Are my habits “Atomic” or crazy?

It’s nearly the end of January – so time to evaluate my New Year’s resolutions and ‘New habits.’ Each year, like many of the world’s population, I do that thing where I resolve to do better, be better, improve myself, etc. Am I doing too much, too little or absolutely off my rocker? Let’s see!

Anyhoo – there were a FEW things I vowed to improve this year. (At least to improve in January).

  1. Write even more consistently – get back on track.
  2. Keep editing – so I can finish AND PUBLISH my manuscript! (“The Fourth Baby,” by Audrey Gran Weinberg)
  3. Be happier despite the grey, cold weather.
  4. Continue healthy eating habits so I don’t gain weight.
  5. Continue to exercise so I don’t have aches and pains and to prevent osteoporosis as my estrogen levels decline.
  6. Improve my relationship with my husband (a marriage is work, after all!)
  7. Do my work reasonably well, and be a good team player to my colleagues, while maintaining my life/work balance.
  8. Help each of my two adult kids find their way in life (be supportive but not micromanage their lives).
  9. Improve watercolor painting
  10. Since Theo got me a Djembe for the holidays – it would be nice to learn how to play it!

As you can read – I can be somewhat of an overachiever, which is yet another personality ‘flaw’ I wanted to overcome, (put it on the list), along with reducing the constant internal chatter of my over self-reflective/critical mind.  Combine the 10 ‘to do’ items with my wanting to calm down, have a balance in my life, and just be happy being me – well, you can see that I have my work set out for me.

So, without further ado, let’s evaluate, but without being too hard on myself, if at all possible. What have I done (the ACTION points I ask my students to talk about in their STARR forms)?

GoalWhat I’ve done in January so far
Writing consistentlySigned up again for the 365 writing challenge with FB friends
Signed up for George Saunders’ writers newsletter
Attended a couple of writing related webinars
Written almost daily – mostly journaling but also an article and a blog (not including this one!)
Submitted my manuscript to two publishers!
Keep editingTidied up first 10 pages of my manuscript (for submission)
Got stressed by the overwhelm and confusion I felt at how much more there is to do.
Got extra advice (unsolicited) from a well-meaning friend which confused me even more.
Contacted my editor to ask for some SOS advice.
Copy pasted first 10 pages into Draft 11 and continued editing for 5 more pages.
Be happier despite the weatherWeather? What weather?! Just kidding. I really despise the grey skies. I am a sun worshiper.
Went on girls’ weekend to Bruges!
Go on nearly daily walks – re-activated my Ommetje app, which reminds and rewards me for walking!
Visited Amsterdam Light Festival!
See girlfriends when possible
Keep going to therapy!
Healthy eating habitsHmmm… for a moment I considered re-activating the Noom app – but after trying it for free for two weeks, I realized that I already know the right habits and since I’m only 2 kilos away from the ideal weight, I am: Drinking lots of water
Cutting down on automatically eating ‘seconds’
Not binging on snacks every evening (only sometimes)
Trying to distract myself from gobbling up cookies and chocolate (mainly by not buying them) and by binging on Netflix instead. 🙂

