Intentional Practice: Creating a Framework for Good Habits

Creating a framework for good habits has eluded me for sometime. I work at doing it. I create lists and rearrange my stuff. But, like so many right brained people, I forget to look at my lists or I wonder why I moved all my stuff around. The new configuration is as irksome as the old one.

Yesterday I spent a passel of minutes – spread out over several hours – preparing for my commute today. This is a huge changed for me. I decided to drink the plan ahead Kool Aid because I knew yesterday I would be commuting into work on my own, by bike. And I planned to go to the gym after work.

This meant a few important items – including gym clothes – in a bag small enough to bungy cord to the rear bike rack. It meant planning ahead. It meant laying most everything out last night, so this morning I wasn’t running around wasting my time, just so I could find the things I needed in a false effort to save myself, from myself.

Preparing ahead is part of creating a framework for good habits. I knew I had passed a major milestone. On the bus into work I thought, “how can I create habits that support my writing goals?” Another. Huge. Deal. Creating a framework for good habits means scheduling time for writing. Submitting work to journals. Scheduling time for revising. Reading. Rinse. Repeat.

Part of the framework for success means removing what doesn’t work. And running around in the morning like a kind of amnesiac who becomes aware of his surroundings, but can’t remember where any thing is. What doesn’t work is the falsely generated drama. It’s just ridiculous and truly a waste of my time.

I have ambitious goals,and I’m choosing to continue to work full-time. So a framework for writing success means creating a steady flow of boring writing sessions at some unfathomably early hour like 4:45 am. In the past I would have complained silently about the necessity of writing before work. But work proves too distracting. I tire of making excuses for myself.

In the words of Eddy Merckx, one of the greatest cyclists of all time, cut the bullshit. Create and maintain a framework for good habits, habits which will support my writing career.