those goals and creating habits and routines and behaviors in order to work towards those goals.
And then we also talk about what it means to be successful and what it means to what it means for us to perceivably fail and how both of those things can actually move us forward and give us lessons on how to work towards our goals and create new ones later on and I think both successes and failures should be celebrated because – we’ll get more into it – but basically both of them means that you put yourself out there, so I think that is something to be celebrated.
And then we’ll talk about reflecting on the progress of our working towards our goals and how we can use reflection to adjust re-evaluate all kinds of things so we’ll get into that in a future episode.
So today we are talking about tiny habits, and if you’ve already downloaded the workbook, then there’s a section in there about tiny habits and it has journal prompts for you on how to determine what kind of tiny habits that you could establish and all of that, so please feel free to go download that and use it. And I hope that it’s helpful for you.
I am working on a second edition that’s going to be even more expanded. Have more examples. Probably more writing prompts and exercises for you, so that will be available, I believe in February.
But like I said, the 1st edition is available now and free for you to download.
So again, today we’re going to talk about tiny habits and I’ve actually always kind of done this, I just didn’t realize that it was a thing or scientifically supported until I read Atomic Habits by James Clear a lot of the practices that he talks about in that book, like I said, I was already doing, but I didn’t really come, I didn’t think about it in the way of working towards my goals or even as a working towards goals as part of a being compassionate towards myself. Because honestly in the past I wasn’t very compassionate towards myself. I showed up if I didn’t show up perfectly for my goal then I was a failure.
Because I suffered horribly from perfectionism, and so if I didn’t show up perfectly then that was just an automatic failure because, as a perfectionist, I want to be perfect, and as you know there is no possible way to be perfect ever. So I thought of myself as a failure quite a bit.
But I have since learned that I can show up imperfectly and that is good.
It’s actually great to show up imperfectly, because that means that you’re putting in the work to work towards a goal of self-growth, self-learning, self-acknowledgement, involvement, expansion, all of those things so showing up imperfectly should also be celebrated.
So today, uhm, I want to talk about, of course tiny habits, but how those tiny habits are important, so first, let’s talk about a goal.
So say our goal is to write every day and, a lot of us, I know I did, and there’s several other people that I’ve talked to also thought about it in this way that if we said it, if we are saying that we want to write every day, we’re thinking like an hour a day at minimum or even 1000 words a day at minimum.
However long that takes, but if we weren’t writing every day when we started, when we established this goal of wanting to write every day, then it’s really impractical and improbable to actually write every day from the very first day. And I also want to reiterate that the goal is to write every day, so we have this goal set for a specific date we think that we need to attain the goal of writing every single day on day one.
I want to use a running example because I use running examples a lot because I have written personal essays about running and how it correlate’s in my mind to writing and so I put those essays together in a collection and it’s called Running Through My Thoughts. And so you can get that book if you’d like it is available. It’s a collection of personal essays about running and writing and life in general, really.
For an example, I wanted to run a half marathon which is 13.1 miles. At the time I decided that I wanted to run this half marathon, I was not a runner. I never ran. I walked a lot. I walked pretty regularly, and I could probably walk three to five miles at a time. It just depended on you know how much time I have in a day to go for a walk.
But when I started this idea that I was going to start running and worked towards this goal of running in 1/2 marathon, I actually truly believed that I could run at least a mile in my first outing because I had been walking for all this time and I could not run more than a quarter mile. So .25 of a mile.
And I was just like exhausted my lungs were like burning, my legs were tired it was just a completely different experience from walking. And so I just couldn’t last for very long I didn’t have the stamina, so it was very unrealistic for me to believe that I could even run a mile to begin with.
So the same kind of concept kind of goes along with writing like it’s hard. For me to imagine sitting down if I never wrote in the past or if I wrote sporadically or whenever the inspiration hit me, which is what I did for several years. It’s hard for me to imagine to just sit down and write for an hour or even 1000 words or 500 words from day one where I decide I’m going to have. I’m going to write every single day.
So instead, we can say we’re going to write every single day by whatever date in the future, I would say two months or three months in the future, I’m going to be writing every single day. And you could even say maybe you want to write every single day for an hour. And by this date in three months or two months or whatever.
So then you can start the first day of not writing an hour because it’s unrealistic to think that you could do that, it’s unrealistic for me to think that I could do that.
And I didn’t do that, so instead I can just sit down and start the practice of starting. Start the practice of starting because according to James Clear, which I think that this is really true, it’s harder to begin the habit than it is to do the habit, so if you can just start at the beginning and justice, begin the habit.
So sit down at your computer or sit down at your desk. Sit down with paper and pen. Whatever it is. Just start establishing yourself as a person that does that every day at whatever time of day.
And we’ll also talk about linking habits together later, probably not in this episode, but we will definitely talk about it.
Actually, we might talk about it in this episode.
So we’re just sitting down and maybe not even writing. We’re just sitting down with the intent to write and so then maybe tomorrow or the next day we can sit down with the intent to write and actually write a few lines. Maybe 50 words or whatever.
In fact, recently I just saw that Neil Gamon, who wrote Coraline and many other wonderful novels, he said that. He wrote that that novel that short world Children Book, I think in 50 words a day.
