So you’re going along just fine with your new habit – you even made it through the doldrums! And then your schedule shifts. There’s a trip, or a special occasion, an illness, or a really really busy day.
What do you do? Do you go ahead and skip a day? If you do skip a day, does your silly little lizard tell you you have to start over, like life is some game of Candyland or Chutes and Ladders? Does your mind want you to go back to “go” – and not give you any credit for what you’ve done so far? Does your mind make it mean that you’re a failure – does it say, “See? I told you you wouldn’t be able to pull this off.”
Well, if you do find yourself skipping a day, remember that you don’t need to believe any of that ridiculousness tossed out by your mind. And that’s what it is. It’s not true and it’s not helpful. Remind yourself of that.
And maybe you don’t have to skip a day. Maybe you do the thing you’ve been working on at the end of the day. Maybe you break it into a bunch of pieces. Maybe you shift things slightly, but not all the way back to the way they were before you started your great new habit.
I’m hosting a retreat this weekend – a beautiful getaway for a small group of women seeking clarity and connection. I’ve been busy today getting ready, and I’ll be away from home for the next three days. So I’ve been thinking about how I’m going to stick with my routines. 30 minutes of drawing and 10 minutes of silent time in nature will be no problem – they’re practically built into the retreat. I’ll skip my ten minutes on the paper maintenance since I’ll be away, and maybe add a few minutes on to paper management in the coming week. Having a plan for a shift in routine really helps!
Today I let my inner 8-year-old come out and I just played with colors. I didn’t want to think about drawing, or value, or tone. I just doodled. Remember how soothing it was to decorate your notebooks in school? That’s how today felt. Drawing hundreds of hearts over and over for about 15 minutes was almost like repeating a mantra. Then I filled a page with colorful geometric shapes, trying to make it a game, making up rules for what the next shape or color or size would be, without focus on balance or composition. Just pure play. They look coolish when I keep them really small.
Grass time happened really late in the day today. I had a lot of errands to run and coaching appointments this morning. The gift of enjoying grass time late, still with a loyal cat by my side, was noticing the beautiful sky at sunset. I’ve learned to ignore the vast number of power lines and the giant transformer and power pole when I look at the sky — the camera has more difficulty editing it out. See if you can focus on the sunset instead of the electrical paraphernalia.
Keep paying attention to the thoughts you have, especially if you skip a day. Remember, you don’t have to believe them. Just start again tomorrow. Don’t let your mind make a federal case out of it. Really. It’s kind of like the sky and the powerlines. Which one do you want to focus on?