the star chart (and weekly check-in #2)
Posted On 12 June 2011
Let’s talk about resolutions.
Well, actually, since this is my blog (and my weekly check-in) I’m going to talk about my resolutions.
Or, more accurately, my commitments. I decided to call my resolutions ‘commitments’, because to me ‘resolution’ conjures up something you come up with for New Year and, more often than not, fail to keep. I know – the two words are most likely interchangeable and I’m just playing with semantics here, but if I’m going to be more likely to stick to a commitment than a resolution, then I’m using that word.
But first, a recap of what I’m talking about.
In January I wrote about resolutions in the context of The Happiness Project. Basically what Gretchen Rubin did in an attempt to make progress towards reaching her goals was to make resolutions related to those goals that were ‘concrete and measurable’. She then made up a chart to record those resolutions and included space for each day, where she would tick the box if she’d fulfilled the resolution and cross it if she hadn’t. (The Happiness Project, page 8.)
The idea behind this is that if you put the chart somewhere you can see it, you’ll be reminded of what you’ve set out to do, and if you record your progress, this provides a degree of accountability and encourages you to keep going.
For her Happiness Project, Ms Rubin selected a different subject for each month (such as ‘work’, ‘money’, ‘friendships’) and then set herself specific, realistic tasks related to those subjects, which at the end of each day she could assess whether or not she had done.
Each month she added the new month’s resolution’s to the previous ones, so that by the 12th month, her intention was to be keeping all of her resolutions every day.
So, having explained all that, it’s back to me.
A couple of weeks ago I posted how my first commitment was going to be to make sure my kitchen benchtop was clean every evening and that all the washing up was done and put away.
It’s a fairly simple task, but it’s something that, by the time we’d done everything else we had to do once we got home – especially on the days when we pretty much got home and went straight into dinner – I was often in a state where I couldn’t be bothered to finish. I’d do the washing up and leave it in the drainer, I’d leave things on the bench that I wasn’t sure when I’d be needing next and I’d leave the stove to be cleaned until I next needed to use it.
The result was being greeted by an untidy kitchen first thing in the morning, which set me up for being in, well, an untidy mood for the rest of the day.
So I decided to start to make a bit more of an effort, and to make sure that I did, I made my own version of Ms Rubin’s resolution chart. It looks a lot like Juniordwarf’s star chart for the little tasks we were having trouble getting him to do, and is going to need some resizing pretty soon, once the number of commitments gets much bigger.
Yep it’s probably a little bit childish, but there is a certain satisfaction in doing something I said I’d do, and seeing my chart fill up with stamps. Juniordwarf is quite amused by it all too. But if it works, then I’m not complaining.
Last week was my first full week trying to fulfil this commitment, and this week was my second. My first weekly check-in was here, and I committed to coming back every Sunday night and reporting on my progress, in an attempt to hold myself accountable. By that I mean I hope I’m less likely to give up if I’ve made a public commitment to doing this stuff (even if only one person reads it).
Ok, I can’t put it off any longer . . . time to report.
Kitchen bench: 7/7 stars.
Bed by 11pm: 3/6 stars (I can’t count tonight, since I haven’t gone to bed yet).
Drink enough water: 7/7 stars.
Next week’s new commitments
This is going to be tough. The commitment is to get up and dressed by 7 am every day.
Not difficult on a work day because I get up well before then. But on weekends and on my day with Juniordwarf, I tend to lounge around for a long time before I get dressed, I don’t actually do anything during that time and I waste a lot of the day. I’m hoping that the act of getting myself ready for the day will move my mind into an action frame of mind, rather than a sloth one.
Also, if I have to get up earlier, this might help me stick to the 11 pm bed time, which I did well at the start of the week, but lost it at the end of the week.
Maybe I should make it 8 am on a Sunday though.
8am for Sundays sounds like a fine idea. An hour to sleep in or just bum around before dressing once a week makes it more of a treat, therefore a pleasure to look forward to. Much like in my childhood, Sundays were dessert days and we really looked forward to it.
I can relate to your commitments (especially the joy of a tidy bench first thing in the morning but the reluctance to clean it at night!). I think I need a star chart too!!! There is something rewarding about taking on your goals one at a time and actually making progress. Good luck x