Back in November I mentioned in this blog about starting Emmet van Driesche’s Virtual Apprenticeship Challenge.  The first challenge was to carve every day;  so I carved every day.  At the time it was indeed a bit of a challenge;  I had to plan each day, and found myself focussing on busy days ahead.  I got anxious if I couldn’t fit carving in, and I felt I had to justify to myself (and anyone else who would listen) why I wasn’t going to be able to carve on a particular day.  From October to Christmas Day, I think there were only two days that I didn’t carve – but I had such angst about them!

Christmas tree

Christmas tree

Holidays and Sickness

The times that really challenge habits are holiday times and times of illness.  Over the Christmas period, I managed to combine both of these.  I only missed two days of carving on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day;  but then just after Christmas I was struck down by a chesty cold virus.  After a couple of days of struggling to carve with it, I gave up.  I had eight days when the only time I handled knives was to sharpen them.  (By the way – this is a good tip:  If you’re not feeling robust enough to carve, you might be just well enough to work on your sharpening.)

Step Change

Funnily enough, that interruption in the cycle seems to have been really good for me.  I slipped back into the routine of carving every day, but without the anxiety.  I think the word “routine” is the key one here.  Since having the break from carving (and then, critically, getting back it) I seem to have proved to myself that carving every day is just something I do.  I no longer find myself planning each day – I guess I just have built patterns of behaviour such that I know where carving will fit.  Even more pleasingly, I don’t stress if I can’t fit carving in.  I seem to be able to trust myself that if it’s possible, I’ll do it… and if it’s impossible, then there’s no percentage in worrying about it.

Frequency

But there are other habits that are harder to build.  In November, I’d begun a routine of writing a blog post every week.  This pattern was also interrupted by the holiday period and my sickness.  But I’ve found this practice far harder to restart.  It’s only on the third week of being back to “normal” that I’ve actually managed to buckle down and write this.  I think that what this is telling me is that writing a blog is not a habit yet.  Daily habits are much easier to form than weekly ones, and I’m not quite sure how to help myself in making blog writing a habit.  Maybe what I have to do is write part of the blog every day, or have a routine of adding blog topics to my list each day.  Any suggestions welcome!

There’s a quote that I can’t quite remember that is trying to come to mind at the moment.  It went something like…  Be careful what you choose to do, because you’ll get good at it.  This is true of so many aspects of life – from your general outlook (practising gratitude and positivity) to the more usual skills (like playing an instrument, or even spoon carving).  Hopefully, eventually, it might even apply to writing a blog too.