Tag Archives: #19for2019

20 for 2020

20 for 2020 is a continuation of 19 for 2019, which is an idea I stole from Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Craft’s podcast Happier (here’s the link to how Gretchen and Liz did on their 19 for 2019 lists). I think they actually started it with 18 for 2018.

I’m going to do 20 for 2020, which, I mean, how can you not? All the twos and zeros.

I haven’t made any further progress on my 19 for 2019 list since my last post, so in the end, I accomplished 14 of the 19 things I wanted to do in 2019. Three are still in progress (things 2, 6 and 16) and I will complete them, one I decided I didn’t really want to do (thing 14) because putting the systems in place to do it, rather than actually doing it, was more important, and I think I went some way to doing that. The other one (thing 10), I’m waiting on someone else so maybe I need to follow up.

Having learned from 2019, I’m going to include a mix of small things that I’ve been putting off for ages, longer term projects that I want to finish off and some new things that have just recently popped up in my life.

The first step was to look at my uncompleted 2019 things and decide if any of them need to be carried over into 2020. I’ve kept the photo project on the list (thing 16), getting my sewing machine fixed (thing 10) and completing the wellbeing program (thing 6), which will actually run again in 2020, so I will be able to dip back into that work as I need to.

I’ve also included two things that I did in 2019 and want to do again in 2020. And a whole bunch of new things.

Here’s the list

Carried over from 2019’s list

1. Complete my photo project

2. Get my sewing machine fixed

3. Complete the wellbeing course lessons from 2019 (and go back into this work over the year to pick up on things I missed last year or need to reinforce)

Repeated from 2019

4. Complete my 2019 weekly photojournal and put in place a system so that I don’t get behind with the photos again (I have kept up a lot better than I did in 2018 but I still have about 10 weeks of photos from 2019 to sort and edit)

5. Have an alcohol-free month

New for 2020

6. Complete the 21 days creative kickstart course I started at the end of 2019

7. Complete the Photoshop class I signed up for in 2019

8. Successfully complete my uni course and graduate

9. Use no camera other than my SLR with a single prime lens for 30 days and post a photo a day for the month

10. Ride my bike to work

11. Set up a mini studio at home

12. Finish the Bored and Brilliant challenge and write a blog post about it

13. Read the book Indistractable and do the activities it recommends (at work and home)

20200101 Indistractable

14. Develop and maintain a daily habit of reading for enjoyment

15. Redesign my study wall as a vision board

16. Have a hearing test

17. Learn to use my graphics tablet

18. Reorganise my sock drawer

19. Take a class in fermentation

20. Repot my orchid

21. Use the sprout jar

22. Commit to (and actually do) a monthly review every month

I know. There are 22 things on that list. Clearly maths isn’t my strong point or I have travelled in time to 2022.

Allow me to elaborate. The monthly review idea comes from Susannah Conway’s Unravel Your Year workbook, which is a lovely thing that Susannah sends out to her email list every year to help you figure out how you want your upcoming year to look. I’ve dabbled with these in the past and shoved them into a folder somewhere. This meant I never followed up what I wrote down in the early days of January and have come back to them 12 months later to find nothing I wanted for the year happened.

I couple of weeks ago I saw a post from a friend on Instagram about her starting her workbook and I commented that I never followed through with mine. She said she found the monthly reviews really good, which got me thinking about how staying more in touch with the book over the year might be key to actually getting the work done.

So I got it spiral bound at the local printers so that it looks more like a book and is a lot easier to carry round and write in than loose pages or putting it in a folder. I’ve been working my way through it over the last couple of days, pulling out some of the key themes to include as things for my 20 for 2020 list.

20200101 Uravel your year

The monthly review is a way for me to remind myself to check in on how I’m doing throughout the year, along with my regular(ish) blog updates.

I just threw the sprout jar in as a thing at the end because it’s been sitting on a shelf looking at me forlornly (almost as forlornly as my sick orchid that is in desperate need of repotting and if anyone knows how to do this please help!) ever since I got it. I figure it’s a small thing to do, one that I have been putting off for months, and if I include it here I might have a chance of actually doing something with it. I didn’t have the heart to bump anything else off the list to make room for it, so there it is. Something I could probably do in five minutes, but it will probably take me six months to actually do.

So there we have it. My brand new list for 2020 with lots of fun and challenging things to do.

