So in reading a recent book purchase (The Art of Persistence by Michal Stawicki - well worth your time) I was introduced to an application called Coachme.com).
The application is a tool for tracking activities on goals - essentially every time "check-in" you get a cute little fireworks display and a happy e-mail the next day telling you how many days you are on a streak for this particular activity. And best of all, it is free.
I have been using the program for about three weeks now and can say it has made a significant difference in my life. One would not think that a small fireworks display on a phone screen and learning you are on a 20 day streak would be all that much incentive to continue to do things, but it really has been. For those activities I selected, I find that I make an effort to accomplish them every day so that I do not "break" my streak.
However, it is also been an interesting learning experience as well.
Over the course of the initial two weeks, I set up 8 things I wanted to do - learning a foreign language (Japan 2018!), not biting my names (a 45 year perennial), martial arts training (Iai), practicing a musical instrument (harp), reading (I love to read but found I was making no time), running (which has fallen off over the last year for some reason), writing (another book - not the blog, that is pretty established now) and a nutritional plan.
What I have found is even the daily reminder, not everything is getting done.
For some activities - language, harp, Iai, nail biting, and reading - it is. And that incentive to "check the box" means that I have made peace with the fact that even if I do something for a short period of time, I am doing it. No, I will not progress in it as quickly, but at least it will get done. But for other activities - running, writing, and diet - the activity is slim or not at all. Why is this - lack of commitment, lack of desire? I am not sure, as in theory I thought these were important things to accomplish as well. Now I am having to consider if they really are.
The other thing that this has brought up - and may indicate - is that I have reached the amount of time in a day I have to give to these things.
Oh, I could always use my time a little more efficiently. We all could. At the same time, there does come a point where if we schedule everything in, we leave no space around edges for the impromptu items or the things we just like to do that may not "contribute" to our lives but are important, like laughing with everyone over a Phineas and Ferb episode or catching up on my favorite blogs or even just rabbit time.
I do not know that I have found that balance yet (and let us be honest - this now also highlights the amount of time I am currently spending in my career, which is necessary a lot of time committed to a single activity). But beyond just making sure I am doing things, this whole exercise has been to highlight very clearly how and what I spend my time on - and if those are good investments.