January 15, 2016

When Goals Become Habits

One of the good things about goals is that they have the potential to become habits.
My list of goals this past year was probably the most specific and complete set of goals I've ever compiled.  Reflecting on where I've been and where I'm headed, I'm happy with how they've steered me.  And some of these have indeed become habits.

One of which was to "Send at least one hand written note a week." 
My handwritten/snail mail correspondence had diminished in recent years, to a sad state. I wanted to turn that around.
At first, taking time to sit down and write a note was a deliberate, conscious task. A friend even suggested taking a weekly photo for accountability - I loved that!   It helped me get on track.
Then after a few months, I stopped paying attention to what day it was. I didn't always take a picture. I was writing snail mail regularly again, at random and often, because I enjoy it.   Because the goal had become a habit!

I wrote to my grandma, like I used to in the days before social media, and to tell her that the smell of Fruit Loops takes me back to mornings in her kitchen as a kid.  I wrote to say thank you.  For kindness.  To individuals who inspire me.  To my mom for "just about everything."  I wrote to a young Marine in training at boot camp, a friend of our sons, who wrote back in the dark from his cot.  I wrote to my aunt in Iowa, to thank her for smiling, for her laugh (it's a dandy) and that birthday cake she made me when I was about 9.  I wrote to my niece and nephew on a typewriter I got for $3.  I wrote to our kids' first grade teacher (our kids teachers have been some of our favorite humans and lasting friends.. I'm grateful. ) I encouraged the kids to write, too.   I wrote notes to friends I think of much more more than I see.  I wrote to someone special who's not technically a mom on Mother's Day.  I carried postcard stamps with me on vacation and visited post offices in far away places.
I got into the habit of writing down gratitude or a memory on a whim, sealing it up in an envelope for someone else to open.

In fulfilling my intention to write more to others, I was practicing the simple act of gratitude as well.  A win/win in the habit department.

A small helping of the photos I snapped before heading to the mailbox..

"Beginning today, make it a habit to count your blessings everyday."

I haven't set new goals this January. I'm happy with the path I'm on with my current ones.  My long term, big picture goals are more along the lines of my ideas to live by. 
But I suppose I might replace the smaller quota based goals that have now become habits with new ones.  I really, really, want to get back to writing here regularly as I used to.
Maybe stating that goal and going after it will get me back in the habit of making time.
You know what hinders me the most in that department? I have so much I want to share. So much going on around me, I'm learning and thinking.  I went into writing this wanting to cover all of the goals I'd made last year and where I'm at with them. Part of my goal should be rationing.  Dividing my thoughts, writing, and ideas up into doable amounts, little by little.  I think that subconsciously I've been working on that. Being consciously aware can only help.

So I'll leave my thoughts on a dozen other things for later.. :)

Peace, Love, and the Making of New Habits,


  1. How nice that you've taken up handwritten notes. I do that too. Sending birthday cards with a note inside counts especially when its a card I made myself. Thank you notes are so important but seem to have been laid aside by many folks, even those getting married. At least I instilled the need to do that with my daughters and now I get thank you notes from them.

  2. I love sending cards with notes. I have my photos made into cards, so I can share that part of my life, too. I really enjoy getting notes from others. I know that they've been thinking of me and have taken time from their busy lives to sit down and write. I do hope you'll post more often on the blog. I like seeing your photos and reading what you and the family are doing. It's so cold here, but I skied this morning. We had fresh snow and weren't about to let it go to waste!

  3. I love that your back here, that you are sending out hand written notes. This could be a Bella Grace piece :) Just take it one post at a time one subject at a time and carry on.

  4. I love your handwritten notes! Something that has sadly gone out of style. I never get any mail like that anymore....only bills and credit card applications. :(

  5. Handwritten notes are beautiful !
    Nice post.

    1. How sweet and thoughtful, Amanda. And organized. Organizing one ideas into useful habits is something I need to do a lot more of...;)

  6. Handwritten letters seem to (and sadly) becoming a thing of the past, but I think handwritten letters are the most beautiful. Warm greetings from a very cold Montreal, Canada. :)

  7. now

  8. Lovely post and kudos to you for sending letters! My word for this year is Gratitude. :)

  9. What a lovely way to present your writing adventure, I'd never of thought of taking photos. I've always written a lot of snail mail, one friend and I have written weekly for over 20 years, it is like an old fashioned journal of sorts, she doesn't have email, imagine that!

  10. I can only imagine the smile on the faces of the people who received your letters and cards. What a wonderful thing to do. And nice to have you back here ...you are such an inspiration.

  11. Yea for hand writing cards and fun snail mail. As a recipient of your cards, I love knowing that someone is thinking of me and took the time to share a piece of their heart!

    I like to send cards too. I'm pretty good about birthdays, holidays and Thank You's.

    My Mom wrote a weekly letter to her Grandma from the time Mom left for college until Grandma passed on. Grandma wrote back to Mom until she couldn't write anymore, she lived to be over 100 years old. It's one of Mom's favorite memories. I can still remember the smile it brought to Mom's face when she got a note from Grandma.

  12. i really LOVED this entry, REALLY!!! i don't send many hand written notes these day, for no specific reason. i do send a lot of cards and usually include a quick, hand written note.

    my favorite thing in the entire world is to receive snail mail!!!!

  13. 'I got into the habit of writing down gratitude or a memory on a whim, sealing it up in an envelope for someone else to open.'
    Beautiful post Amanda. Snail mail, even a decent email, is something I don't do very often any more, yet maybe I should rectify that this year.

  14. What an awesome post Amanda. I love the idea of both writing handwritten notes and mailing them, I'm going to start that tonight :) I also love all your ten goals from 2015.