January is a great time for people to try to create new habits or to take up 30-day challenges. Right now I have two 30-day things I’m trying to do: Yoga with Adriene’s 30-day journey called Home which is absolutely wonderful. I’m loving it. The other is my own 30 × 30 challenge on my blog Organize Your Family History, in which participants commit to doing 30 minutes of genealogy research every day for 30 days. In addition, I’m trying to create the daily habit of dealing with finances through You Need a Budget and Quickbooks. (FYI, that YNAB link is an affiliate link, which means I get a free month if you click on it and sign up after your free trial.)
I’ve blogged here before about the value of the Don’t Break the Chain concept where when you do something for a few days in a row it you don’t want to break the chain. The flip side of that, though, is that sometimes when you do break the chain, you abandon the practice all together.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. I’ve been reflecting on that because with my yoga practice I’ve missed two sessions so far this month. My practice wasn’t interrupted by my trip to Walla Walla, because I double up on sessions the day before each day of flying. (It takes an entire day of travel to get to or from Walla Walla.) But last week I had a seven-hour organizing session that, while rewarding, left me wiped out. So I gave myself permission to not do yoga that day. And then yesterday I had limited time due to social commitments. I thought I would do yoga later in the evening, but I got home later than expected. When did get home Bix had a serious need to play so I let go of the idea of yoga last night.
But I’m not calling that a failure. You can bet that yoga was on the priority list today and I will finish the 30-day journey on February 2, rather than January 31. No big deal. It doesn’t mean I can’t keep a commitment. It just means that I prioritized something different those days. With my 30 × 30 challenge, I have managed to do a little research every day, but it has not been the full 30 minutes. I am hopeful that by month’s end I’ll average 30 minutes a day, but I am feeling great about my daily effort.
My point is this: Daily effort and 30-day challenges are great. But if you miss a day, don’t let it shake you off your path. Breaking the chain doesn’t mean you failed or are incapable of doing the thing every day. It doesn’t mean you can’t create great habits. It just means that the next day you might want to make doing the thing a priority. It’s okay to break the chain, particularly if you get right back on your path.
(The lovely printable calendar above came from PlanYourTasks.com)