Habit musings


Good morning…

The thing about habits and rituals is that they are short cuts. Programme your mind and body to carry out certain rituals and once they become habits, they are fairly effortless. I say fairly because sometimes there are days when you would not want to indulge in them, but in a lot of cases, it takes just a little prompting more than usual to do so.

And it takes time to do so. Time and effort. So before you embark on a new habit, the question you need to ask yourself is, “How much do I want this habit?” which is then followed by “Do I want this badly enough for the rest of my life?”

A lot of my habits are “eh, why not, there seems to be no harm in doing them” which ends up failing quite… spectacularly, if they take off at all. I am still trying to work out a fitness habit. For now, there are too many outside factors I can’t control affecting my activity choice, so I’ll need to go back to the drawing board and decide what exercise I want to try next.

The writing habit is one of those that start off well, but then slowly becomes forgotten. This is definitely more of me than it is of anyone else; writing is a form of therapy for me as well, and sometimes I stop writing because there are things I’d rather not confront.

Which is kinda silly if you think about it, but also very true. Writing what terrifies me, what my failings are, how I fail, and even how successful my plans turn out to be makes me feel terrible at times. If I fail, it’s because I fail as a human being. If I am successful, I am humblebragging… yes, even to myself.

I tell you la, cannot win this kind one.

It’s Jan 21 now, and I’ve managed to stick with at least jotting down a few notes everyday. It may not be the full 30 minutes or three pages people say you should write, but for now, it is enough.

I need to learn to celebrate the small victories that are mine again, instead of only focusing on the large ones where I disappear into the background.

How’s your morning going?

Week #2: Hang in there


Saw some cats while I was running!

Right, this is the second week of the year, or rather it’s come and gone, and so I should be writing down what’s happened.

Or at least the parts I want to make public haha.

The weekend was fairly eventful – met up with people, got some writing done, and I even submitted a few short pieces elsewhere! The submitting also revealed I have submitters’ remorse; the moment I did so, I instantly regretted it.

But what’s life without taking chances, right?

I went running on Monday and that was fun. Well, not so much as it was a brisk walk + jog. I did not have as much aches and sores as I thought I would, though I managed only a sad 3km in one hour. Annoyed at the rain too, which started coming down in the last twenty minutes, so I ran nearer to my house instead of going to buy dinner like what I wanted to do earlier.

And the rain never quite turned out any heavier than just a piddle. Which was annoying. But I had a good dinner and the next few days were spent meeting up with people I’ve not seen in ages and whom I have missed. They put things into perspective, even if I never told them.

Actually now that I think about it, last week’s theme was simply “The end is in sight, hang on.” It was just before the madness of mid month, and with it, my period. Which was again quite troll but that’s a story not for this blog.

As of today, it’s 17 days to closing another chapter of my life. If I remove the weekends, that’s 13 days left. I hope things will proceed smoothly.

#1 Status Update

Right, so I am going to write this on the 8th or the following weekend of every week for the rest of the year, mainly as a way to keep myself accountable.

Most people have goals during the New Year. I decided to take a different tack. My resolution this year is to create new habits. I am trying to learn to analyse my habits, how I work, what works for me, what doesn’t, and perhaps more importantly…

Understanding what motivates me, and what keeps me going.

One of the things I started last year after reading Monica Leonelle’s Write Better, Faster was to create a Google Form to track my work habits. This form had several purposes: to keep track of the time I was most productive, to understand how long I focused on specific interactions or actions, what kept me going, when I stopped, etc.

Looking back on the data is slightly embarrassing. This is not because the data shows me slacking off, but because I have not been as diligent as I should have been monitoring everything. However, it did come up with some interesting data sets.

And so I have resolved in 2016 to use those data sets to my advantage. I know that when dealing with mind numbing numbers, I tend to begin zoning out around the 20th minute mark. However, I can focus all my energies while I am there.

