About nine days ago I started writing Morning Pages, a concept outlined in the “Artist’s Way.” I haven’t read the book (yet, I have it on hold at the library), but I found the MP concept somewhere in a review online. The idea is simple: you get an 8.5×11 spiral notebook (six for .99 at HEB), a pen, and write three pages longhand each and every morning, ideally before you do anything else. If you have kids, you’re supposed to wake up 30 minutes before they do. I have no idea if that actually works in practice; I feel like there would be many mornings you would get sidetracked by an up-early infant or ten year old. But anyway, I don’t have kids, so I decided to try it.
It’s easy for me to write. I’ve always done it. But I haven’t written longhand in years. Some people use online sites to keep up with their MPs, but I feel like this misses the point. Writing longhand evokes something different from your brain. Connecting pen to paper brings out things you wouldn’t normally write about. My anxiety has lessened, my goals are in sharper focus, and I have clarity after doing the pages each day. But the most important thing I’ve gained is momentum. I’ve tacked on other habits to my MPs, like stretching right afterwards. Getting fully dressed to my shoes. Then eating breakfast. Then to work. I’ve started chucking my Big Rocks for the day out of the way as soon as possible. Even though I was in the most excruciating pain of my life a few days ago, I accomplished more than I had for the first three weeks of July combined. Big things and little things.
Doing the MPs has set off a chain reaction of awesomeness in my life. Doing that one thing every single day sets the tone for the rest of the day. I’m pretty sure it’s because when I do it, it means I’ve kept a promise to myself. Leo Babauta says that habit-building is a way of learning to trust yourself. Every time you set out to do something you told yourself you were going to do, even something as simple as “I am going to fold my PJs every time I take them off” and then you do that thing? It’s like depositing self-trust back into your brain. I love that.