Friday, January 29, 2010

Speaking of change...

Today I've changed the rules... Nothing too major though, just realized that it'd probably be a good idea to allow myself to be up a bit longer on Fridays and Saturdays, so the plan now is 22:30 on Fridays and Saturdays and 22:00 on Sundays-Thursdays.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I'm not sure I want to know the meaning of that dream

It's strange how the body reacts to changes. While I didn't expect to see too much change in just a few days, I did get change that I hadn't expected. Some of it is not so good, I've been waking up at 3-4 AM having trouble going back to sleep. I guess that'll go away once the body gets used to going to bed at 22:00, so it's more that I'm a bit disappointed that I'm not as awake and alert as I'd hoped for than a real issue. Some of it is strange, but highly amusing. I've been dreaming some of the strangest dreams in my life these last few nights. Last night I had a dream that started like one of those musical movies, Grease or something. I haven't seen any of those so I don't know which one it most closely resembled, but the beginning of my dream had something to do with learning to dance and group rivalry and stuff. After that it took some turn by huge sewer monsters (looking something like lobsters/scorpions, but with a sceleton, and about as big as a car) and ended up in a huge, ancient mythology style, end-of-the-world battle between good and evil. I don't remember everything about it, but among other things there was an interesting fox-like creature, just bigger and with a longer body than a fox. I do seem to remember dreaming it twice, perhaps with some difference the last time. Oh, there were the monkeys as well... Don't remember that part very well though, but perhaps that's a good thing or I wouldn't dare sleeping tonight ;-)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

On rules and focus

Something I'll probably get back to later as it's a big problem for me is to focus. I've realized it before, and even more now. Sometimes I wonder why I have this problem, it would be far easier to do one thing at a time and get things done. As it is now I'm more likely to try and do far too many things at one time and not get much done at all. In any case it is an issue I need to be aware of and try to address it. The main reason I've failed to get some kind of routines/habits is probably that I've tried to change everything at once. Again with little result, but with some disappointment on the other hand. Thus focusing on one area a day (and sometimes week when it's a bigger issue) I believe it will be easier. And as you might have noticed from the word "focus" I'll be forced to focus on something as well, another useful experience.

So I don't forget it: I did succed yesterday and went to bed at around 23:30. It's looking positive today as well. :-)

As a small side note I can add that I've personalized the look of the blog a bit. I guess I could have spent the time doing something more useful, but hopefully it will give me some extra motivation to keep updating this blog. Which in turn will help me abide by these rules. Writing those words made me think about whether or not rule is the best word. But it seems like the best I can find, "law" would just seem harsh, and probably with some nasty punishment if I failed, and something like "idea" or "aim" lacks the sense of consequence altogether. And consequences I'll face whether or not I have these rules or not. It's just that if I follow these rules I can hope for a lot more positive consequences than if I don't.

Someone might wonder why I haven't posted a list of the upcoming rules. One reason is that I haven't finished deciding on all of them, another reason is that some things might come automatically from getting the basic routines together. An example is that I haven't been shaving on a regular basis (my beard grows relatively fast so I'd better ;-) ), but if I just get up in the same time each morning it might be natural to do it. If not I'll have to add it to the rules to make sure I get it into my schedule.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Exactly what is a success/failure?

As you might guess from the title (and the fact that I wrote yesterday that it was some minutes past 24:00) I'm not calling yesterday a huge success. However, I did go to bed before 24:30, so all in all it was not a huge failure either. Either way I've decided that it was good enough not to have to do yesterdays rule again today, but not good enough for me to get my reward... More on that later. That means I'm moving on to 23:30 today, and won't have to disturb my schedule altogether. That's one of the benefits of making your own rules though, not having to cheat to get around small obstacles like this. There's a reason I called them rules though, so too big deviations aren't going to be accepted. Then it's better to try again the next day. Especially since piling up a lot of things in one day isn't likely to improve things and I want to continue with this, perhaps I wasn't a complete failure before, but I want to accomplish more than what I've accomplished so far (I don't believe anyone is a complete failure, as long as we're alive we have an opportunity to improve. Some people have hardships to struggle with, I have myself and my dislike of routines ;-) ).

I mentioned "the reward", what I mean by this is that I think that punishment isn't likely to help me get more habits but rather just make me feel bad and give up (which would be a stupid thing since getting some solid habits is why I do this in the first place). Some kind of effect is probably helpful though, so I've decided that every day I get rewarded if I manage to follow the rule of the day before. And since I like chocolate and have the body for it my reward is a piece of chocolate. (What I mean by "having the body for it" is that I'm fairly skinny, I wouldn't recommend someone who's in the risk zone of getting/being overweight to eat too much chocolate.)

I would like to follow the rule today, so I'll soon stop writing, but I wrote yesterday that I'd explain why baking my own bread was among the things I'd like to get into the habit of doing so I'll do that first. The main reason is that I'm allergic to gluten, milk protein and soy protein (oh, and peanuts, but that's not too relevant when it comes to baking) and while there is bread to buy not all of it is very tasty, and it's not too much to choose from in any case. Thus it's nice to bake some on my own so I get some variation, and it's also nice to know what's in your bread and it's hopefully cheaper as well. A lot of benefits, but still I haven't gotten around to it in months. Now you know, I guess I'll write some more when I get to that day, and perhaps share some favorite recipe or tip or something. Or perhaps you know some?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Change means work

Without being too dramatic I can't say my life is a tremendous success right now. I'm sure we all feel like this every now and then, but these last few months have been extreme. My apartment looks like a mess, my sleeping pattern is a Rorschach test, and it was months since I baked my own bread. Not all is wrong of course, but things can't continue like this and it takes some dedication to get out of all these bad habits. I've had "good intentions" to do so for months, if not years, but merely intentions haven't lead anywhere. The times I've actually tried to do something about it I've tried to change everything in one moment, and, of course, fell back into the old habits soon again.

Now I've found a way that I hope will get me some real results: to make the change One Rule A Day. I'll explain in more detail over the coming days, but in short I intend to take the areas I want to change and improve one small step each day. (To make this more likely to work and to have some buffer I only intend to introduce a new "rule" on weekdays, though the on-going rules will of course be true on weekends as well.) Some things will just get one day, and some will get more days. As an example I'll take my first goal of attack: my sleeping patterns. Since it's an important part, and crucial to the others it's what I'll start with, and I'll give it two weeks. I start this week with getting to bed in a good time and next week I'll move on to getting up. There might be other ways to do it, but this is what I have in mind: Today I'll go to bed at 24:00 hours (I'll have to add that I don't intend my goals to be too precise, I want to succeed and not waste energy worrying about minutes or seconds. If nothing else I'd have to call this first day a loss since it's already some minutes past 24:00.) and then I'll go to bed 30 minutes earlier until I get to my aim of 22:00 on Friday.

The reason I'm posting this blog is to get myself more motivated. To have others read about my process, my success and my failures, will help me going the days it feels like I'd better just give up.

Good night, and welcome back tomorrow for more info on my plans. As well as the scoop on whether or not I managed to resist the lures of the Internet and other temptations and got to bed. Plus you'll get the story on why baking my own bread is such a big issue...