Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Word #1: Parsimonious

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a link to my day zero page.  I'm slowly building my way towards a longer list, but while I'm at it, I figured I might as well start chipping away at some of these goals.  Goal #17:  Learn 50 new words. So here it is, the inaugural word of the week:


I've seen this word around.  Parsimonious and I run in different circles, but we see each other at intervals.  I've always assumed it meant something sensual or luxurious.  The word rolls off the tongue with such grace that it just exudes a natural pleasure.  I was a bit surprised to learn its true meaning: 

Of a person: characterized by or using parsimony; tight-fisted, mean. In early use also in positive sense: thrifty, frugal; (of a person's expenditure) economical, sparing.

In extended use, of a person or thing: sparing in the giving or using of something abstract, as emotion, good fortune, words, etc.

Of a thing: poor, meagre, scanty; spec. (of land) unproductive, barren.

Of a scientific hypothesis or explanation (esp. a phylogenetic tree): assuming the simplest state, process, evolutionary pathway, etc., that is consistent with the facts or observations; in accordance with the law or principle of parsimony.

Of the functioning of an organism or natural system: exhibiting economy of action, effort, or process
(definitions courtesy of Oxford English Dictionary, online version)

Tight-fisted, sparing, unproductive, barren.  Blech.  What a mood this sets, eh?  And yet, I find it liberating to inadvertently pick this word at the beginning of a project.  You have to fight your worst habits in order to build new, healthy ones, so why not begin a task by learning about its antithesis? 

Hello to you, Parsimonious.  Hope I don't run across you too often! 



Thursday, July 19, 2012

Lessons Learned

I've been sitting around over-thinking things, unable to actually post because my brain is too full of thoughts for any real action to settle in.  Last night I worked myself up into a bit of a creative straightjacket, and was *thisclose* to just giving up on writing entirely.  I went to bed feeling completely fed up and stymied.  And then I woke up to this text:

For all my creative friends:  "Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion.  You must first set yourself on fire" -Fred Shero

Sometimes the world just needs to smack you upside the head in order to get you thinking straight.

I'm so grateful to know people who can simply intuit when a life lesson is needed.  I'm so ready to set myself aflame.

Saturday, July 7, 2012


I spent most of this morning flat on my stomach on the living room carpet with Obj. #4, piles of brightly colored foam shapes surrounding us, exploring the wonder of patterns ("Look, red square, blue circle, red square, blue circle, what should we put next?") and listening to her squeal excitedly whenever she figured out a new sequence.  It's always fun to watch a 3-year-old problem solve, and the rush of discovery that flashes spontaneously across her face make my big old heart swell.  I also started thinking a lot about patterns: how they come into being, what purposes they serve, how I have a tendency to equate "pattern" with "boredom", and how big a role they play in my life as a parent.  I still fight the tide when it comes to recognizing that my days are set into a familiar rhythm, and I still try to shake things up (sometimes completely without reason) to the dismay of my habitual daughter.

That being said, I do want to incorporate new and better habits into my routine.  I'm forever trying to sort out how I can adapt a behavior and make it stick.  I don't know if it's my motivation level, boredom, or that I haven't yet found the right system, but most of these patterns tend to get lost in the shuffle.  So, I've been looking around for fun ways to accomplish this that help keep me on task while still letting me play around aimlessly on my iPhone:

The Habit Factor- is an iPhone app that lets you set up goals, upload photos, write an explanation for each goal, and then chart your habits on a calendar.  The app keeps track of your running streaks, provides motivational quotes, and helps you prioritize different entries.  It's also got a clean and fairly attractive interface, as far as these apps go.

Way of Life-  Although I'm not a big fan of the color scheme (don't know if this is customizable?  Maybe it can be altered), I can totally nerd out on the pie charts and bar graphs.  Fun way to analyze your habits, although this might facilitate more procrastination.

TeuxDuex- This is more of a list-making tool than a habit former, but I love the classic design and simple formatting of this app.  Available on your website browser, as well as your iPhone, this is a stylish way to keep track of your days.

StickK- Some people work better under pressure, and we've all watched enough Ultimate Poker Challenge to know that nothing puts the pressure on quite like a wager.  With this website, you state your goal and how much you're willing to gamble on achieving results.  Clearly this works, there are over $10 million dollars at stake on the site.

Do It (tomorrow)- If I had an Android, I would be smitten.  This is a beautiful list-making, day-tracking app, and if you don't love having the option to put something off for later, then I'm not so sure we can be friends.

Day Zero-  Again, this website isn't about habit forming, but it is insanely fascinating and can cause you to lose many hours that you won't ever get back.  This site is a "life list" (a term I prefer infinitely more to the infamous "bucket list") with a deadline.  Choose 100 goals that you would like to achieve in 1001 days.  You can choose to make yours public, or keep it to yourself.  See what others are doing, and discover new goals with the "Idea Finder".  I just opened mine, you can help keep me accountable here.  Let me know if you start one, I'd love to see your own lists!!