Today is my dad's birthday. He is a sweet person. A lovely father. A great man. I love him so much. I came home early – bought him his favorite sugar cookies (actually they weren't his favorite but they were close enough to his favorite that I thought he'd enjoy them anyway). Gave him a big hug. We're about to go to temple. He's a sweet person. I love him.

What I'm thinking about today is that I want better habits. Habits make a person. I mean, not really, because habits come and go, and I don't think a person is necessarily just what they do, but actions are important. They definitely play a role in how a person thinks about themselves. Good habits can put you in a position to be really happy or really sad.

My habits aren't terrible. I have a good morning routine. I used to not. I used to wake up and lay around in bed for several hours, looking for an excuse to do something with my life – unsurprisingly excuses to do good things are far and few between. Now, I try to wake up right away, brush, drink water, go on a run, eat a banana, shower, meditate, do flashcards from school – something like that, generally. I think it gives me good momentum to be productive in the morning, it gives me internal locus of control, I feel like I control my destiny.

Recently, my routine after work has been pretty poor. I mean, it's okay – beating yourself up never helps, but I think there's room for change. Right now, I come directly home, eat dinner, play some guitar, watch Succession, and go to sleep. I rarely will shoot anything or do anything creative. I used to do exposure therapy everyday after work. I haven't done an exposure in weeks.

My evening routine isn't terrible but it also doesn't make me excited. I'm not challenging myself in anyway. It feels like it puts me in a rut. When I do exposures and push my comfort zone, I gain confidence and trust myself more. Action breeds action. It's weird, but by not doing exposures, I've found my fear response to be heightened even in normal situations. Or I feel more anxious even doing relatively easy things like talking to a coworker or a random person when I really need to. Or making good decisions for myself.

Whenever I plan that I'm going to get back into doing exposures, the next day I always seem to fail. Well at least the last couple of times I've planned to do exposures, this has happened. So what is different here is that ... Well nothing is different. But I'm going to do it.

For mind straws, I'm going to change their meaning to just be any creative activity. I'm going to post a creative thing every single day. For any part of my routine, I don't want to miss two days in a row. Even if it's something small. I want to defeat my perfectionism. I want to trust myself more. I'm getting hyped. I got this.

Mind Straw #14: August 9, 2023