19 for 2019: a review

20191101 Sunrise Taroona Beach 6 editIt’s coming up to the end of the year so it’s a good time to reflect on my 19 for 2019 list: what went well and what I didn’t quite do. I haven’t posted for a while because there hasn’t been much to say now. Every week since week 32 would have been much the same: I listened to one of the wellbeing course classes (thing 6), I added some photos to my folio (thing 2) and the sewing machine (thing 10) people still haven’t contacted me. I don’t have the big beautiful photo I imagined I would have (thing 14) and I’ve been dabbling with the photo project (thing 16) but I’m not going to get it finished.

So, let’s review what went well. I finished 14 of the 19 things I set out to do. I have three more classes of the wellbeing course so I might get there before the end of the year and I will have a folio of my favourite images of 2019 but I won’t have edited them or done anything with them.

I’m happy with completing 14 things from the list. I did some things I had been putting off for years, like getting a skin check (thing 4) and I now have a nice skin doctor who wears cool socks and I have reminders to rebook every year.

20190716 After manicure 3

We got manicures

I finished the 31-day photo course (thing 1) in a little longer than 31 days but I did it and at the same time gained a pretty reasonable understanding of how to use Lightroom (thing 19). I had my first manicure (thing 17) and I walked on a track in kunanyi (thing 15). I actually did this twice if being parent help on Kramstable’s bushwalk counts! I walked to Moonah (thing 3) and I filled up my Bucket List journal (thing 18) with not 50 but 100 things, so I also did that thing twice.

20190713 Bucket List Journal

Bucket list journal

I also had a bonus list of things I wanted to do but that didn’t make it onto the final list, so my real 19 for 2019 list was actually 30 things. I completed five of those things and I made a lot of progress on another one, so if you add those five to the 14 from the real list I actually did do 19 for 2019. I just picked the wrong 19!

I did a few other things I had wanted to do for a while too. I had a month off coffee and as a result I am no longer a regular coffee drinker. I didn’t buy anything I didn’t need to actually live for a month. I went alcohol-free for a month. And I almost completed the Bored and Brilliant challenge. I have one exercise to go. I should do it.

20190901 Tree on the Police Building 8-EditOn top of all that, I applied and was accepted into a university course through my work, which I had no intention of doing at the start of the year; it wasn’t even on my radar, but my manager encouraged me and I got seduced by the thought of graduation in a funky gown and a funny hat at the end of next year. So I’m now a uni student for the first time in more than 20 years and while the modules are running there’s little time for anything else. (Sorry, Weekend Wisdom posts.) I did way better in the first module than I ever dreamed possible and have three more modules to go. The last one is a workplace project, which I’m starting to gather some vague ideas about in my head and which might even end up here.

So that’s 19 for 2019 almost done and dusted. Out of all the things I wanted to do, there’s only one that I think was over-ambitious and that’s thing 14, make a photo I am proud of, frame it and hang it on the wall. I imagined that some of the other things, the photo course and learning Lightroom especially, would I have led me to be able to do this. I have a few photos from this year that I really like but none that stand out and say “this is the one”.

20190901 Boats at Derwent Sailing Squadron 14

I hadn’t given this too much thought until today when I was listening to David duChemin’s podcast, A Beautiful Anarchy. In this week’s episode, Learning to Drop, David talks about self-confidence and how if we mis-define the task we have to do, we set ourselves up to fail and, by failing, we fulfil the belief that we can’t do something. He compares it to juggling. If we think the task in learning to juggle is to juggle, we will fail and we will reinforce the belief that we can’t juggle. But the first task in learning to juggle isn’t to juggle, it’s to throw a ball and let it drop. We can do that task. Anyone can do that.

And so it is with creative work. If we identify the task as “I’m going to make a masterpiece” we are setting ourselves up to fail and to believe we can’t do it, because no one makes the masterpiece straight up. It takes a lot of throwing the ball and letting it drop before we can move onto the task of catching the ball. It takes a lot of “failures” and shitty first drafts, a lot of first lines, a lot of overexposed, underexposed, badly composed photographs that don’t go anywhere before we actually make any progress. David says

The creative life is one of failed first efforts. You’re meant to drop the ball so you can concentrate on what it feels like to throw it. Catching isn’t the point. Not yet.

