Don’t Break the Chain

Every time I have been without a hard and fast schedule I have had the worst time waking up at a reasonable hour. I like mornings, but when I don’t have a reason to get up I’ll sleep til noon if I’m not careful.

I hate doing that though. I feel like the day is wasted and I spend the rest of my time playing catch up. I wind up staying up late to try and get things done, but it only serves to continue the cycle.

I’ve tried willing myself up and setting my alarm across the room. No matter what trick I tried, I never had success until recently.

Don’t break the chain is essentially a game of chicken I’m playing with myself. It’s a challenge to do the same thing every day without skipping – breaking the chain – with no reward other than a huge sense of accomplishment. This could easily work with anything you want to get into the habit of doing every day. For me, it’s getting up early.

My goal is to go 21 days straight waking up before 9am. I’ll admit that this game isn’t the only thing that helps. I also have friends checking up on me though the week and I’m using, a web-based sleep calculator to help me wake up and go to sleep within a reasonable rhythm, but so far this is the best motivation yet.

I’m loving this so far. It’s been a week and even within that I’ve broken it, but somehow this method makes it easy to bounce back. I look forward to using this method to create new habits and create a ritual out of routine.

How do you motivate yourself?


One Little Word: Planning Freedom

Like I mentioned in my last post about my word for the year, I’ve split the year into four so that I will be working on focused goals over the period of three months. I’ve already determined how I want to frame each season, even if I haven’t quite figured out all the details how these frames lead to goals.

Planning Freedom

January to March is about Planning Freedom. Not only will I be spending a lot of time in January planning my larger goals for the year and how to achieve them, but some of my goals have to do with planning as well. I’m breaking it into three main goals that I’d like to acomplish by the end of March.

Finding employment

Obviously it would be ideal if I am able to find an industry job within this time, and I am hopeful about doing so, but I’m also aware that it could take longer than this. Regardless, I would like to have some type of either full time or part time employment by March. If not an industry job, then certainly a part time job to give myself some structure while I spend more time searching.

Blog Re-Vap

This is something I’ve been meaning to do for a while, and since I don’t have a hard schedule right now, this is an ideal time to focus on it. I want to get a new layout, either by purchasing one and installing it myself, or through a designer. I especially want to get my own domain name and transfer everything to my own .com space.

Creating and Sticking to Good Habits

Another long-time goal of mine that I’ve already started to implement. I’d like to get some sort of rhythm going that can easily be continued once I’ve found something full time. Getting up on time, incorporating exercise and movement into my week, and cleaning my apartment more regularly.


Hopefully, by working on these thing through the coming months I’ll be able to come back at the end of March and show off a handful of successes. I’m excited to be putting these things down on paper and solidly defining what I want to work on.

What are you working on this month?

The DONE List

Currently, I am unemployed and am making up my own schedule. Because I’m doing a lot of the same thing every day, it’s sometimes frustrating to get to the end of the day and not be sure how much I’ve actually accomplished.

With the start of the new year I’ve added a new ritual to my nightly routine. In the evenings before I go to bed I make a list of all the things I’ve accomplished during the day. Sometimes it’s a series of small victories. Things like doing the dishes that have been in the sink for a few days or catching up on the new season of Downton Abbey. Sometimes I’m listing big accomplishments like going for a job interview or meeting all the fitness goals on my new fitbit.

Big and small, all the day’s accomplishments are ranked equally on The DONE List. And yes, I write DONE in all caps when I write the list out in my journal underneath the morning’s entry. The list itself is a small thing, but I’ve found it to be extremely helpful to my sense of productivity.

It’s also a great record of what got done on what day. If I forget to make a not otherwise of when I sent in that application or weather I remembered to call my mom, I can check back and be reminded of when things got done. Speaking of, I should probably call my mom sometime today… Then I’ll get to put it on the list tonight.

