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, in April I attemped to Utter Nothing Negative, and in May I forced myself to get more sleep.
There has been so much activity packed into the first half of this year, but still I’m surprised that it’s already June. This is my favorite month of the year (September & October compete for my other favorite spots). The start of the summer, the traditional month for weddings and vacations and camps and, for me, a birthday.
I loved the May mornings challenge. I didn’t do it perfectly - my face didn’t always get washed and I didn’t write in my journal even one single time, which is a shame - but I did pretty darn well at going to bed at a decent hour and rising early. My set my alarm for 6:20 or 6:30am each morning (except when I was in New Orleans, and one or two Sundays when I needed the extra rest) and even though I usually pressed snooze at first, I was up for 45 minutes to an hour before the rest of the family.
It was glorious. I finally understand what all those morning people have been chirping about. Now, since my body clock is not naturally set to the sunrise, I wasn’t using the extra time for anything productive, at least not in the traditional sense. I used it for a slow and peaceful wakeup. I sipped caffeine. I read the news. I outlined what needed to be done that day. I checked social media and I sat on my couch in the quiet.
When the day took off and it was time for me to be actually productive, I was way more ready to start. I’m piddler. I piddle. (Is this an Oklahoma word? I’m not sure. My mom says it. It means “procrastinate in a shuffle-y way.”) Anyway, it was so much more pleasant for me to piddle alone in the mornings than to do it when I’m feeling guilty about not doing something else.
Like February’s exercise challenge, this is one I’ve seen the most success from, and I hope to make it a regular habit.
If you receive my Secret Posts, you already know what I’m planning for June. It’s yet another doozy, but an extra special one this time. For my birthday month, I’m going to write thirty letters.
I’m excited about this, even though it’s a little daunting. They don’t have to be long letters. They don’t have to be a pouring out of my soul, although probably a few will be. I plan to write them to old friends, new friends, influences, someone who might need encouragement.
A few years ago I wrote just a handful of letters to people who had meant something to me and I never got to tell them. I wrote to a distant relative and my most important high school teacher. And these small letters (neither of them were all that long) meant so much to me, the writer, never mind how they were received. So, this is a continuation of that. I’ve already written and delivered the first one. Twenty-nine to go!
Some of you have messaged me that you’re doing your own challenges, in sync with mine but not necessarily the same topics. I love that! If you’re doing a monthly challenge (or weekly, or vaguely), let me know. This has been a nice experiment and I’m already scheming for what I’m going to do next year.
One letter a day this month, I'm still brainstorming on my list of thirty. But by the end of the day, I'll have a stamp on at least one.
*photo by Liz West via flickr