So I think it was a mistake to want to make a masterpiece in a year. I should have focused on the process of creating and making and learning and experimenting and failing, not on the outcome I wanted. And, to some extent, I did that through the course and I want do to more of that in 2020. So there will be no “make a masterpiece” thing in my 20 for 2020.

Just like there will be no “read x books” in 2020 because focusing on the goal rather than the process this year meant that I basically gave up reading after I’d got to the magic number. Not what I wanted to happen when I wanted to develop a reading habit.

I’m going to use 2019 as a learning experience when I put together my 20 for 2020 list.

20191109 OHH-106 Construction House

How about you? Did you have a list of things you wanted to achieve in 2019? How did you go? Are you going to jump on the 20 for 2020 bandwagon with me next year? Let me know in the comments.

19 for 2019: week 32 update

Week of 5 August 2019

I’m finding as I make my way through my list of 19 things I want to complete, there are fewer opportunities to make a lot of progress now that I only have five incomplete things.

This week, I contacted the sewing machine repair people (thing 10) and I am on their list of people to contact next time they’re in town, so I’m playing the waiting game now. I’ve progressed that as far as I can.

I printed some of the photos for my photo project (thing 16) to see how they’d turn out when I finally finish the project. And I made a colour coding system in Lightroom for my folio (thing 2).

I’m still working on getting a bedtime routine in place (thing 6) and am slowly making progress. Sort of. I’ve been keeping up with the weekly classes too so I’ll call that progress this week.

Status for week 32

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 14 (1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 17, 18, 19)
  • Things I progressed: 4 (2, 6, 10 16)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 0
  • Things not started: 1 (14)

19 for 2019: week 31 update

Week of 29 July 2019

I’ve not made a lot of progress on my five remaining 19 for 2019 things.

I really should contact the sewing machine repair person (thing 10), especially as Kramstable says he’s enjoying his textile work at school that he’s started this term.

With my photo folio (thing 2), as I’m already sorting my photos each week (or thereabouts) for my 2019 photojournal so it makes sense to pick out the ones that are potential folio material at the same time. That way I only have to review the week’s photos once.

I did a bit more work on my photo project (thing 16).

Early bedtime has become a bit of a dream, I think (thing 6). I’ve been writing up my bedtimes on my whiteboard so I can see how well I’m not doing at going to bed by about 10.30. The last two weeks, I’ve never gone to bed before 10.50. I think I need some new strategies to make this happen. On the positive side, I haven’t missed a day’s walk for a long time, even if it’s just been to the bus stop at the end of the street (because I didn’t get out of bed because I was so tired from staying up too late). I’m also revisiting some of the work I did earlier in the wellbeing course to try and re-establish some of those habits.

Bonus thing No-buy July, which got extended into August because I slipped up, is going well. I haven’t bought a single book, item of clothing or new pen or signed up for any class (not even free ones). One week to go with that one (actually, four days) before I can *happy dance* buy the book I’ve been eyeing off the last couple of weeks. It’s one I’ve thought about a lot as it will complement some of the work I’ve been struggling with in the wellbeing course. So it won’t be a spur of the moment purchase. It’s one I’ve considered carefully.

Here’s a photo of a lost shopping trolley of Hobart waiting for its morning coffee.

20190731 Lost trolley waits for its coffee edit

Status for week 31

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 14 (1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 17, 18, 19)
  • Things I progressed: 3 (2, 6, 16)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 0
  • Things not started: 2 (10, 14)

19 for 2019: week 30 update

Week of 22 July

I don’t have a lot to update from week 30. I finished the 31-day photo course (in eight months . . .) last week and I guess that felt like such a big achievement and now I’m feeling a bit lost.

Of the five uncompleted things left to do on my 19 for 2019 list, fixing my sewing machine (thing 10) is a fairly simple thing as long as I just make the call, which is always the hard part. Finishing the photo project (thing 16) will take more time but if I make regular time each week to sit down and do it, I’ll get there eventually. I did some work editing some more photos this week and I learned a couple more features of Photoshop.

Making a folio of my best work of 2019 (thing 2) is something that’s ongoing for the whole year. But I need to make a better way of reviewing my photos each week and putting any good ones in there so I don’t get behind and then have to go back through the whole year’s worth of photos to find my favourites. Something to think about and I have a couple of ideas.

