Traditionally at the start of each year, I reflect on what I would like to accomplish and break that into goals. I go through those goals each month to lay out what pieces will get done, and go through that list weekly, allotting tasks to each day. It’s effective for achievement, but it’s exhausting, and truthfully,there hasn’t been much transformation. Some things have turned into habits, but the habits I’ve most developed are checking my tasks tab and maintaining anxiety over not doing more each day. For 2012, I needed a more life-giving system.
An amazingly energetic and energizing pastor I know gave me some advice on developing habits rather than simply setting goals (you can find his blog post on it here). He makes years into projects. For him, 2012 will forever be remembered as the Year of the Carrot, the year he and his wife went vegan. He sets out to do something for a year — a time span that you can tell yourself isn’t all that long, and yet a significant enough amount of time to really develop a habit.
So in 2012, I’m moving towards adopting this approach, although tentatively. It’s a transitional year between goal-setting and habit-forming projects.
This year, I’m nesting.
On the one hand, there are very definite tasks involved. Stop living out of boxes from moving 6 months ago, figure out a way to store our bikes in the apartment, put away all those wedding gifts. I’m starting with the bedroom, the heart of the home, and will move on to another room when it’s completed.
It’s also somewhat habit-forming, although admittedly not a singular concrete habit. I’m developing mindfulness in the way our home is and the attitude I take in maintaining it. I make the bed in the morning, and it’s becoming a spiritual practice. I close my secretary desk in the evening, a ritual that marks the end of my work for the day. I’m figuring out what works to make our home inviting and comfortable.
It feels like a good way to start marriage. The chuppah we stood under represents a home under God and open to community. I want our home to reflect that as mucha s possible.