Maira Salazar

In Case of No Inspiration, Stick to the Habit

Inspiration and the “get things done” mood come and go. But not those little tiny 2-minutes promises we make to ourselves.

Today is one of those days I have no idea what to write about. I don’t feel creative enough to babble and reflect on some inspiring topic, reaching that state of flow when the words appear effortlessly in the screen. Unfortunately, I’m also not in a state of mental clarity and focus to write about some more matter-of-factly topics, listing good recommendations of places and apps or something like that.

But when you made a promise to yourself that, no matter what, you’re going to write every single day, well… there’s no way around it. And so, here I am, trying to kickstart things somehow. How is it going this far?

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Not very encouraging, guys.

The good thing is that I love the idea of setting a challenge such as this: write every single day, it doesn’t matter about that, it doesn’t matter how you’re feeling, it doesn’t matter if you will publish it or not. Without setting this compromise, I’m sure I’d still be postponing this to-do list item indefinitely. Like I’ve been doing for years.

The idea came up after reading, or rather, listening, to yet another book on habits and goals. Although I’ve listened to countless podcasts episodes and watched many, many videos on the topic, I never actually acted on it. If you read this article I wrote about over planning, I’m sure you can see how I love procrastinating under the guise of “But this is research!”.

The book is Atomic Habits, by James Clear. The beauty of it is not so much the wealth of innovative information. As far as I can see, there’s no new research explored in the book, nor any kind of information that we, for the most part, didn’t know about. But the author really succeeds in creating a clear game-plan for establishing new habits. He combines different techniques and approaches in a step-by-step way. Perfect for those of us who can get a bit lost in the overwhelming amount of information out there.

And so far, it’s working! With the permeating idea of setting small actions that will lead to the formation of a habit, I’ve been actually doing the things I want to. Writing every day, meditating, learning French… those are not things I keep putting up anymore. Yes, I’m only meditating for a minute a day, or practicing French for less than 10 minutes. But it feels surprisingly good to get those things done every day, and to see that I’m already improving, bit by bit. Even better, when I don’t do those things early in the day, I already get the sense that something was missing, and that’s a sign that this habit-forming thing is working.

It’s been fun too. Looking back at the Word doc where I have all my writing in, and seeing how it grows every day. Being able to get to a whole minute (or close to it, if I’m being honest) of meditation without quitting. Going farther in my mental conversations in French. Those are super tiny things, but it’s a progression. Every day I get to be a bit proud that I did it, that I’m working on becoming the person I want to be.

In fact, right now I’m pretty damn proud that I’m almost done with this piece right here. It wasn’t effortless, and it isn’t great. But it’s something that will lead to better articles and to a better me, I know it will.

So next time you’re in the same position I was in at the beginning of this article, remember that you made a promise to the most important person in the world. Go and do the 1 or 2-minutes thing you promised to do every day, and I guarantee you will feel gooood.

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