Making photo I’m proud of enough to print it big and hang it on the wall (thing 14)  is something that will probably fall out of the folio, so I might not get around to doing that until the end of the year when I have a year’s worth of photos to choose from.

20190725 Clouds over 36 Davey St edit

Cool clouds. Probably not one for the folio, but who knows?

Finally, in the wellbeing work that I’m doing (thing 6), I’m still struggling with the whole evening routine and getting enough rest thing. I’m not sure what’s going on there but I suspect it’s my brain trying to make me feel good in the moment rather than listening to what is going to actually be good for me. I wrote about it a bit in my Weekend Wisdom post. This week I listened to the week 28 class (the material is a bit behind the actual weeks of the year because we started in mid-January) and I’ll have more to say about that in my week 31 post.

For No-buy July, which isn’t a thing but I’m still doing it, I didn’t buy anything from my off-limits list this week. No books, no online courses, no free resources that end up putting me on mailing lists that send me more tempting things to buy, no stationery (even though my favourite stationery store had a 15 per cent of everything deal), no clothes (even though my favourite clothing store has had several sales going on). I’ve been ruthless in deleting emails that are out to tempt me. There is a piece of equipment I’ve been considering buying for several months and it’s come to the point where I really need to have it or I risk wasting a lot of work. I’ve done some research and asked questions and I think this is going to be the best way to fix some problems I’ve been having. So I think I can justify that. It’s not on my off-limits list so it’s all good.

Status for week 30

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 14 (1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 17, 18, 19)
  • Things I progressed: 2 (6, 16)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 1 (2)
  • Things not started: 2 (10, 14)

19 for 2019: week 29

Week of 15 July (week 29)

I’ve had a lovely slow week this week. It’s school holidays and I had four days off work.  Wonderful! It meant I got to spend some time with Kramstable and to do some things for me as well, including finalising a post for my photoblog (I mentioned this in my Weekend Wisdom post) and taking myself to the movies.

One of my 19 for 2019 things was to get a manicure. I’d never had a manicure before this week and I’m not sure what made me want to have one. I never let my nails grow very long and I’m not a nail polish fan. But I do have a couple of friends who have really nice hands and I keep thinking it would be nice to have soft, well cared-for hands rather than chapped ones. So I put it on the list (thing 17).

Kramstable is fascinated by all things nail polish so I asked him if he wanted a manicure too. He did, so I figured it would be a good school holiday activity for us to do together this week. And we did.

I wasn’t sure what would be more difficult for the lovely nail ladies: my ancient hard-as-rock hands with years of cuticle growth, or Kramstable’s small fingers. Bethany, who was working on Kramstable’s hands, said his hands were easy and if I thought that would be hard, try doing a manicure on a three-year-old.

I mentioned to Jessica, who had the unfortunate job of working on my neglected hands, that I had never had a manicure and didn’t take very good care of my hands. She just smiled and said, that’s why you’re here. Indeed. It wasn’t an unpleasant experience and my hands felt and looked very soft afterwards. I mentioned that I had some really old cuticle oil at home and Bethany said get it out, put it by your toothbrush and use it when you brush your teeth.

Great idea! I’m going to do that as part of my evening routine (thing 6) so that next time I go back (because next time I’m going back for the ultimate hand pampering treatment) my manicure will be easier and my hands will look even better.

Quite coincidentally, I learned that that day was a strong “earth” energy day and good activities for earth energy days include “treats and luxuries” so it ended up being a perfectly appropriate day for it.

20190716 After manicure 3

I have been doing horribly on getting to bed on time and on staying hydrated, which are my main wellbeing goals (thing 6). I can’t, hand on heart, say I made any progress on that this week.

But!

I completed the last three assignments for the photo course I started back in December (thing 1). The course was meant to take 31 days. It took eight months!

20190719 Waterfront from Mac 2 03

Never mind, I got there and I learned a lot and certainly know a lot more about Lightroom (thing 19) than I did when I started. I’m also working my way through a book called The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC Book for Digital Photographers by Scott Kelby, which I bought for my Kindle before I started taking the course and had forgotten about. It’s nearly 500 pages long and covers file organisation, which was helpful when I started before I had any clue how any of it worked, as well as having a lot of material on workflow. It has a lot of instruction about dealing with your finished images (printing, publishing and so on), which doesn’t really interest me at the moment.

