Today was my third consecutive of getting my 3.5 mile walk in. My thighs and butt are tight and not in a good way right now. But, I keep going. I read a small book called Change Almost Anything in 21 days several years ago. There were several things I liked about it. Most importantly was the “almost”. It grounded the book in a kind of reality that some things might be a little more complicated and take longer, for example, extracting yourself from an abusive relationship. It did revolve around affirmations which have for some a flaky connotation. Okay for that group, let’s call it neurolinguistic programming or neuro-linguistic depending on the site. Apparently, other research seems to back up the fact that 21, and here’s the key, CONSECUTIVE days are required to begin making a new good habit or breaking a bad habit. Call them what you want, affirmations work! Make them positive. In the statement, I will not eat junk food, your brain hears only the “eat junk food” part. A better alternative might be “I eat healthy foods.” And no, you don’t have to stand in front of the mirror like a Saturday Night Live sketch. I would recommend reciting them or writing them at least 10 times every morning, or evening if you are a vampire, before you get out of bed
So three down, eighteen to go.
For writers, it is about developing the habit of writing. You don’t have to work on your manuscript every day, it could be your blog or a short story or the outline of another novel or a journal of childhood memories, but write everyday for 21 days. Sorry I don’t think grocery or to-do lists count.
I think that whether it is exercise or writing or not smoking, the body develops a kind of muscle memory. It expects to follow a pattern of motions or, in the case of quitting smoking, to forget the pattern.
So I have two affirmations going: I write everyday and I exercise everyday.
Walking has been the helpful to me both physically, psychologically (stress) and creatively. When I set out on my walks over the last few days, I have set a goal of thinking about my novella project, Ogham Court, at the forefront of my mind. It is not the only thing that is on my mind, but I want it at the top of the list. Ogham Court began as a short story with three primary characters, so when I decided to expand it I knew I needed to enlarge the world and populate it with more characters. I don’t know that there will be as many vampires, werewolves and shapeshifters as there are in Dark Dealings, but given that Devlin, my main male protagonist has a secret past that involves Liam from Dark Dealings there may be secrets he hasn’t told me yet. Then there is Maggie and her brother Padraig. Padraig on today’s walk began to reveal himself as more than just the helpful younger brother.
So my 18 remaining days in 21 day quest to get back on track ends July 1. What 21 day change will you commit to on this blog site? Say it “outloud” so that others know. It is too easy to cheat if it’s just in your head. Then check in every couple of days.
Here’s the kicker, if you miss a day, you have to reset the clock and start the 21 day count all over again. So hang in there!