Perseverance *or* Reading Even Though That Last Drink Made Me Cross-Eyed

21 09 2010

Current Habit: Reading, day 9

Sophie: I’m not going to lie, I enjoy my evening glass(es) of wine.  Often enough, after a stressful day of work, it’s the first thing I do when I walk in the door.  Deryn and I can spend hours talking, cooking dinner, watching TV and drinking wine before we realize that A) it’s suddenly really late, and B) we’re drunk.  Now normally this doesn’t pose much of an issue, as we just drink a lot of water and pass out for a good night’s sleep, but now that we have ‘commitments’, it’s a slightly different story…

This brings us to last Friday – after a nice happy hour at Texas Roadhouse and additional wine while (I think?) watching an ‘extremely riveting’ Lifetime movie, 12:45 a.m. crept up on us without warning.  We were awfully proud of having really stuck to our guns during the first week of this blog and knew that regardless how much we drank, and how tired we were, we had to soldier on and read for 30 minutes. I suppose this would be a good time to introduce to our readers that I, Sophie Leanne, can, in fact, drink like a fish.  And Deryn, in fact, cannot.  Now this is probably not the healthiest roommate situation since I tend to egg her on, but hey, red wine is good for your heart, right?  So despite my guilt, I sent poor drunken Deryn off to bed to read for 30 minutes.  And I know she’s going to do it, because if she didn’t, I would know :).  And she’s a really bad liar.  It was a test of my willpower, and though I certainly didn’t read as many pages as I normally can in that amount of time – and I checked the clock every 5 minutes – I felt good about it when I was done.

Deryn: Poor, drunken Deryn indeed.  I remember (vaguely) getting all cuddled in bed with my pillows, blankets, stuffed animal and just being so happy to go to sleep.  And then becoming so angry that I still had to read.  The sooner I got it over with, the better.  I quickly decided to sit up to grab my book. For anyone trying this experiment at home, I do suggest not sitting up quite so fast after drinking at Sophie’s pace.    The words ran together a bit, I was blinking a bit longer than was really necessary and I know that my bed wasn’t actually moving no matter how much it seemed to.  Some people run marathons, others climb mountains, but for me, on that night, 30 minutes was my marathon to the top of Everest.  Then, it happened… 30 minutes of reading and sweet, blissful sleep.

Sophie: In conclusion, I’m realizing now that my current lifestyle has to change in order to incorporate these new habits that I really want to be a part of my daily life.  It’s a healthy change, but I see now that it’s not going to be easy.  I mean, if reading for 30 minutes can cause this kind of chaos, who knows what changes are yet to come?  SO lesson learned, and tonight I am drinking WHILE I read, not before 🙂 Just kidding, kind of…

P.S. Beginning yesterday, we are now reading for ONE HOUR each day instead of 30 minutes.  Considering it’s prime-time premier week and all, we obviously didn’t think ahead with the whole scheduling thing, but we’re squeezing it in 🙂

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Accountability *or* I Really Friggin’ Don’t Wanna Do This Tonight

19 09 2010

Current Habit: Reading, day 7

Deryn: This has been a rough few days in the Habitual Me arena.  Sophie has stayed with Boyfriend two nights this week and it was my responsibility to keep myself accountable for maintaining my reading.  There hasn’t been anyone to tell me, “Ok! It’s time to go read!”  Even when it’s been me instigating the reading time, having someone else here just acknowledging that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing is helpful.  The nights where I’m here alone bring up the thought, “Who would know?”  I have been staring at my computer screen for 6 hours trying to get caught up on a work project that I am being held completely accountable for.  This work project is my main focus, my idea, my professional reputation within the company.  The idea of making my eyes focus on anything besides the inside of my eyelids is enough to make me angry.  Then I hear Sophie’s voice in my head saying, “But, you would know…”  Yes, I would know.  And that is why I turned off the tv and went to read for my 30 minutes.  I didn’t want to, but I did it.  So there.





Communication and Relationships *or* Telling the Boyfriend

17 09 2010

Current Habit: Reading, day 5

Sophie: So, as posted in my bio, it should be known that I am private to a comical extent.  Deryn thinks this is hilarious, as apparently other people don’t do it to this extreme.  The first time the two of us hung out alone (we met through mutual friends) was on the way to a roller derby bout.  Neither of us had watched a derby bout before and were excited about the idea of doing something new.  This led to a whole conversation about “having adventures”, keeping life exciting and not becoming “Empty Shell People” – deep stuff for a first interaction :).  Because of the ease of conversation with her, I opened up pretty quickly – but to be honest, this is stuff I haven’t even told my boyfriend of 4 1/2 years.  I was surprised to discover THIS IS NOT NORMAL!!  At the time, it was really funny, but after the fact I was a bit concerned for the state of my relationship.  This sets a good foundation for the topic of this post – introducing Habitual Me to Boyfriend.

When Deryn and I first decided to move forward with this idea, she jokingly asked “So….how long before you tell Boyfriend about the blog?” umm….when he realizes I’ve made an awful lot of drastic changes recently?  I took this as a bit of a self-challenge, and decided I was going to *gasp* tell boyfriend *doublegasp* before we even started the blog…  After all, I am trying to work on my communication skills.  So about a week later (yes it took me that long to work up to it) I nervously sat at a mexican restaurant across the dinner table from the man I’ve shared my time with for so long, preparing every word I was about to say…”So, umm, Deryn and I were talking the other night….and apparently I don’t tell you things, and I’m sorry for that” gee, how eloquent.  But he expressed appreciation, and I proceeded to tell him about the blog.  It couldn’t have been more awkward on my part, and I think that made it awkward for him – but at least it’s progress!!