I’ve flicked through it and I don’t think there’s anything more in there that I need to know to edit 90 per cent of my photos. I think what I need to do now is practise and edit lots of photos. If there’s something I need to learn how to do, I can look it up either in the book or online. There’s no point in going through it now when I don’t need to use it because I won’t remember it and will have to look it up anyway. For the purpose of this being a thing I wanted to do in 2019, I’m happy to call it done. I will never know everything there is to know about Lightroom, but I know enough for what I need. Thing complete.

I edited some photos for my photo project (thing 16) and I added this week’s photos to my 2019 folio (thing 2). And with No-buy July (take 2), I’m up to day 11.

Status for week 29

  • Things completed this week: 3 (1, 17, 19)
  • Things completed to date: 14 (1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 17, 18, 19)
  • Things I progressed: 2 (2, 16)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 1 (6)
  • Things not started: 2 (10, 14)

19 for 2019: week 28 update

Week of 8 July

No-buy July, which isn’t one of my 19 things but is a 30-day challenge I want to do, lasted exactly nine days, and on the tenth day, I forgot I wasn’t supposed to be buying stuff and ordered something online. As soon as I hit “pay now” in Paypal I knew I’d stuffed up. I tried to rationalise it by telling myself it wasn’t really buying, it was pre-ordering and that I had intended to buy this product for ages and had just never got around to doing it, so it really wasn’t a purchase of a non-essential thing in July.

All very fine excuses, but not good enough. I bought something I didn’t need and so the month restarted on 11 July.

I finished two assignments in the photo course, so I now have four remaining out of the 31 assignments in the course (thing 1). I watched the last class video and I learned some new things in Lightroom for one of the assignments (thing 19).

I was losing track of the photos for my folio (thing 2), so I made a smart collection of all the photos from this year in Lightroom (there are 5900 of them) to have them all in one place and started to pull out my favourites. So far I have about 200 shortlisted. I made virtual copies of my shortlisted photos for the photo project (thing 16) and have started editing them.

I made my appointment for a manicure next week (thing 17) and I finished sticking the last of the 2018 photos in the book (thing 11). It is now safely tucked away in its archive binder and I have finished another thing!

The Bucket List Journal (thing 18) has space for you to list and plan out 100 things.20190713 Bucket List Journal

There’s a two-page spread for each of the 100 things to help you plan how you’re going to do it and to record what you did when you did it. There’s also an index section at the back to list all of the goals. That means you have to write the things in the book TWICE! I put all the 100 things in the index on Saturday but decided that it didn’t count as finishing the thing, because the things needed to be in the book proper so that I could start to make plans to do them. That was my intention when I wrote my list. So I wrote them all in. And I have a sore hand from writing so much. But I’ve finished another thing. And don’t be surprised if 20 of the things on that list make their way onto my 20 for 2020 list, if I decide to do that.

If you’re interested, this is how MiGoals, the creator of the journal, recommends to use it.

I’m failing badly at my attempts to implement a consistent evening routine (thing 6) and have been doing some of the other work from my wellbeing course around getting better rest. This course is a thing I don’t think I can ever actually fully complete. It’s designed so you can go back year after year and take what you need at the time. This is the fifth year I’ve worked with this material and so far I have never made it through to the end of the year. So my goal is to stick with it for the full year, listen to all of the lessons and I start to make a few small changes from some of the lessons. I can always go back and work through it again next year and get new things from it.

Status for week 28

  • Things completed this week: 2 (11, 18)
  • Things completed to date: 11 (3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 18)
  • Things I progressed: 6 (1, 2, 6, 16, 17, 19)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 0
  • Things not started: 2 (10, 14)

19 for 2019: week 27 update

Week of 1 July

20190703 10M 01 from Brooke St

Hobart Waterfront, Wednesday morning

This has been another slow week for my 19 for 2019. Monday was 1 July so I decided to start this No-buy July thing. I don’t know if it’s a thing or not but if it isn’t it is now. (It is. I googled.)

When I was making my 19 for 2019 shortlist, I included a few month-long challenges I thought I’d like to do over the year. Only one of them ended up making it onto the final list of 19, which was the month with no alcohol (thing 13). There was also a month with no coffee, which I ended up doing pretty much alongside the no alcohol month, and a month of not buying anything I don’t need. This would include books, online courses, clothes, jewellery . . . anything that I don’t actually need and tend to buy on impulse or on sale or because of one of those breathless “LAST CHANCE!!!!!” emails, without considering if I really need it or am really going to read it or do it. (Spoiler: I don’t.)

