We have an inbuilt resistance to change, and so need to create “stories,” which force us to change: One of Donald Miller’s insights in A Million Miles in A Thousand Years.
If you have been stymied in a goal for many years, trying to lose weight, for example, then, odds are, if you continue doing what you are doing, you are going to fail. Again.
You have to either
A) Get help, which includes ruthless honesty about why you are failing,
B) Create a story which makes change possible.
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In A Million Miles in A Thousand Years, Donald Miller tells us how he was 150 pounds overweight, and wanted a girl friend. He signs up to walk the spectacular Inca Trail (with the girl he had his eye on, who had been hitherto uninterested) and this, of course, required strenuous training. In the process, he lost 150 pounds.
Many bloggers give themselves a publicly announced goal to help them get fit. Michael Hyatt, Jeff Goins, Mary DeMuth and Leo Babuata of Zen Habits all run marathons, for example.
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And so here is what I have decided. To walk the Tuscany portion of the Via Francigena, an ancient pilgrimage route from Canterbury to Rome, a pilgrimage led by my blogging friend Penelope Swithinbank and her husband Kim, in September. Committing to it with someone I know will motivate me to ensure I am fit enough.
So I have a training schedule, started on Friday 11th Jan, and am gradually building up to be able to walk 10-14 miles a day by September. I am currently walk about 5-6 km most days, and plan to increase it by about .10 km a day.
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How will I find the time? Well, I will pray on the hoof. I listened to the entire Bible last year on my walks, and it was a splendid experience—so much wisdom, so much direction, so much conviction, and restraint of my worst impulses. I will be doing it again this year. I love audiobooks, and plan to zip through them too as I walk.
Apps I am using: I love Runkeeper, which tells me the total time, distance and speed I’ve walked every 5 minutes, encouraging me to go faster. I am also using GetRunning, since I immensely prefer running to walking. It’s a very gentle training programme. I track my increasing fitness through an online multiplayer game I play called Fitocracy.
Habit of the Week.
I am following Leo Babuata’s splendid 52 habits in 52 weeks in which he suggests the 52 changes which are the most important, most leveraged, and will bring the most benefits.
Week 2 is Unprocrastination Week. You devote 5-10 minutes to doing a procrastinated task
You create a trigger—choose to do your new bite-sized habit before an action you already do, and then. So I will do one procrastinated task before my walk.
Here is my list of tasks for next week. I will do one a day, and each will take 10 minutes or less. Amazing how just the thought of getting them done in a week feels so good—Mend coat pocket so things do not fall through; fill up Via Francigena form; reply to Facebook messages; update bio description on Facebook public page; buy trousers; get trousers professionally hemmed; give away pile of trousers which no longer fit. None of these are gargantuan, but doing them will make me feel happier and more organized.
Progress on New Year’s Goals
1) Blogging and Writing
Not a good week—one day away at the Pre-Raphaelite exhibition at the Tate. One day off sick. So no writing done other than blogging.
Still, a great week for blog traffic, due to several links from other blogs, most notably
3 and being interviewed by the Big Bible Project.
I blogged about Babel to Pentecost. How God thwarts man’s desire to be independent of Him at Babel, but declares that in Jesus all things are possible.
And I looked at Pareto’s Principle or the 80/20 rule as a tool for simplifying one’s work and life.
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I have reduced my social media usage this week.
I have just started using an additional app, GetFocusd, a Chrome app to lock me out of Facebook and Twitter after I have spent 35 minutes max on them. Facebook and Twitter are black holes; you click on them out of boredom; see links to blogs and news-sites; click through, realize the article is actually quite boring, sometimes clink on hyperlinks in the article, research, and soon Rescue Time lets you know that you’ve spent a horrifying amount of time via Facebook and Twitter.
|Dec. avg.||Goal: Jan 7||Achv’d||Goal: Jan 14||Achv’d||Goal – year end|
|Writing||7h 10 min||16 hours||6 hrs||16 hours||35h|
|Social media||11h 17 min||10 hours||8 hour||8 hours||3h 30min|
|News, Blogs, Magazines||5h 21 min||4 hours||4 hrs||4 hours||3 hours|
2 Weight and Fitness
Goal: Lose .5 to 2 lbs a week. On track so far, lost 1.2 lb this fortnight.
Healthy eating—Okay, but somewhat sabotaged by my daughter Irene’s passion for baking, and by a visit to the Tate in which my lunch was cheesecake, a brownie, half a slice of flour-free chocolate cake and a packet of crisps. Oops, clean forgot about healthy eating . But didn’t gain weight, thanks to the walking.
|Walking statistics by week|
|Week of Jan 7, walked||29.6 km|
|Week of Jan 14, goal||33.6 km|
|Week of Jan 14, actual|
3 Waking Early
Woke at 7.05 this week. Goal for next week—7.00a .m., though I am nursing a horrendous cold. Goal by year-end 5 a.m.
4 Domestic Order.
Last week’s bookshelf is now tidy. Here’s this week’s bookshelf—one of Roy’s, not mine, I hasten to say.
And once, I’ve tidied a tiny area, I am going to keep it tidy, using Leo Babuata’s Zero Clutter method.
So help me, God.
Are you stuck in any area of your life? Have your thought of creating an inciting incident to get unstuck? What is it?