A Habit Must Be Established Before It Can Be Improved

This is my 100th blog post. It took one-month shy of seven years to get here.

Nobody knows what they’re doing when they start. I didn’t know when I started but I know more now. What might I know in ten years? I hope I find out.

The title quote is from James Clear. It helped me a lot. I was not doing things I “wanted” to do because I didn’t really want to do them. Or I “wanted” to do them at a high level, a level so high it was only possible to imagine doing it, not actually do it. I “wanted” to do yoga for an hour like I did at my yoga studio before the pandemic. But I never wanted to be in my living room with my yoga mat for an hour. Never. Never once did I want that in the past year. That’s why I went to a yoga studio in the first place. Because once you’re there, there is no escape. The social pressure is really important for me to overcome lethargy.

But in dwelling on the quote, I thought maybe I could start with something very very short. I could just do it for the length of one song. Just a few stretches. That’s it! One song Caren. You got this.

It worked! That was not too bad. I did not hate that.

Over time, I found that I was totally willing to do yoga for the length of a few songs. Sometimes I would do more than I intended. Isn’t that fun? That’s like a habit starting to form. Woah! I now exercise several mornings a week for ten minutes. Ten minutes is something I can manage. Ten minutes doesn’t freak me out. Ten minutes is happening. I don’t have to pressure myself into it. It’s something I actually like to do. I’ve built a habit.

Rather than make your hopes and goals bigger make them smaller. Make them so small you are doing them.


Are you by chance curious what little book I wrote this quote in? It’s last year’s pandemic little book. Here is a picture of the cover. I can’t get my fill of Danny Trejo in pink. His vegan donuts are off the hook. Try them if you are in Los Angeles.

18 thoughts on “A Habit Must Be Established Before It Can Be Improved

  1. This resonates, I think you are absolutely right, we often “start big”, and then there is nothing. I like your idea of thinking of time as the length of a song. We’re so stuck in minutes and hours, who don’t we go through the day counting songs instead?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Woah! That’s wild. I have about 9 drafts that are almost ready to go but they either need visuals that I am still working on, or the ideas are complex and I want to spend more time with them.

        Does that make you feel good to have content until August or does it freak you out you that some ideas will have to wait so long to get there turn? That’s an impressive amount of content Matt! You are prolific!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. well I have a paper schedule as well. Per day I do a specific kind of art. Ie. For the month of August Mon/Tues Miscellaneous, Wed Something devoted to the written word Thur it had been the culinary arts but that’s going on hiatus now Digital arts, Friday other types of animal drawings, Saturday the cat series of drawings which will end this year (tired of drawing cats) and the weekly podcast, Sunday devoted to photos.

        Liked by 1 person

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