So this is my challenge for July. I didn’t pick July because it rhymes with “no buy”, I just decided to do it this month.

Strategy one in this quest is to avoid shops at lunch time. Yes, that includes bookshops. The temptation there is too great.

Strategy two is to delete any emails that look like they might have tempting things or sales advertised in them. New fountain pens? Delete. Look at these beautiful new notebooks! Delete. 30 per cent off at my favourite clothes store? Delete? Buy two get one free? Delete. You mustn’t miss this opportunity for this shiny new course! Delete. LAST CHANCE!!! Delete. Funky pillow you can sleep at your desk with? Delete. All Udemy courses on sale? Delete. New . . .  Wait a minute! Funky pillow I can sleep at my desk with? Did you say sleep at my desk?!   Hold on . . . surely I need this?!

You do not.

*Makes folder of things to look at in August* *Files email*

Okay, this started out well. I managed to get through the first week pretty easily. I even went to Spiceworld to get the spices I had run out of without making a detour into my favourite clothing store next door. (Spiceworld is my downfall.) And then on Friday morning, unexpectedly in the mail arrives a loyalty voucher from my favourite bookstore as a reward for buying all those books I haven’t read over the last 12 months or so.

Oh dear!

This is a true test.

Free books!

But No-buy July!

But free isn’t actually buying, is it . . . ?

Well technically, no, but the point of No-buy July in my view is to not accumulate more stuff. It’s not about spending money. So no, I may not spend the voucher this month. Instead, I can think about all the wonderful books I might get on 1 August and choose one (or two) that I really want and that I will read.

20190707 Willow Court Barracks 07

Willow Court Barracks, New Norfolk, Sunday afternoon

In terms of my actual 19 for 2019 list, this week I’ve been focusing (imperfectly) on my evening routine (thing 6). I took some photos that might work for one of the photo course assignments (thing 1) so I’ll count that as progress, and I also watched one of the videos. I stuck one photo in my 2018 photojournal before I ran out of tape (thing 11). I bought more tape, after an exciting lunchtime trip to Spotlight where I wandered round with this look of devastated confusion on my face for ten minutes because I couldn’t find the tape. And finally, I now have a list of 100 things I might be happy to put in the Bucket List journal (thing 18).

That is all good.

Status for week 27

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 9 (3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15)
  • Things I progressed: 4 (1, 6, 11, 18)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress:  4 (2, 16, 17, 19)
  • Things not started: 2 (10, 14)

19 for 2019: week 26 update

Coming up to the middle of the year, I’ve completed nine of my 19 things I wanted to do this year. That’s pretty close to half, although the pedant in me says that half of 19 is nine-and-a-half, which is rounded up to ten, so I should have completed ten things to be on track at the half-way point.

The realist says that’s ridiculous and that many of the things are more than half-finished so if you added in all of those to the mix, then the grand total would be way more than ten.

The pedant says that’s stupid and that a thing is either done or it isn’t done and only nine things are done. There is no part-done . . . and so I let my brain carry on its pointless argument while I actually sit down and do things. Or write about them, which isn’t really achieving anything. Well, it is. I like writing and I’m trying to improve, so any writing I do is helping me do this. I hope.

By writing these posts relatively quickly and publishing them, it’s also helping to reinforce the message in my brain that “done is better than perfect”, a concept I struggle with. I touched on this in my Weekend Wisdom post this week, and I lived the experience on Tuesday morning.

Tell me more, I hear you say.

To set the scene, I’ve been feeling more and more like I’m getting my walking back on track (see what I did there?) since I got sick in May and stopped doing my morning walks. I think it must be three weeks now, maybe four, when I’ve been for a walk every morning even if, on a couple of days, it was just to the end of the street because it was all I could do that day (because I slept through the alarm and had no time. True story).

On Tuesday, the “do what you can do” got taken to another level. It was freezing cold. I went outside for my walk at 5.45 and I could see frost on the road. What I didn’t realise was it was also on my driveway, which, although short, is steep. I discovered the frost pretty quickly when my feet started to slip out from under me and I just stopped myself from falling.