That’s it, 50 words a day, and he created a book. So it is entirely possible to create something with a small and daily input.
So if our goal we’re working toward our goal so now we have 50 words a day, we’ve written for 10 minutes a day for the last week, so maybe we can start expanding that out even more so now we can write 20 minutes or 30 minutes a day, and we’re just building up the stamina and every time that we show up for ourselves, that is a win.
And every time that we don’t do it, we forgive ourselves.
And there is something I think I mentioned it in last week’s episode, but we always say, well, we can begin again tomorrow. Or we can start again tomorrow, but that doesn’t give us the ownership of all the progress that we’ve made up to this point.
So I have been writing say I’m working towards this goal of writing every single day for an hour. I’m up to 20 minutes a day now. I don’t need to start over, I just need to continue the habit the next day.
If I miss a day, that’s fine. I forgive myself for not showing up that day and then show up the next day and continue my habit. I don’t need to begin again.
Another thing is to make the habit as easy as possible to establish, because again, if you’re not doing it on a daily basis or however often you want to create this habit if you’re not already doing it, then it’s going to be.
Uhm, hard to get started so. James Clear talks about this in his book Atomic Habits, so I definitely recommend that you read this book because it does have a lot of good information in it and a good number of tips and stuff to help you with establishing your habits to work towards goals.
And he talks about making it easy, but this is also something that I did while I was establishing my habit of running every day, and I ran six days a week, not every day. So I would often sleep in my running clothes so that in the morning all I had to do was get up, put on my running shoes and head out the door. It was very, very easy to get out the door and get my run in because I had already taken away the obstacle of getting dressed and getting myself ready to go get out the door, because a lot of times that is the hardest part is to decide to get dressed to go run or whatever.
So make it as easy as possible, so maybe have your workstation already set up to write or have a notebook and pen. I think I mentioned this and last week’s episode. Have your notebook and pen ready at your favorite chair too, right? Every morning or whatever it is that you’re going to write, make it as easy as possible to start your writing habit and sometimes I find writing on the computer a little bit intimidating because it’s kind of a whole process. A whole ceremony that you have to like turn on the computer and wait for it to boot up and then get your Word document and the Word document is there and blank and flashing in your face and whatever.
So sometimes. It’s just really easy to skip that whole process and go analog and work on my notebook with actual paper and pen, so I just skip the whole computer aspect altogether and just pick up my pen and pick up a piece of paper and start writing. And sometimes it’s even on a little scrap piece of paper.
The important thing is is that I’m sitting down and I’m writing or I’m standing up and I’m writing whatever I’m writing.
So just make it easy and the opposite is also true.
You can make it hard as well, so if you want to perhaps give up checking social media all the time and you have it on your phone, then maybe take those apps off of your phone.
If that’s not something that you’re willing to do, then maybe move your phone to another room or put your phone in a special box across the room so that you have to get up and get into this box.
In order to get your phone. The idea of making it hard is the same idea of making it easy. Your brain wants to do the easiest thing, so if it’s easy to do your habit. Then it’s more likely to do it if it’s hard to not do a habit, then it will be less likely to do it.
For example, I wanted to stop checking Instagram all day and I noticed that I didn’t necessarily pick up my phone to check Instagram sometimes. But if I picked up my phone for any other reason, like if someone text me or if I got a phone call or whatever if the phone was already in my hand. I was checking Instagram but I don’t really want to take Instagram off of my phone because I enjoy doing stories and the only way I can do stories is have it on my phone aAnd I didn’t want to keep uninstalling it and reinstalling it and all of that stuff. because that would make my want of doing stories hard and so then I would never do those.
So instead I just took it off my home screen so it’s like in the, you know, bunches of apps in the big file of all the apps that you have on your phone. So I have to like do extra steps to get there and that has actually helped curb my Instagram habit of popping on there all the time.
So I was right, we aren’t going to have time to talk about linking habits today, but I will talk about them. Or like I said, you can go ahead and go and download the workbook that I have where I talk about linking habits or if you go and get James Clears’ book Atomic Habits.
He talks about linking habits as well. But I was I was actually already doing it without realizing that as well. I just didn’t realize that that was a thing and that it would help me work towards my goal.
So anyway, I hope this episode was helpful and I really am enjoying talking about creating goals and working towards goals from a place of compassion and self-love. And I think that goals are important even though they have all this bad reputation of being like in the productivity culture kind of thing, because they don’t have to be.
I mean goals are just goals, they don’t have to be part of that culture. If you need to call them something else besides goals. Do have something to work towards, but don’t want that connotation with the you know productivity. Then call them something else.
I don’t. I can’t think of something cool to call them, but I’m sure that you can come up with something cool to call it so that you don’t have to call it goals and you can still have them.
If you think of something cool to call it and you want to share I would love to know have I would love to hear your ideas that actually maybe I would.
Maybe I’ll do that as a question on my Instagram stories, because I I like doing stories as I’ve talked about.
So thank you again for being here and hanging out with me while we talk about goals and tiny habits and how to reach our goals with self-compassion and self-love and self-care.
Thank you and I will talk to you next week.