ExerciseYES! A big shout out to Lucy Wyndam-Read and also to April from Yes2Next. Those two ladies keep me fit and happy without having to get down on the floor to exercise. I don’t know why I hate floor exercises? Maybe because it makes me feel like a giraffe when I have to get back up again?
And I’ve been walking!
Exercise is going well!  
Relationship with husbandThis is private. Send me a PM if you want details :). But to be honest, what helps the most is when we take the time for a real heart to heart. Mostly I initiate it, and we let each other talk (mostly he lets me talk), but I also listen to him on occasion :). Sometimes it’s as simple as looking each other in the eyes – although today he went to the eye doctor and came back with one very enlarged pupil, so that was weird. Sometimes it’s a suggestion that we try something that we haven’t done before. Get your mind out of the gutter – I mean travel somewhere new, for example! And sometimes it’s reminding myself how grateful I am to have him in my life.
Work well and maintain balanceOh my god, as I was writing this, I remembered that I have a meeting set at 1:30 today, so I quickly glanced at my clock and phew – it’s in 15 minutes! I’m not late!
I set boundaries when I can – such as contacting the schedulers when the new schedule they have sent me is unbalanced. I try to answer emails promptly – on the three days I’m scheduled to work. I am available on WhatsApp for emergencies and most students and colleagues know this. I got my grades in on time for the previous block and plan to start grading new portfolios right away – trying to spread them out so they don’t overwhelm me last minute.  
Be supportive to my adult kidsListen, listen, listen. Be there. Show up. I was available and a willing partner to game night a few times a week, until my daughter moved out on Saturday. I’m sure I’ll miss that daily interaction with her, but so far we’ve seen each other every day at least for a bit. I’m here, and she knows it.
I listen to my son’s stories as much as I can. Sorry, dear son, but you can be talkative at times. When I’m not available to listen, or if I have my own workshop to attend, then I am clear that I need to do my own thing now.  
A good friend once taught me this: Say what you mean, mean what you say, and don’t say it in a mean way.
Watercolor paintingTried to combine ‘abstract’ painting with precision – I took a photo of a complex window reflection and painted it upside-down, to trick my mind not to see the exact shapes. I continue to participate in my sister’s online watercolor classes. I give myself love whenever I sit down to paint.
DjembeOf course, I signed up for a quick beginner’s course on Udemy. I watched the sample videos but haven’t sat down yet to really dig into it.
* Just started listening to the audiobook of “Atomic Habits” –Curious to see if I’m on track. And what minute steps I can take to further my successes!

* Taking “21 Days to Manifest your Wishes” course by Mike Dooley – – So far, it’s very good. I’m enjoying the daily videos (although to be honest it’s a bit much – see the long list above) – so I’ve only gotten to video number 10 out of 21, but I’ll catch up – slowly. I think that’s allowed!
One of the things I’ve learned from this course is that a lot of what I wish for – Deep happiness and Fulfillment as a writer – or better! – is already happening as we speak.  

* Joined a friend’s book club! Like my editor said to me in our conversation today – “Keep on reading.” I’m a book addict already, so reading isn’t an issue for me, but it’s nice to be able to toss around ideas about a book with other people and see how they perceive the writing, the tone, the voice. Plus, it’s a social occasion, even if it’s on Zoom.

So, am I doing what I set out to do? Yes! I guess I am, and more! (And better, thanks to Mike Dooley for that helpful tip! )

The tip is: When you make your wishes to the universe, first of all, make them general enough that you can get them answered – not always exactly like you planned, but sometimes in a different way – and secondly – add the words: “Or better,” so you are open to even greater things happening in your life! Now, I know some of this is too “woo-woo” for some of my readers, and in the Middle Ages, there is a small chance I may have been burned at the stake, but here I am, in the 21st century – (phew) – a University Lecturer at a Business School in Amsterdam , who is able to accept the good the universe can provide as well as set goals and make them happen her(my) self.

What grandiose plans have you set in action and how is the universe helping (or hindering) you?

P.S. Hours after writing this blog, I started feeling a little feverish and took a self-test for Covid. The very very faint pink line may indicate that I’m positive, but I’m all boostered up, so am quarantining but feeling quite okay (at least so far).

As the saying goes: Man makes plans and God/the Universe laughs [their heads off]!

4 thoughts on “Are my habits “Atomic” or crazy?

  1. Wow! You had energy today! 🙂 Nice to read , schat! And also really surprising that you painted your latest piece upside down. And what a beautiful result! Imagine that the Nightwatch had been painted like that …

    Good luck staying on track 😉 I hope to be able to see you into both eyes on many more occasions xxx



  2. Whoa, lovely way of keeping track of your goals. And your point about keeping them vague has given me new perspective on them, especially since I’ve recently got into the SMART goals theory. Anyway, thanks for this post!


    1. Hello Stuart, and yes, I too usually employ (and teach) the SMART method, but when you’re asking the universe for help, it’s good to keep it open… perhaps you know the story of the guy who was in a flood and waiting on the roof of his house for God to save him?
      On the other hand, I’m Atomic Habits, which I’ve just started, it’s more about setting yourself up for success by making small changes that will lead you in the right direction. He calls it the “system” you use …
      So, don’t throw away the SMART goals yet 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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