We are approaching the completion of the first quarter of this year. For the sake of brevity we’ll call it winter but we all know “winter” is not yet finished with us.
I’m trying to be better about the practice of checking in on my progress with my word of the year, Begin. This is just as much a practice in keeping myself accountable as it is a way to keep the word top of mind.
And as I mentioned before, the ritual of tracking what you have done is a way to encourage forward progress. Particularly when I am feeling stuck as to where to begin.
Here are some things I have begun in the first quarter…
Washing my face every night. Are you laughing? You should be. It’s ridiculous that in my mid thirties this is not a regular habit for me. But this is not about shaming. This is about beginning. So after falling into a deep dive in the podcast Forever35 (more on this another time,) I am reviving the habit, and for whatever reason, it is sticking. I have more thoughts on this practice but I’ll save that for another time. What I have learned from this new ritual is it is never too late to start a good habit in life. Leave the shame behind, and just begin.
Snowshoeing and Skiing. Both activities are not brand new for me but years of living in warm climates and then carrying a baby during last year’s winter has put me back into the “beginner” category. What if I forgot how to do it? What if I fall? What if I look ridiculous? All thoughts that circled my mind. But the confluence of open Saturday mornings, beautiful weather, and a new pair of snowshoes as an early birthday gift, I set out as a beginner again. It was exhillarating. Did I remember how to do it? With each step and glide, my confidence returned. Did I fall? Nope. Not this time anyway. Did I look ridicluous? If I did, does it matter? Do I really believe anyone out there on the course cared enough about my abilities? And more importantly, did it feel good? You bet. Moving my body again in a way that is so different from the walks and runs I am familiar with is an intoxicating feeling. We need these reminders that our bodies are stronger than we think. And being a beginner, again, is a forgiving place to be.
Beginning and putting down lots of books. I sat down to update my Goodreads account as a way to track my reading progress. Four books? In 3 months? Only 4 books? How is that possible. I feel like I have read so much more than just 4 books. And yet, as I looked back, I did begin many books, but finished few. What I am doing more of is putting a book aside when it isn’t motivating me. So yes, I have read many books on a variety of topics. But I am also teaching myself that if the book is not keeping my attention after 50-75 pages, then it is not the right book at this time. This is ok. Beginning is not always about finishing. But to find what I enjoy I must first begin.
Putting my phone on Airplane Mode in the evening. This is a new activity I am beginning to practice. Maybe it was the screen time numbers that the Iphone so kindly reports now. Maybe it was the talk of Digital Minimalism in various realms (so excited to read this book.) Or perhaps it was what happens naturally when adding in a new bedtime face ritual and a desire to increase my Have Read book list. Whatever the catalyst, I felt compelled to help myself at the end of the day by shutting down the temptation of the scrolling suck. I still feel like I can continue to examine my phone time addiction. But I feel like this was an example where a small step can be the best first step.
My four lessons learned in Winter:
- It is never too late to begin a new habit. Leave the shame behind and just begin.
- Being a beginner again is a forgiving place to be.
- You don’t always have to finish what you start, but to find what I enjoy I must first begin.
- Sometimes a small step is the best first step.
What lessons await me in Spring? I am eager to find out. Here are a few things I hope to begin in the next few months...
- Read more books. Plain and simple.
- Continue momentum with cleaning out the closets and drawers of dispair by going for the heavy hitters.
- Planning and *all fingers tightly crossed* beginning my first real time vegetable plot!
- Lean into the feeling of finding my physical strength again by getting in more runs, as well as more regular strength training, a.k.a. oh hello there abs.
As I finish this sentence I can hear the birds singing a tune that I can only hope is a cry of victory for surviving another winter. Let the spring time fun begin!