Goals, Habits, Productivity

Adding/ subtracting and a productive Thursday

Adding/ Subtracting Habits:

One of the people I read about in Tribe of Mentors talked about his custom of making “New Month Resolutions” instead of “New Year Resolutions”. Specifically, he rotates between either ADDING a habit or SUBTRACTING a daily habit.

The examples he personally gave in the book were:

July = Daily reading
August= No TV or movies
September= No dairy
October= No gluten
November= Daily meditation
December= No news or social media feeds

Etc. This is probably not a new idea really for anyone reading this blog, because a lot of people here are Goal Setter types.

But I can’t say I have ever specifically tried this tactic, exactly. On the contrary, I usually make TOO MANY different goals, and then don’t actually do a lot of them. I don’t think I’ve stuck to a strict 30 day “streak” on anything lately, either.

Thought it might be kind of fun to try! I do not think I will be trying his September or October choices (but never say never!). But I did jot down a list of my own potential “Adds” and “Subtracts” that felt relevant for me.

For November, I decided to start with an Add, and made it: Spend at least 20 minutes outside every day in November.

This feels very do-able, and many days I do this anyway. But I know I don’t every day, and the benefits to some outside time are well known. This little goal will help nudge me outside even if it’s rainy or cold. (The rule doesn’t say I have to be exercising outside- I could literally just sit outside. The point is to BE OUTSIDE/ taking in the fresh air, etc. Which means…. sitting in the hot tub outside is fair game, too. 😆)

I like the concept of just focusing on one thing. Doesn’t mean everything else I try to do (frequent exercise, walking, some consistent reading, etc.) goes out the window. But in terms of any kind of daily streak/ emphasis- just the one thing really counts.

A Productive Thursday

I had a pretty productive feeling day yesterday.

Some things I did:

  • A legs/ abs workout in the morning before work
  • A productive work day
  • A 20 minute OUTSIDE walk at lunch (it was 70 degrees! In November! Beautiful day.)
  • Drove the kids back and forth places. (Ivan got home late, so I was on solo driving duty.)
  • Voted!! (in person absentee, at the library)
  • Made progress on a month of my photo project/ clean out
  • Called and refilled my Tretinoin (rx retinoid) at the pharmacy
  • Finished watching the movie Grease with the boys/ Ivan. (We watched half Wednesday night/ half Thursday night.) This is probably my all time favorite movie. (Ivan has seen it a million times, too, he says and also really likes it!) Our local HS is performing the musical this weekend, so we bought tickets for Saturday night! The boys had never seen the movie though (it is definitely PG-13 in a few spots… but I felt they are finally old enough to deal with the meaning of the There are worse things I could do…. song.) They liked the movie! And Ethan was half amused/ half appalled at how I was able to sing along with EVERY lyric of EVERY song… hahaha. Now the musical will mean a lot more to them, having seen the movie. 🙂
Gosh I just love Sandy and Danny!!!!

Daily Gratitude:

I am grateful that my boys are very open minded about watching old movies, musicals, etc. that might not be “exactly” in their typical teenaged boy preferred genre. And that they will happily go along to watch live performances of things like Grease or Mama Mia (which we saw in the spring). 🙂 I feel like these types of movies are such cultural icons that I really want them to know what they are!

15 thoughts on “Adding/ subtracting and a productive Thursday”

  1. I seem to be the outlier in not loving setting goals. Even before I had kids, I set very few goals for the year – like 4-5. I am an enneagram 1/upholder so I really struggle with not accomplishing something I set out to do. So this adding/subtracting approach would be a better fit for me. I’m learning I am better at process-oriented goals!

    You had a really full day yesterday! I voted 2 weeks ago at an in-person absentee place since I’m traveling on election day. Phil voted early, too, so he wouldn’t have to vote with the kids in toe.


  2. Yes to adding or subtracting! I was always told that it takes two weeks to make a habit (is this true or just something our moms would say to us?) and so I always give myself two weeks to see if something will *stick*.

    I’ve never seen Grease, but somehow I also know most of the songs. It’s crazy how the monoculture has disappeared, but us olds still have some common ground!


  3. I can sing all the words too! My son auditioned for the school musical using “Greased Lightening” and I tell you, there’s nothing quite like hearing your son say “she’s a real pussy wagon.”


  4. i honestly think focusing on one thing at the time is so much better than 3 or 5. I used to track 5 things a day: meditation, mindfulness, call my mom, read, and photo of the day. I feel a failure when I don’t tick all the boxes. Now I want to get back into medication everyday, so I’ll focus that for Nov. 🙂


  5. I have honestly never thought about goal setting this way, but its simplicity makes it very appealing! And your goal to add 20 minutes of outdoor time is one I really want to copy.


  6. I have only seen Grease once and it was…20 years ago? I know almost none of the lyrics, but I sure do LOVE musicals.

    I love Tribe of Mentors. As we head into the busy holiday season, I really need to subtract some things. Not sure what just yet…

    Lately, I’ve been setting myself a list of 5 to-dos for the day. This includes my daily outside walk and, Sunday to Thursday, making sure lunchboxes are prepped for the kids. Outside of those 5 things, I try to be very low-key about my goals for any given day. It’s…mostly working. Though today I didn’t finish my list. Ugh. I wanted to take all the pictures off my phone, but it’s late and now I’m feeling too lazy. Tomorrow? I should have a catchup day on Sunday where the only thing on my list is my walk and Monday lunchboxes and then anything I didn’t get to the rest of the week can slide in to this backup slot?

    I love the idea of alternating the add/subtract, too…I might aim for that in the new year and plot it out with some potential ideas?


  7. I’ve heard about this strategy before (I am actually doing a “yoga every day in November”), but I don’t regularly do this every month. I think it’s wise to focus on one thing like that though, because if you’re aiming for too many things at the same time, there will be not enough time to follow through with everything (that’s just modern life – you have to carve out time for certain things).

    OMG, I am so excited to hear that you’re such a big Grease fan. I am too – it’s one of the movies I have seen a gazillion times (and they actually showed the original version – not dubbed – on a Dutch TV channel that we had when I grew up), so I know ALL THE SONGS and lyrics!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s