Next Step . . . Routines

Five years ago I walked away from a decades-long controlling, manipulative relationship. Each day holds new opportunities to discover and combat residual effects of that dysfunctional control. Slowly, I am analyzing and evaluating my thinking processes and choices, intentionally taking back true control of my own life.

One of my first independent choices (after the major one of “No more!”) was to go back to school to get a degree. This one decision enabled me to find a path toward orchestrating and controlling my own life. I worked hard and often spent way more time on projects with less spectacular results than my talented classmates. but I succeeded. (Take that, self-doubt!) I graduated with a 3.62 GPA. (I’m not listening to you, negative voices from my dysfunctional past!)

Just when you’d think I could cruise down this new Life Path of mine, I run smack dab into yet another road block. There is a part of me that craves being told what to do next. That dysfunctional thinking still needs reshaping. I need to own my own choices, not just do what comes naturally, or is the thing expected of me. If I do the expected thing, it needs to be because I chose to do it, because I want to do it, because I have specific reasons for doing it. Those last few semesters, I chose to jump through the hoops of the required course of study (even though I chafed at some of it) and get that degree. I finished well. Now it’s time to create my own hoops and expectations.

In this new life of of choices, I’m trying to start a business (SaRoseDesign) as I also create art and rediscover storytelling. I’m being pulled in many different directions. At the same time, my intense self-doubt melds with my natural procrastination to cause a disconnect in both my thinking and my productivity. I get stuck doing things that are the equivalent of a hamster wheel. Like journaling, but always saying the same things, never making any connections to the themes I journal. Or writing blog posts that never get posted. Or making business plans that never get enacted.

To break this trend of procrastination-fueled self-sabotage, I decided I needed some easily accomplished goals for each day that would build a foundation of success, which in turn would bolster my self-confidence and start me on the path toward my dreams . . . Or at least to the map that would help me choose which dream(s) to pursue.

    I chose two routines:

  1. making my bed each day (here’s an article similar to the one I read that inspired me to chose this habit); and
  2. writing 500 words in my journal. To keep from writing the same things over and over again, I set guidelines for choosing a different daily prompt. The journaling could serve two purposes, create a daily writing habit and maybe make progress on at least one of my project ideas.

I started on May 5. I have missed three days in three months. Success! It might be safe to declare that routine established. Out of that success, new paths are opening up. My imagination is tentatively coming back to life. Ideas are burgeoning and blossoming. My enthusiasm and motivation is overpowering that procrastination inertia. (Notice, two blog posts in as many weeks, both here and on my blog for writers.)

And that’s the next routine. Posting to Routines for Writers and here at Stephanie’s Musings. My goal: post a new blog post at least weekly on each blog. See you next week (or sooner!)

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