Mid last week I changed my morning routine. I used to get up, make coffee, skim the headlines and play a few minutes of games. At 6:30 I would roust kid one to begin my real day, starting with getting the boys ready for school.
This year is my year of transformation. I began in January with the intent to turn dreams into reality this year. Since then, I’ve dug deep into my psychology to understand my depression triggers, intending to learn to control them, and through that, take control of my mental health.
To effect both transformation and control depression, I created simple routines, designed to build good habits and overcome bad habits. The routines also had simple ratchets built in, so that week on week, they would include more good things, and fewer bad things, to push toward my goals.
I still had bad patches, completely losing May to depression. Happily, by then I had my routines to the point that, while I made no progress, I also lost no progress.
Came June, and I was noodling Ray Edward’s concept of “Writing is the doing part of thinking,” along with successes I had with daily affirmations and the idea of writing as neurological imprinting. This led me to modify my morning routine.
Every day, the first thing I do after brushing my teeth, even before coffee, is write a letter to myself. This letter is part affirmation, part promise, part “to do” list. Writing it daily (not copying, writing it…there’s a difference) programs my brain to reinforce my goals, while putting a task list in front of me.
Each completed task is a success, each success helps keep the darkness at bay.
And each day, it feels like I’m getting a little better. Maybe even 1%.