20190625 The frost that bit me edit

The frost that bit me

At first, I thought if I could just get to the road I’d be okay, but after three slips I still hadn’t got anywhere near the bottom of the driveway and I was worried about falling over. I slipped down my front stairs a few months ago and hurt my back really badly and I didn’t want to go through that amount of pain again.

I decided that walking wasn’t worth the risk of injuring myself and I stopped trying and went back inside. My fitness will not dramatically drop off because I missed one day. My health is my top priority, and I decided that if going for a walk presented a risk to my health that outweighed any benefit, I wouldn’t walk.

I told myself that I had walked to the extent that it was possible to walk that morning. I had followed the routine. I’d got up, got dressed and gone outside to walk.  Just like the days when I only get to the end of the street and that’s okay if it’s all I can do that day, on Tuesday I got out of the house and onto the driveway and, in the circumstances, that’s all I could have done. It was my personal best that day. It was different from what my personal best would have been the day before and different from what it would be tomorrow. But it was okay for that day.

Was it a perfect morning walk? No. Did I do the best I could do in the circumstances? Yes. Was I happy with that? Yes.

I’ve told myself time after time that done is better than perfect and that “done” looks different every time. It’s an antidote to the other voice in my head that whispers “it has to be perfect or it’s not worth doing”. That’s the voice that usually wins, despite every argument I throw against it.

But lately, I’ve been noticing a shift. The “done is better” voice is getting stronger and drowning out the whispers of the perfectionist. I’m starting to feel like it’s okay to call something done if I’ve done the best I can with what I had in the circumstances I was in at the time.

It’s one thing to know something and another thing entirely to believe it and to live your life by it and I wonder why, having known this is true for many years, I didn’t accept it sooner. How different my life might have been if I had fully accepted this belief 10 or 20 years ago. But I didn’t, and there’s no point wondering. I’m learning to accept it now, and how I take it forward into the rest of my life is what matters, not what might have been, because I can’t change that.

I suppose it’s part of the journey of life that it takes time to incorporate new beliefs into your way of thinking and behaving. You can see the same phrase over and over again, read countless articles that say the same things from different angles and sit there nodding your head, thinking, “I have to start doing this”, but when it comes down to it, you carry on as you always have because you don’t really believe it.

Changing long-held beliefs is like trying to change any other habit you’ve had for a long time and struggled to break. It doesn’t happen overnight. You don’t just wake up one morning and say, “hey, I’m not going to beat myself up for not being perfect any more” and never do it again, just like you don’t wake up one morning and decide to quit smoking and never do it again. (Well, I suppose some people do, but they are not me. I struggle with replacing behaviours that don’t support me with ones that do, so it comes as no surprise that I also struggle with replacing beliefs that don’t serve me with ones that do.)

I hope Tuesday morning is a turning point for me in my quest to overcome perfection. I hope that it has started to prove to me that it’s okay when my best isn’t really very good because what matters is that I did it, even though it wasn’t perfect. And that tomorrow I will have a chance to do it better. (And I did go for a walk in the middle of the day after the frost had gone.)

20190625 Hinsby Beach 2 edit

Lunch time walk

And so, to the pedantic perfectionist, which is still arguing with the realist, it’s half-way through the year and I’ve completed nine of my 19 things. Nine! Yay! You need to remember this was a wish list to guide me through the year, not a rigid set of goals that I had to achieve no matter what. Nine things completed and eight more in progress is tracking pretty well at the half-way point. So thanks for your thoughts but I’ll let that one go.

This week I only progressed three things.

Wait, no. I progressed three things. Three is good. I had a lot of other things on. I progressed three things on my wish list. Great!

I didn’t do any work on the photo course or Lightroom (things 1 and 19).

I’m working on trying to re-establish my evening routine and get to bed at a reasonable hour (thing 6) but I’m struggling turning my computer off at night when I’m not being productive, I’m just mindlessly scrolling and surfing. It might be relaxing but it’s not giving me the kind of rest that I really need.

I think I need to approach this with the “personal best” mindset, which is that any night where I get more sleep than I normally do is better than beating myself up because I didn’t turn the computer off at my scheduled shut down time and be in bed with the light off at precisely 10.30. No one will die if I’m still brushing my teeth at 10.35. The aim is a gradual shift into building the habit, just like I gradually got walking back into my life.

I stuck November’s collages into my photojournalist (thing 11) and I spent some more time tinkering with the draft list to go into the bucket list journal (thing 18).

