Habits for the New Year
I’ve picked up a few habits over the past few years and I figured I would write about them for my January post. Some of these things are just ways to push my self defeating habits out of the way. Others are to recall and try to get better information that I can collect with minimal effort over the weeks.
I’ve done two prompts over the past year as way to find out what are my biggest sources of joy and happiness and which things are causing me distress. The joys are just a nice way to visualize all the happy things in the year. The sad ones are used to identify if there are things I can change easily and then figure out plans for the ones that might be harder to change.
It’s just two prompts once a week:
What’s something this week that brought you great joy?
What’s something that made you unhappy this week?
Note that it’s not something like the “best” moment. Just something that brought you great joy. I do this on Sundays so there’s probably some recency bias but I like the rhythm of it and I’m fine with that.
So here some examples from 2019:
– I loved Mel’s Christmas present for me. The desktop pictures of me and Ryo.
– Seeing a lion hunt down a zebra (well failed)
– I had a really good time in the Edison Escape Room
– I really enjoyed a good romantic comedy in the theater, Babysplitters. It was a good movie
– I really enjoyed playing around with Mel all week, we’ll just joke around and have an amazing time. Things like making jokes and being silly in the TSA line is great
The unhappy ones are a bit more personal and have names and other people and while I’m happy to share in person it would be a bit too much to share online. But effectively they revolve around things either I’m doing that make me unhappy or things others are doing that are making me unhappy. I planned a lot of a trip this year and realized while I think I was fine with that before, I’m tired of doing that and it was my “unhappy” thing many weeks during the trip planning process. I 100% know that I didn’t used to mind planning but lately I guess I’ve shifted that.
Long ago I used to not take any photos or videos of anything. I was big on living “in the moment”. Which I think is great. But then I realized that I had a lot of trouble visualizing things and remembering things. The journal helped with the written word but I’m a very visual person and I realized (this is obvious to others) that I’ll need pictures/videos to get me to remember. So to supplment my diaries I added 1Second Video.
If you haven’t heard about it, it’s an app that basically lets you collect 1 second of video everyday and create compilations. You’re supposed to do it for a year but that’s way too long so I do it every month because 1) It’s easier to digest and remember 2) I lost all my clips b/c of an 1Second App Update so i’m overly cautious). The videos are nice and they’re great for recalling the year even though many of them are just me watching Netflix.
Some fun things to know about this though:
– My months look complete but honestly if you forget a few days it’s not the end of the world
– I turn on the “live photos” feature on iOS to allow myself to include any photos I took to include 1seconds. This is SUPER CLUTCH because I totally forget about it but the live photos don’t have the same frame rate as the videos but they work pretty well.
– If you’re on an older iPhone or device your low light sensor sucks. I have lost many clips just because it was too dark. This is probably my #1 reason to upgrade my iPhone device
I tried doing “3 things you’re grateful” at the end of the day but I honestly don’t really think too much into it and found it’s not as useful. The idea behind this was that you’re supposed to be grateful and recall things at the end of the day
The big one I’ve been doing for a has been journaling. Journaling is fucking great. I do it at the end of the day by sending myself an email everyday around 9pm. I’m expected to write in in by end of the day or the next morning. I also keep a file around my laptop so I can do journaling during the day if I feel like or am having a busy day. I’ll also keep things in the notes app if I’m traveling around and don’t have access to a real keyboard.
The journaling has been great because I mostly keep my journal as two things:
- A source of what happened that day.
- A medium to write about my day or thoughts
On “what happened that day”: Sometimes small things are big things but just collecting what I deem important is interesting. I don’t try to force myself to remember anything though I have learned to use complete names when I can otherwise I don’t know which Jennifer I’m talking about. You can usually infer from context but it’s helpful. Otherwise I do nothing special about this because I think it’s important to see what I write about changes.
The writing about my day or thought is much more rare but it’s usually a vessel to think about what happened that day and write it out in detail and think about what happened. Just writing out is a solid exercise and thinking back on it is helpful. I do this especially with work interactions since it occurs on a regular basis and has it’s own challenges in working on a team.
Friend Reach Out
One thing I’m awful at is reaching out to friends. Out of sight out of mind is the saying but over the past 2 years I’ve learned that there are many friends who even after it’s been a while I can get just back in the rhythm quickly. I decided to just make a list of everyone who I believe that friendship requirement to be true.
So I took this list and put up a calendar of every week since November 2019 to November 2020 and made a randomizaer function.
The way I made this sheet if you wanted is just to have an excel spreadsheet and use the function like
=index($A$2:A,randbetween(1,counta($A$2:A))). You’ll have to copy and paste the values otherwise the randomizer will recompute each time you open the sheet. If you want things a bit more random you can do that too.