This Will Be: September 2013


September is my favorite month. Probably because it’s my birthday month. And TV premiere month. And Emmy month. And the beginning of school month. And the beginning of jacket weather (well, in normal climates). Gah, I just love September so much.

Things that will happen this month include a few things that were teed up in August that will come full circle in September. In September I will become a member of the church I’ve been going to. I will be starting my final semester in college, despite being hundreds of miles away from the college I’ll be attending. And of course, this month, I’ll be going on a camping trip that I am in the process of planning.

I constantly seem to be forgetting my word for the year, fearless. I realize that what I need to do is set an even more specific goal each month within the larger goal for the year. September will be to set fearlessness. That sounds a little bit odd, but looking at what I want for this month my goals seem to mostly be to set more goals. Is that silly? Maybe.

But it’s also really timely for me. The beginning of the school year always seemed like a more logical time for me to set goals then at the beginning of the calendar year. Coupled with my birthday, setting goals is the perfect goal for me this month. A month of goal setting and routine making.

Some routine setting goals include washing the dishes, making my bed, and doing quiet time every day. I’d like to go to the library once a week. Coincidentally, DVDs can be checked out for only a week, so if I get one DVD every time I’ll be all set to come in every week. I will also have a lot of scheduling to do once I get my syllabus’ for my classes (syllabi?).

I am also going to spend some time out of the next two weeks coming up with goals for being 22. It seems that the new year is the time to set specific goals for the year, and my birthday is a time to set intentions for the year. I’ll use this time as a way to check in with myself on my calendar year goals as well as ponder what I’ll be doing with myself a year from now.

What are your plans for September?  Any big goals you’re got in mind for the month?

Halfway Mark

I never really cared much about my half birthday until a few years ago when my friend and I decided that we were internally 7 and 5 respectively and we turned the next age on our half birthdays.  That said, I am “turning” 8 this year, specifically  last Wednesday was my half birthday.

That being said, halfway is a great place to check in with my goals for 21, the things I thought of when I turned 21 that I wanted to do during the year.  From this post, my goals were:

  • being intentional about my choices
  • establishing a habit of devotionals
  • scheduling time to get things done
  • routines for… health, beauty, photography, and blogging

How’s that for vague and ambiguous?  I’ll start with the things that I’ve done.  I’ve done very well with establishing a habit of devotions.  While I don’t know I would claim to have a routine for blogging, I have been keeping up with it quite well.  Meanwhile, photography has majorly stalled.  There has been no movement on beauty routines and any movement made on health over winter break has come to a screeching halt upon moving to Los Angeles.  I will claim to have been pretty good at scheduling over the fall semester, but that took a nose dive over the break.

As to “intentional choices”, the most ambiguous of them all, I’m really not sure how to respond to it.  I made the choice to come out to LA to do this program, something I didn’t foresee last September at all.  I spent a lot of time praying about it, and especially praying about where my life will go after moving.  Will I stay here or go back to Chicago?  As I’ve said multiple times through this transition, I have a lot of options and none of them suck (at least from my perspective).

But does praying over a decision make it “intentional”?  I’m not sure.  What about other choices I’ve made?  Since September I’ve gone to industry events in Chicago and LA.  I’ve made many knitted things and spent time with friends and family near and far.  I’ve gone home for Thanksgiving, and then spent two and a half months living at home.  I’ve started and finished many a television series.  I’ve planned and plotted a few of my own TV shows (both in reality and in the hypothetical).  What makes any of these things intentional?

The think that seems to be missing from this intention equation is what the intention should be leading toward.  It’s hard to have intent without a goal set in that intention.  So what was my goal in setting this intention last September?  Honestly, I’m not sure there was one, and I’m not sure what I would add to it now.  In intend to make the most out of the opportunities that have been given me, but that’s still not measurable.

Perhaps the best way to go about it is to say that instead of making my choices with “intention” whatever that means, I want to consult God when making be decisions.  That is measurable and solid.  With changing to that as a goal, I can say that I have done that so far this year, and I hope to continue doing it.

