I’m trying to create a habit out of daily writing. I’ve been trying to do that by having one simple rule: Write 50 words before lunch.
What I find myself doing though is squeezing my writing in at the last minute because I exercise right before lunch. I’m having to stop writing just as I get on a roll.
That’s a problem, because taking advantage of the natural urge to keep going past the basic requirement you’ve set for yourself is supposed to be one of the major ways mini habits benefit you—getting yourself started with willpower and taking advantage of momentum. This happens to me almost daily with my exercise. There have been many days where I’ve told myself I’m just going to do a few minutes, and yet I almost always end up sticking it out for at least 30.
That’s what I want to see happening with the writing. But because of the timing of it, that can’t happen without me making a conscious decision to mess up my working-really-well exercise and lunch routine. I know I could just get started sooner, but … if it was as easy as that, I would have already been getting started earlier. I’m a natural procrastinator, and even using willpower doesn’t change that. My deadline is lunch, and my subconscious has already decided it’ll be done by the deadline but not a moment sooner.
So, starting tomorrow, my one simple rule will change: Write 50 words by 10 a.m.
I don’t like it quite as much, because that’s a hard deadline. The reason lunch works for me is because I can just push lunch back by however many minutes necessary to make sure I get my words in beforehand. Hard deadlines are, well, hard.
But I want to get started earlier in the mornings and I just don’t know of any other way at the moment to encourage that habit, so this is what I’m going to try.