Day 88 Reporting – 2,024 Words/Day Process Log – The Done Calendar

I haven’t been consistently writing or doing my healthy eating habits. Now, at the start of my healthy eating journey over a year ago, I was ruthless when it came to making changes. If the scale was moving in the wrong direction, something needed to change. I’d either change what I was eating, how much I was eating, when I was eating or change the exercise component in the same manner. What I wasn’t willing to do, however, was quit. Like, what was I going to say? My health was no longer my priority? That didn’t make much sense.

So, I started looking back at what I was doing when I was successful and if I was not doing it now. One thing that stood out was my done calendar. Y’all. I had abandoned my beloved done calendar.

I have a paper calendar on the back door of my office. Each day, I assigned a sticker to a certain habit that combined would give me the success. In the case of health it was – sleep, food, and exercise. I like stickers. It didn’t take much for me to earn a sticker either. Here’s the legend:

Princess sticker – Over 7 hours of sleep a night

Villain sticker – Counted Calories

Exercise sticker – Intentional Movement

Unicorn Onesie Sticker – One Fiction Page

As you can see above, it didn’t take much to earn a sticker. I like stickers and the barrier to entry is low. So. Let’s break each one of these down a bit.

The first one – sleep. I went through a time where I couldn’t sleep at night because of stress. The princess sticker was not one that was easily earned at first. Why is sleep important? Lack of sleep can increase cortisol levels, increase inflammation, and not to mention just not having the energy and ability to focus during the day. As long as I slept for 7 hours, I got it. When I woke up at 3 am and started scrolling Facebook for the latest dog grooming videos? I didn’t get the princess sticker. And I wanted the princess sticker.

On the face of it, the villain sticker doesn’t make much sense. Shouldn’t I only reward myself for keeping my calories under a certain amount? Well. I tried that. It didn’t work for me. I kept going above the so-called calorie budget for the day. When I switched to just documenting what I was eating, things improved.

It’s hard to overeat when you’re documenting everything. It also slowed down my eating. I read somewhere about how long it takes the body to know that you’re full. Between tracking what I’m eating and eating a veggie appetizer, all of this makes meal time slower. The thing with eating a lot of calories is that it usually takes place in a shorter period of time.

I just thought of something. It increases friction. Tracking my calories increases the friction to eating and it also makes me more aware of what I’m eating and the nutritional or non-nutritional value. It goes back to – make it easy to do the things that will get me toward my goals, and make it difficult to do things that will take me away from my goals.

Exercise. Oh. This was so easy to get. I awarded myself a sticker any time I engaged in intentional movement for any amount of time. Let’s say that I take an exercise snack in between my pomodoro writing sections. That’s a sticker. A 10-minute walk outside after dinner? That’s a sticker. It’s intentional movement that I would not have done if not for the sticker.

The unicorn onesie sticker is one page of fiction or 250 words. This is because after I write one page, the gears are typically going and I’m good for another 2 pages. If I need to stop at 1 page and for whatever reason I can only write 250 words of fiction, at least I’ve gotten that bit closer to completing a project.

You’ll notice it’s specifically fiction. That’s because, while I love writing these posts and my newsletter, the goal is to become a master storyteller. For that, I need to practice. Writing a page is practice. It also grounds the current story I’m writing.

When I have such a long-term goal, it’s easy to get discouraged and think that I’m treading water. The done calendar that I see on a regular basis is a reminder that I am making progress – one sticker at a time.

Favorite stickers – Miss Moss Gifts. Below is my referral code if you want to support the blog. I earn reward points that I can turn into… more stickers:

https://refrr.app/APjWOY9Ogn/22592

Here’s the website if you want to look around:

https://www.missmossgifts.com/

Calendars

Here’s the Amazon link to my calendar. It’s another affiliate code. So if you buy it through this link, I get a commission.

https://amzn.to/4anKrK6

Keep moving forward. Keep getting better.

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Tracking

As of Day 88, – 3/28/24

# of Words I Wrote/# of Words Written To Be on Track/Year Goal

160,566/178.112/ 740,784

About Irette Y Patterson

Irette Y Patterson is a writer of fantasy, science fiction, and romance. She has been published in FIYAH, Strange Horizons, Translunar Travelers Lounge and on the website of The Saturday Evening Post. When not writing, you can find her digging around in her garden or catching the latest musical in the theater.
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