Whattup ronins. If you guys and gals remember from last year, I spent a great deal of time focusing on 3 core ideas: Simplicity, Building Habits over the course of 30 days, and Smiling. Going into 2015, these ideas still remain an important part of my daily life. A big smile is always needed in a classroom full of wild preschoolers. Habits are arguably the foundation of a purposeful Existence. And keeping it simple reduces the stress caused by overthinking minor things.
As I mentioned in Adjustments though, things got off to a rough start after the first quarter of the year. I really started to see why having habits and rituals were so important. They keep you on track when things in life get hectic. They are one of the few things that can be controlled, when things external to us get out of control. I’ll admit that over the past few months, I’ve had my moments where I’ve spiraled into a slump; losing all motivation to do even the most basic of things. But it was those things I chipped at week after week, that brought back focus. Not to mention these quarterly reviews, which I’ve neglected for most of 2015. So let’s get to it. My core ideas/themes/points of the year are:
1. Writing for Me
Writing has been a vital part of my life for the past two years. But this year I’ve begun to tackle the really big project: writing my first SciFi novel. I’ve learned a lot of things on the way. Writing fiction is quite different from writing very personal non-fiction.
When I wrote my memoir last year, I was writing from entirely my own experiences. There was little world building involved, and the characters were real living people. I would just gather my focus on a certain topic and pour all my emotions through the ink. I didn’t care about plot holes or things not making sense. It didn’t matter because it was real life.
Fast forward to January 2015 and I’m developing story concepts, writing detailed outlines. When I get to actually writing the story a month or two later, it begins to take a life of its own. Especially the characters, who take on their own personalities. Even still, the words I write sometimes just don’t feel like they flow as well as the purely emotional memoir I wrote.
I stall. I take days off. I tell myself,
“This shit sucks.”
And then I go crawl into a hole, wishing this space odyssey could write itself.
But there’s one thing that keeps me wanting to push forward:
I know that this is the direction I want to go in. And I feel it, all throughout my body on some days, that this is the write (hah, pun) path. But we’re talking about progress, right? So let me be honest with myself.
One plus is that I’m spending a lot less time blogging. This only means that I’m spending much more time daily working on my novel.
One negative is that I misjudged the rate at which I would progress. I thought I would be much farther along in my writing at this point in the year.
I know what I need to do. I need to stop judging myself and just write! Being a critic is what the second draft’s for. Woosah…silence, My Inner Critic.
This right here..if I can get my focus up I would be golden. It all kinda went haywire when I started using a smartphone again in April, after not really using one for almost two years. Every notification, text, vibration, sound…I became wired to check it. My concentration would get interrupted instantly. And that lunch break I could have used to write ended up being filled with memes and mindless videos.
Things are turning around though. I can at least say that I’m very mindfully aware of when I’m procrastinating or just wasting extreme amounts of time. Compared to before: a whole day could pass of me websurfing and I wouldn’t even realize it.
The next step in reclaiming my focus: deleting distractions. I’ve tried in the past to just power through a task with laptop on, music on, and phone face up in front of me. But it’s like swimming upstream. Your mind is trying to block out all these things while trying to let that one main task into focus. It’s so much easier to just get rid of all that and give your brain a break. Allow it to focus only on the task at hand.
3. Smile [Positivity]
I’m keeping this theme up once again through 2015. Really, having a positive outlook on things is the only beneficial way to live life. This doesn’t mean that I don’t get pessimistic sometimes. Or that I turn a blind eye to “reality”. I’m just getting better at not allowing negativity to control me.
It’s quite difficult to judge my progress on such a subjective concept. Like what does it mean to be a truly positive person? So I’ve begun to use external factors to measure. And this year I noticed something. Almost weekly I would get comments from peers, coworkers, etc. about how chill my attitude was. Even if everything was going crazy at work, even if my preschoolers still couldn’t correctly memorize their lines after the 100th play rehearsal, I wouldn’t let that negative energy get to me. People noticed my calm under pressure and didn’t take it as me being lazy or laidback, but as a positive aspect of my personality.
So things are going well in 2015. I’ve stepped away from developing micro-habits (things that can be done consistently in short periods of time), and directed my attention towards bigger long-term achievements. I haven’t entirely forgot about micro-habits though. This summer vacation I started doing a 10-minute ab workout, 3 times a week. I’m only a week in, but I gotta feeling I’ll have no problem keeping this up once I return to work. Feel the burn!
Until next time ronins, remember it’s not all about the big gains, or the big breaks. The little things add up over time; like molecules of water become tsunamis to be reckoned with. Stay focused on your path. Because your day will come. Our day will come. And it will be because we made it happen.
P.S. Just got this instagram thing so you can catch plenty more flicks of Japan there! Let’s follow each other! @ec_quasar