When it came time to actually start our habits (the first being reading every day) of course my concern went to – what will I do on the nights I spend at his house?  I work with him – out of his house – and spend about every other night at his place, so I will need to be doing a lot of these things there.  This means A) My habits will not be enforced by doing them in the same environment every day (which apparently helps reinforce them), B) I’m really going to need to prepare ahead of time what I will need to stick to this commitment and C) I’m going to have to tell Boyfriend about every one of these habits…. I think I’m up to the challenge.  The first habit is simple enough – I just need to read for 30 minutes a day.  As Boyfriend sat on his couch playing video games, I picked up my book and began to read…and Boyfriend began to talk.  Reading and listening don’t generally happen at the same time. Coincidentally, at the same time I was reading in my book (“Brain Rules”) about how your brain cannot multitask and wastes so much time switching from one task to another and back…so I explained to Boyfriend the importance of sticking to these habits that I value.  I was shocked at what happened next…

…he said “OK, thanks for letting me know” and continued playing his game.  Wow, that was easy..  So communication isn’t so bad, and keeping things completely private isn’t that great.  Day 2 and this is already improving my life in unexpected ways.





Introduction *or* A Journey of a Thousand Miles and All That Stuff

13 09 2010

SOPHIE: I was lying in bed one night thinking about the changes I would like to make in my life.  I’ve been in a relationship for a REALLY long time (4 ½ years) and, through no fault of my boyfriend, have become bored and unhappy.  I realize that this has nothing to do with us, and more to do with my own satisfaction with who I am at this point in my life.  I’ve always wished I were ‘fit’, ‘classy’, or just really talented at something.

Somewhere in this thought process I was reminded of something I once heard – It takes 2 weeks to establish a habit.  I did a little research and found that it’s actually 3 weeks, and it’s not just a saying – it’s actually supported by a theory called Psycho-Cybernetics.  If it really takes 3 weeks to create a habit, then in one year I could create 17 habits!  I could really be whoever I choose with 17 changes.  I thought to myself “How awesome would it be to really go through with that; to take one year, figure out everything I want to be, and just do what it takes to get there?”

And so begun the list of characteristics I wanted to embody.

I’m a very private person (apparently to a comical extent) so I kept this to myself for a little while before running the idea by the one person I tell all my ridiculous inner-dialogue to – my roommate, Deryn.

DERYN: When Sophie first came to me with the idea for Habitual Me, I was enthralled.  We have had so many conversations about how people in our lives “surrender” to life rather than embracing it.  Some of our friends are getting married, having children and/or starting careers, but many seem to be resigned to a life that was assigned to them.  Countless times, Sophie and I had come to the conclusion that we would never become “Empty Shell People” – an idea from “Under the Tuscan Sun” that we had discussed when we were first getting to know each other.  An Empty Shell Person is someone who floats through life with no passion or excitement.  Empty Shell People do what they think is expected of them and resign themselves to whatever life just happens to plop in their laps.

Habitual Me, more than anything, is about taking control over my life during a time when it feels like I have very little power.  I recently realized that if I don’t make a change soon, then I’d be in danger of becoming a dreaded Empty Shell Person.  I go to my job because I can’t find one that pays any better.  I live a very specific (i.e., limited) lifestyle because my budget can’t handle anything else.  My student loans and current salary determine how often I buy new clothes, if I can go to my friend’s birthday party at that restaurant, if I can drive to the far side of town to run a particular errand.

The idea of Habitual Me is so appealing because it gives me the power back.  I now get to choose who I am as a person in a way that will (hopefully) stick.  In one year, I get to be the person I choose.  There are many things that I don’t know about myself: What my career path will be, What I’m looking for (if anything at all) in a long-term relationship, What my 5 year plan is, What my life has in store for me in the next year, etc.  I do know the type of person I want to be, the kind of coworker and employee I’d like to be seen as, the kind of daughter and sister I want to be, and how I want my nieces to think of me.

BOTH: So here we go!

Habitual Me is based on the theory that it takes 21 days to create a new habit (or break an old one).  21 days is a conceivable amount of time to commit to one thing, rather than just arbitrarily deciding “I’m going to be a different person in a year!” with no real plan mapped out.  We thought the best way for us to do this was to work backwards.

With these thoughts in mind, we (Sophie and Deryn) are beginning a one-year quest to become the people we’ve always wanted to be.  We started by brainstorming personality characteristics we admire in other people such as ‘classy’, ‘musical’, ‘generous’, ‘well-read’ etc.  Then, we came up with “habits” that correspond with these characteristics.  For example, a ‘fit’ woman – to us – exercises, meditates and eats healthy.  Now that we have a complete list of the 17 habits we will incorporate into our daily lives over the next year (21 days at a time) we can start our journey!  Ideally, we will continue with each habit after the designated 21 days end, because – after all – that’s the point!

For our complete list, see the “About Habitual Me” page.

So it’s officially day 1, and our FIRST HABIT is reading at least 30 minutes a day during week one, and at least an hour a day during weeks 2-3 in order to become well-read.  And we are both already wanting to watch T.V. instead :).  Time to suck it up and get things off on the right foot.

Right now Sophie is reading Brain Rules by John Medina

and

Deryn is reading Quarterlife Crisis by Alexandra Robbins and Abby Wilner








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