I don’t know what opportunities will be available to me in these next six months, but I know that whatever choices I make I want them to reflect God’s plan for me.  He has a perfect plan for my life and He will tell me what to do next.  I don’t know where it will lead, but I know He’s got this.

And who am I to mess with God’s plans?  Nobody, that’s who.

My Alternative Life

When things get stressful I look for a way out.  I turn an idea into a not-very-well-thought-out plan to escape my life.  I’ve never acted on any of these, and doubt that I will in the foreseeable future, but here are some of the plans I’ve come up with to escape my life.

  • Backpack the Adirondack trail from start to finish.  (When living on the east coast)
  • Drop out of school and go to culinary school.  (Reoccurring throughout my first year of college, especially around finals and when unfinished projects were due the next day)
  • Just find some younger politician and start working as their secretary.  (Because one of my role models in life is Donna Moss of The West Wing)
  • Become a nanny in San Francisco.  (Because I’m good with kids and I freaking love that city so much)
  • Move to [Cambodia, Tokyo, India, or Morocco] and blog about it.  (Mostly sophomore year, especially around the time of Freq Out, but also through last semester)
  • Buy a live-in van and become a climbing bum.  Blog about it.  (A dream in high school that returned after climbing in Colorado)
  • Become a ride operator at Disneyland.  (Mostly while visiting there)
  • Sleep on my friend’s couch in Berlin and hide from their immigration agents by becoming a perfect German girl.  (After reading about What Moves You reunions all over Germany)
  • Drop out and go to Eurythmy school.  (A few months ago, after going to a Eurythmy performance)
  • Or just do Waldorf Teacher Training and hope for the best.  (In the same vein as above)
  • Ride the Trans-Siberian Railroad from end to end.  (Always)
  • Just move to LA and start working.  Do I really need a degree? (Still considering this one)

These day dreams are all a form of escapism.  I think of all the things I could be doing that would be more fun than writing an essay or a script.  Of all the places I would rather be than in my bedroom facing a mountain of homework.

I consider it a tribute to my awesome friends and family that none of these have ever actually come into being.  Whenever I start to think more seriously about one, someone will drag me back to the present.  My friends remind me of all the good things in my life.  My family encourages me to stick it out when school gets tough.  And I can’t thank them enough.


I’ve been thinking lately about morning routines.  I spent  too much time with this site, reading all the routines of celebrities.  Trying to get a sense for what I want in the morning and how I want my day to go.

My routine has become one of rolling out of bed at 7 or 7:30 to sit at my desk and journal.  I have my quite time in the morning and then get dressed with clothes set out the night before.  I have a breakfast that changes often.  Nutella toast, PB&J on an English muffin, eggs, or cereal.  Often with fruit.  Always with tea.  I have a single serve tea pot that I adore, but I’ll sometimes make just a mug.

When I’m living with my parents as I am now I read the San Francisco Chronicle or The New York Times while I eat.  But just the arts sections.  Style, travel, home, food.  Sometimes I’ll read the Business section if there’s a technology article that catches my eye.  When I’m living on my own I don’t subscribe to the newspaper, so I’ll power up my computer and try to make a bit of a dent in my Google Reader (I have around 30 new posts to read every day).

The whole thing probably takes about an hour and a half.  Maybe a bit more.  But I haven’t tried it with on a deadline before.  When I was having to leave the house at 8am I would try and get up at 7.  It was different then, but I’m not sure how.  Right now I have nowhere to go, nothing to get to at a specific time, so I’m not sure how it will change when I have to be in class by 9am.

When I’m traveling or having an appointment, the whole routine seems to go out the window.  I’m too shy in front of others to journal and I’ll just eat whatever is put in front of me when I’m staying with someone.  If I go climbing in the morning and leave early, I’m never able to wake up early enough to get through the whole routine.  The quiet time gets cut off or I rush through breakfast.

What is your morning routine?  I’m fascinated with the differences in people’s habits, so I really am curious.  How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?