20190628 Argyle & Davey St 754am edit

My favourite @hobartstreetcorners photo from this week

Status for week 26

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 9 (3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15)
  • Things I progressed: 3 (6, 11, 18)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress:  5 (1, 2, 16, 17, 19)
  • Things not started: 2 (10, 14)

19 for 2019: week 25 update

Week of 17 June

A couple of conversations with people this week have reassured me that I’m not the only one who is feeling miserable and downcast during these short, dark, cold winter days and I’m not the only one who prefers to hibernate rather than be around crowds of people at Dark Mofo. Instead, I went to a simple Winter Solstice candle ceremony with my yoga teacher and a small group to welcome the returning light. I know we have a long way to go to get through winter, but this was a lovely way to pause, reflect and think about what I want to shine my own light on over the coming year.

I made a little progress on my 19 for 2019 list. I watched two videos for my photo class (thing 1) and then I hid myself away for an afternoon to work on some assignments in Lightroom (thing 19). I completed four over the weekend.

20190624 Week 25 1

My wellbeing work (thing 6) has been around getting an evening routine into place and going to bed earlier. I’ve been trying to do this for years and have never made it stick. I wrote about a previous attempt in 2016, where I looked at the bedtime routine structure that Lisa Byrne put together in her book Replenish.

Lisa describes the bedtime routine as “a bridge from where you are at the end of the day to a place where your body and mind are ready to fall into a deeper level of rest”. Its purpose is to “slowly disengage you from the world and bring you back inward to yourself to ready your self for deep restorative sleep”.

She outlines four basic steps. First you cut your connection to the world for the night, by finishing up the jobs you have to do and turning off your screens and devices. You should have a fixed time to do this.

Then you move a step inward and do something to calm your body – it might be having a bath or a shower, washing your face, doing some light stretches, something gentle like that. Another thing that many sleep experts suggest as you start your bedtime routine is to dim the lights around the house to make sure your melatonin (the sleep hormone) production isn’t disrupted by artificial light.

The next step inward is to calm and soothe your mind, so Lisa suggests things like inspirational reading, meditation, calm breathing or journalling can be good to get thoughts out of your head before you go to sleep.

The final level of transition is to nurture your spirit. Lisa says that she loves “including something before bed that aligns with [her] spirit and symbolises what [she wants] to bring more of into [her] life”, so she might do some gratitude journalling or prayer.

Lisa shows it as going a bit like this: World >> Body >> Mind >> Spirit (but she has a pretty diagram rather than words).

So I’ve been focusing on the time I turn off my screens and devices and the things I do in between that time and bedtime. I’ve been trying to get back to a more consistent bedtime of 10.30 and to get to this I worked out I need to turn everything off by 10.00. So my first strategy has been to move shut down time back by 10 minutes every night, which worked well earlier in the week but not so well towards the end of the week. Not to worry. Today is another day.

20190624 Week 25 3

Rather than design a multi-step routine that’s too complicated I decided to set up a few things that I’d do using Lisa’s basic structure as a guide. Some of them, like brushing my teeth, I already do but others are new, like doing some light stretches. I also decided that, since I managed to break my morning meditation habit a few weeks ago and have been unsuccessful in re-establishing it, I’d try and do that in the evenings as part of the “calm your mind” part of the evening routine. I keep forgetting! And finally, a new breathing technique I learned at a yoga workshop that is supposed to help you drop off to sleep easily.

I thought if I only do a few things, once I’ve built the habits up then I can start to add in other things, like reading or gratitude journalling if I need to. Or this might work just fine as it is and not need any more changes. At the moment it’s a work in progress and I will keep trying to stick with it every night.

I worked on the list for the bucket list journal (thing 18) some more and I stuck October’s photos into my 2018 photo journal (thing 11). I also got up and walked every morning this week, although on Wednesday either my alarm didn’t go off or I slept through it and my walk was basically to the end of the street and back (it counts because I actually went out and did it). I’m slowly starting to feel like I’m getting back to normal with my walks and am hoping that’s also a sign that my winter mood might be lifting.

20190625 Week 25 3

Status for week 25

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 9 (3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15)
  • Things I progressed: 5 (1, 6, 11, 18, 19)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress:  3 (2, 16, 17)
  • Things not started: 2 (10, 14)