Each month of the year, I'm challenging myself to make or break a habit. January was shopping, February was exercise, in March I gave up all social media, and in April I attemped to Utter Nothing Negative.
I’ve been quiet about the April challenge to Utter Nothing Negative because it was a big fat fail from the get-go. The first few days of it I had lunch with one set of girlfriends than dinner with another, and the very thing I was trying not to do proved too hard to make it even past appetizers.
Then I met my family in Baltimore for a special event and let me tell you something harder than being around friends: being around family. It is virtually impossible to utter nothing negative when you are on a family trip. My family, those cuties, kept reminding me of my challenge, when then forced me to shout, “but what I just said was factual!” every fifteen minutes.
I did surprisingly well in Haiti, I think. It’s remarkable how seeing other people’s difficult situations makes you swallow words. I also did okay with stopping the tired talk. I did state that I was tired after my travels, and only when sincerely asked, but I didn’t mindlessly drone on about it.
But as for only staying positive and not calling other people crazy? April was a major fail.
In May I’m going for something that can be measured. I’m better at that, I’ve learned.
If you get the Secret Posts, you already know that next month I’ll be focusing on my bedtime routine. For years now I’m pushed away recommendations to sleep better with an evening routine and to write in the morning. It just felt against my body clock, which is a natural night owl. But I’m often left feeling like I missed some hours in the day and when I get to 8pm (after the kids are in bed, my supposed “free time”) I’m too fried to do anything productive.
So we’re going to see how the morning people live.
A good morning needs to start with a good night, so my goal is to be in bed with the lights out at 10:30pm. Before that I need to have washed my face, made notes in my journal, and either read or watched tv to decompress (no phone or computer checking allowed). Obviously some evenings there will be an activity that will keep me from a long wind down, but every night the steps should look like this:
- wash face (I’m so lazy about this)
- write in journal (even just a few sentences)
- lights out at 10:30pm
The harder part of this challenge will be the morning. I’m set my alarm for 6:30am, which is early for me. My kids wake between 7:30 - 8am, so theoretically this gives me a one hour jumpstart to the day. I’d love to get up at six, but if these Make Or Break Habits challenges have taught me anything, it’s that the goal has to be attainable.
If you want to hold me accountable, I’m going to try and tweet my good night and good morning messages each day. (That won’t be annoying at all, I’m sure.) My exception for this challenge is a wedding in New Orleans that The Gorilla and I are attending later in the month. I’ll be taking full advantage of a date weekend away and it will not involve rising early.
All the travel, a fast food diet, not enough sleep and too much caffeine are showing on my face, literally. I’m trying to get a lot of writing done right now and I care about the quality. I want to eliminate unnecessary stresses and give myself a comforting discipline, so we’re trying out a both-sides-of-the-bedtime routine for May.
Join in? Or let me know your goal for next month.
top photo by John Tyler
coffee photo by LWYang