Then, when it comes to interacting with people, I have a bad habit of interrupting my current task to reply to them. However, since last year, I’ve made some improvements on ignoring my Skype and email to focus on the task at hand. A second monitor helps; I just shift my primary display to the secondary monitor, and then put the task I need to complete on the laptop monitor.

Of course, this sometimes backfires (like me not realising I have not checked my Skype in over 20 minutes for something that needs a fairly urgent reply) but overall I think it has helped me focus, somewhat?

Now, to figure out a way to minimise the amount of “blah” and “mrehhhs” when I write my emotions in the field.

Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016!

Happy New Year!

I am not sorry to see 2015 go. It’s been a fairly tumultuous year for me, with plenty of downs and some very interesting ups.

In January, I went to Korea with my company. In February, it was Taipei with my family. Travelling with everyone was fun, but it was also a harsh dose of reality for me in terms of knowing my limit and what I like to do vs what I do for others.

March was house-hunting season. There were some really awesome places we saw, and some very not so awesome places, but in the end we didn’t purchase any because security was an issue in those places. Also the first time I got to enjoy Luxe at TGV, thanks to the client!

April, according to Google Photos, was full of food. And some travelling to Malacca for Good Friday. Also when we started the “Let’s War Every Day and get the Clan to L5” experiment. It took us about 4 months I think to do so?

Mayday! We went to Taiping! First outstation roadtrip together. :D Also known as the month I started reading more on the Kindle app. And BBQ. With some yummy lamb. I should do it again. This was also a month of Firsts: First time seasoning lamb for public aka not my own consumption AND feeding other people’s cats. Nash’s kitties are now running wild. :p Also I tried to fix my mouse but ended up swapping the office’s for the home.

Wow. I just realised May was also the month I went to Penang for the Intel Generations launch. That was absolutely fascinating and wonderful. My squees were very loud.

June was a mixed month. We put Chap Fan into production and sold enough to cover our costs! :D I still have some extras left, so ping me if you want delicious mixed-rice poetry at just RM5 (plus, NO GST!) This was the same month I officially crossed over into the 30s completely. Sob

July was when the bear and I started looking at appliance prices closely. I had already started the process to buy my house, and yes, it was expensive! Also, DOG CAFE with [Wind_Goddess]. :D Also the same month I took stock of my Steam collection and um… >> Oh, and it was also the same month I started playing with lipstick!

August was a gaming month. And a realisation that my hair grows crazy fast till it reaches my shoulders before it stops. Also the same month I joined a #MYWriters gathering. That was fun. Though yes, hearing that there’s no market for Fantasy in Malaysia is kinda sad (by which it’s not really profitable for publishers to consider till said writer has gone overseas).

September was when the photos started to slow down. Less things were happening and I was deployed in another location for work. The haze was taking a toll on my health and my boss had left the company. But there was board games and Cards Against Humanity!

October was a #MyWriter anniversary! I met a lot of other writers, swapped notes and ended up talking about the literary scene in Malaysia. Also marks the first time I went to Publika this year. This was also the month the Bear and I unofficially made The Augmented in SS2 our favourite cafe. And when I did Inktober, which was very interesting!

November aka Nanowrimo was kind of the worst this time around. While the story came, my time was not. I had taken on too many responsibilities and everything I did was suffering. I finally allowed myself to take some time out to reflect at the end of the month and came to a decision.

December well… it’s this month. So far it had a crazy start, a mad middle, and now it’s winding down to a soft end. First road trip with the Trolls, first time selling books at Comic Fiesta, and first time I’ve not worked on the last day of the year.

Achievements unlocked:

  • Roadtrip with the trolls!
  • Submitting unsolicited stories
  • Submitting a novel!
  • Almost succeeding with a weekly post for this blog
  • Reached Seller Level 1 on Fiverr!
  • Started a new serial on my blog

Have a great New Year’s, everyone! May the coming year be kinder and stronger for us all.