End-of-Year Challenge

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CHALLENGE TO SELF: Develop a regular exercise habit by the end of the year.

WHY?: I can be a little…obsessive in my writing habits. As in, in my desire to write without sacrificing anything else in life, it’s easy for me to neglect things like, say, exercise, eating well, and taking the occasional time to enjoy life.

WEEK 1: Spend at least 15 minutes a day cleaning up my “exercise area”, which had degenerated into a catch-all for empty boxes, dog toys, and Halloween costumes that weren’t *quite* put all the way away.

REPORT: I just successfully completed week 1! My exercise area—in a basement that’s actually a large crawl space—is relatively clean, although I did discover that our boxer likes to dig up the exposed dirt on a regular basis. Luckily, the shop vac lives in the basement, too.

One reason I blog is to share thoughts and ideas about how writers can thrive in this crazy life we’ve chosen (or, as is often the case, in this crazy life that’s chosen us.)

Why? Two reasons:

  1. Because writers face challenges that can discourage the faint-of-heart, from gloomy reports on the publishing market to inevitable moments of writer’s bock to marketing snafus to struggles with personality traits that can block creativity or even plunge us into depression
  2. AND because we overcome those challenges to fill our days with creativity, joy, and love. And other good stuff like that.

So you’d think I would spend all my time writing about creativity and brainstorming exercises and seducing the muse, right?


Okay, I DO blog about those sorts of things, but creativity doesn’t exist in a box that can be neatly separated from the rest of life. Creativity, health, fitness, diet, relationships—they all get tangled together. Right now, I think my fitness level (or lack thereof) is holding back my creative side. I’ve “min/max’d”. Ever heard of it? It’s a gaming term for putting all your “character points” into a single skill or attribute (intelligence versus strength, for instance, or writing versus cardio) while neglecting the others.

So, inspired by Leo BaBauta of Zen Habits, I’m tackling my lack-of-fitness problem using his 6 Habits method. In a nutshell, that method entails:

  1. Pick ONE habit you want to develop at a time. (This is a big one for me—I like to try to make approximately 512 life changes at once. This may be why I am not always successful.)
  2. Commit to this change publicly (…hence this post.)
  3. Break the habit into 8 baby steps. Really, really TINY baby steps. (Step 1, put into action this past week: spend 15 minutes daily cleaning up my exercise area—which suffers from severe entropy issues and looked more like a junk pile than an exercise area.)
  4. Choose a trigger for the habit. (For me: I will exercise daily after doing my early-morning writing.)
  5. Publicly report your progress (gulp.)
  6. Each week, move on to the next baby step. Move slowly. Be patient. Build the habit.

So far, so good. And now that I’ve told y’all about this plan of mine, I’d better make good, or risk cyber-lashings. What about you? Planning any changes before the end of the year?

WEEK 2 GOAL: Spend at least 20 minutes each morning lifting weights, riding the exercise bike, or doing yoga.

Wish me luck!

:) Cheryl

The hidden price of "productivity" every writer needs to know - www.cherylreif.com

You’ve probably read the same tips I have: Have a smart phone? Check Facebook while standing in line at the post office! Respond to Twitter messages while waiting for your dentist! Catch up on your news feed while sitting on the pot! For years, I thought the path to increased productivity was to squeeze in MORE–more […]