motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
The shoes have been put on hold while I waited for the book to come back to the library, so I switched to...

Making a swimsuit for a vacation that was also, however, put on hold while I waited for the fabric to be pre-washed, so I switched to...

Making things from my stash, which was what I had originally planned to do in January, but was sluggish and unmotivated at that time, which worked out ok because pattern review is having a stash-busting contest.  Based on the person who's already sewn 24 yards1, and the next who's sewn 14, I won't win, but whatevs.

So I've:
- gotten to the point where I'm going to finish the upper and wrap it around my last
- croquised my swimsuit and decided on a design
- made a beach cover-up
- finished the pinstriped dress
- re-fashioned a mohair sweater
- shortened another sweater
- made a headband
- made 3 t-shirts

I'm also working on getting some music I recorded about 7 or 8 years ago up on bandcamp. I need to make some sort of album artwork, and I think I'm close to being done with that.

1 Oh, pardon me, it's actually 36.
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
I recently read Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney. I was initially drawn to it because the blurb on the flyleaf said willpower is like a muscle - it can be strengthened with exercise and fatigued by overuse. Whaaat?  Clearly, willpower doesn't work quite the way I thought it does. Neither does dieting, apparently.

The last chapter of the book is a summary of the ideas presented in each preceding chapter. Since I found helpful things in the text, and want to remember them and try to use them, summarizing them myself will hopefully cement them in my brain.

Know your limits - Your willpower gets depleted by everything you make decisions about during the day. Decide to wait a couple minutes to pee? Yeah, those kinds of decisions.  Struggling with temptation depletes you. And giving in does not magically replenish your willpower.

Watch for symptoms - Are you feeling things more intensely? Is it hard to make up your mind about simple things? Are you more reluctant to make a decision or exert yourself mentally or physically? Get some food (protein), wait 1/2 hour, then the decision will be easier.

Pick your battles - Keep track of the goals you set, how long it took to accomplish them, and whether you did accomplish them. Are those goals helpful or do you just need to dismiss them next time? Always have a vague five year plan with more specific intermediate steps. Keep track monthly - "remember you don't have to meet each goal every time, what matters is your life gradually improves month to month."

Make a "to do" list, or at least "to don't" list - A catalog of things you don't have to worry about once you write them down. This is the plan that helps your unconscious to stop fretting about ignoring unfinished tasks. Apparently, if you have something to do (term paper, cleaning your email inbox, etc) and you are not doing it, your unconscious will constantly worry about it, until you make a plan. Not until you get it done, mind, but just until you make a plan to get it done. Wow, right? You have to plan specifically, though: what to do, whom to contact, how to do it (in person, by phone, or email?)

Beware the planning fallacy - You think things will take less time than they do. (I'm getting better at this.)

Don't forget the basics - Get enough sleep, keep yourself clean and fed, keep your home and work area tidy - these all put less stress on your reserve of willpower.  And low glucose levels make deciding much more difficult.

The power of positive procrastination - If you are trying to avoid temptation, tell yourself you can give in, but later. This is weirdly effective.

The nothing alternative - Set aside time to do a certain task, but if you don't feel like doing it/are uninspired, sit there for the whole time anyway. Or, rather, don't do anything else. It's a quick cure for procrastination. Raymond Chandler scheduled himself like this "a. You don't have to write. b. You can't do anything else. The rest comes of itself."  This is also an example of having an implementation plan, "that specific if-x-then-y strategy that has been shown to reduce the demands on willpower." Basically, pre-commitment. Trying to keep to your diet at a party? Plan ahead: If there's cake there, you will have the vegetables and crackers.

Keep track - Constant monitoring is essential. Balance your checkbook everyday. Weigh yourself every day.

Reward often - Video games are so addictive (and helpful for building self control!) because they give many small rewards and a few occasional big ones for planning and accomplishing goals.  How would you make your tasks/goals into games?

The Future of Self Control - It takes self control to enjoy all the free time we have these modern days, and you have to plan for it.  Vacations don't happen by accident.


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