Making New Habits

Everyone knows how difficult it can be to break bad habits. Smoking, over-eating, cracking your knuckles (not that I would EVER have a problem with cracking my knuckles…) can take more effort than some people are willing to give. And slipping up makes it even harder to keep at it. One night of binging can undo all the momentum you had to eat healthy and you figure “what’s the point?”

Well, as I’m sure most of you know, it’s just as difficult to create NEW habits, especially if the habit takes up time that is currently occupied by something else. I’m completely addicted to Bejeweled Blitz, and I need to cut back on my playing time if I ever plan to write my book. I’ll open the app, telling myself I’ll just play a few games, and before I know it an entire HOUR has passed. Not a good use of my time. I’m also trying to exercise more, which is conflicting with the whole trying-to-write thing.

Even my dog Owen is working against me. Look at him staring at me while I’m writing this post.

Mama, why aren't you playing with me?
Mama, why aren’t you playing with me?

Yes, I know. Boo-hoo for me. What I’m trying to say is I need a way to keep myself on track. I used to log my exercise in a calendar but stopped when I took a boot camp class over the winter, but it was a great way for me to see my progress. My friend Jason shared an article called Time Management Tricks for the Time-Impaired Writer which suggests using an Excel spreadsheet to log daily word counts. This certainly doesn’t work for everyone, but I think it might be what I need to do if I ever want to reach my goal.

Heck, maybe I’ll do one spreadsheet that includes writing AND exercise.

What techniques do you use to keep yourself on track for your goals?

About Melanie Hooyenga

Writer. Designer. Jock. Reader. Wife. Puppy-Mama. SCBWI member since 2015.


  1. I give myself page goals every day. Then I can put it on my to do list and cross it off. Even if you just start with one page, then when you get comfortable on that, maybe you do two, then four or five. You’ll find the place where you get a lot done, but don’t burn yourself out (mine is 10).

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