App Review: Persimmon

The Basics

The premise of this app is that you set up an affirmation in each of seven life areas*. You then use the app in the morning to focus on your seven goals for twenty seconds each. At the end of your day, you are asked to answer yes or no to the question “Did your actions move you closer to your goal?” If you indicate yes, you can write down what steps you took or what you achieved.

*The 7 areas are: career & business; finance; spirituality; health & fitness; learning & creativity; love & relationships; family & friends.

The Positives

+ I like the simple design.

+ You can tweak or edit your goals at any time.

+ The app prompts you to close your eyes and visualize for 20 seconds in each section, so I don’t have to worry about timing myself, or think about how long I should visualize for.

+ If you use the app as indicated twice a day, you are forced to think about what you did during the day to further your goal. This brings an element of personal accountability to the app, too.

The Negatives

  • It only shows a log for the previous 5 days.
  • As far as I know, I can’t go back and check the evening log of what I did on a particular day to work toward my goals. I’d like to be able to access that record.
  • More photos to choose from within the app would be helpful, and make it easier to get up and running in the beginning.
  • There is no alarm or notification to nudge me to use this app. I could solve this easily by setting an alarm myself, but having it linked to the app would make me less likely to ignore a generic alarm.

Recommended for…

People who’d like an easy, user-friendly introduction to affirmations and visualization.

My 2 yen

I still get distracted from time to time – nothing to do with the app. I’m still working on making visualization a daily habit. Some days and some goals are easier to visualize than others, but I plan to continue using this app for another few months, at least. At that point, I may try out another app to see what else is available out there. If anyone has recommendations, I’m all ears 🙂

Seven goals is a lot to handle. I think this app is probably more effective when your goals cover just a couple of life areas. Even though I have written a goal for each of the seven life areas in the app, they all relate to two overarching goals: my family and my writing. Any more than that, and I might have given up by now!

Practical Details

Available on iTunes. Free.$2.99.

Languages: English, Russian.

UPDATE: As of March 21st 2016, the app now costs $2.99

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/persimmon-reach-7-goals-in/id929209003?mt=8

Using Gretchen Rubin’s Strategy of Convenience to Blast through my Resistance

Longstanding conversation between me and my Inner Critic [aka, a reality check I don’t really want to acknowledge]

ME: I want to declutter the junk room in my house.

INNER VOICE: I think I’ve heard that somewhere before…a million times!

ME: I will declutter the junk room in my house.

INNER VOICE: Yeah, really? When is that going to happen?

ME: I am decluttering the junk room in my house.

INNER VOICE: Now, you that affirmations only work when there’s a bit of elbow grease involved, right?

ME: Sigh…

What is it about this project? I’ve been saying I want to declutter the junk room in our house for the last few years, so I obviously have quite a bit of resistance to the task. If I sold or passed on some books and clothes, it would clear the way for me to arrange the items that need to be in the room. Until I do that, I’m not even sure how much space there would be available to use it as a study area/ guestroom/ craft space… So many ideas, and so little motivation to get working on what needs to be done. Why?

Recently, I re-read the chapter called “Strategy of Convenience” in Gretchen Rubin’s latest work, Better Than Before. I had put the strategy to good use in other, smaller areas of my life, but I hadn’t thought about using it to tackle this huge, daunting project.

In a completely-fed-up-with-the-situation mood, I took pen to paper and started to write out the reasons, excuses and feeble inventions of my imagination that were keeping me from taking action.

I want to sell some books, clothes and other items, but…

1. I’ve never posted anything for sale online before, so I don’t know how much time it will take to deal with questions etc.

2. I’m afraid I’ll make mistakes and make someone angry!

3. I always forget to take photos of the items during the day while the light is better.

4. It’s a pain in the neck to write up descriptions and decide on asking prices.

5. It takes a long time to post the messages (I guess?!)

6. I don’t know how to work out the postage costs to add to the advertisements.

7. I don’t have all the supplies I need to wrap up the packages.

8. I hate it when I have to go to the post office. It’s far from my house and located in an inconvenient place.

Oops…not much positivity there! Maybe I should just trash the whole lot and be done with it?! I have considered that option, but I hate the thought of wasting perfectly good books and clothes more than the thought of doing all that work. Or do I…? Hmm…

Now, my task is to work out how to make all these objections more convenient and manageable. The Holy Grail would be to make them more pleasant to carry out, so that I will finally be able to reclaim the junk room – although I feel that’s a very big ask. Let’s see!

Numbers 1 and 2 can be summed up as fear of the unknown. Well, I’ve been here before. I’m pretty sure I have the T-shirt. Intellectually, I know there is nothing to be scared of. The only way to conquer the fear is to dive in and just get on with it. As for making these objections more convenient, I’m going to break the project down into a series of manageable steps. I’ll commit those to paper, so I don’t have to waste any brainpower in thinking about what I have to do next.

3. The next time I think “Oh no, it’s too late to take photos,” I’ll get a pile of books together and put them on the kitchen table. That way, I’ll be reminded to do the task as soon as possible after breakfast.

4. To make the experience a more pleasant one, I’ll keep a tally of how many items I put up for sale, and give myself a reward for every batch of 10. The reward may or may not be a food item – chocolate is a pain-reliever after all 😉

5. In order to cut down on the time required, I’ll make a template for the information I need to include in the descriptions.

6. I’ll check the Post Office website for pricing information. I’ll also ask a few people I know who have plenty of experience in selling online for their recommendations on how to go about the process, the best way to ship books versus clothes etc.

7. Actually, I probably do have a lot of what I need. What I should do is gather all the bits and pieces together in one place, so that I don’t have to go searching for things when the time comes.

8. This is kind of a cheat. I do hate going to the post office, but if I use my lunch hour to go to the one near my work, it’s really not so inconvenient. On the days, I need to go to the post office, I’ll prepare a quick, easy-to-eat lunch so I’ll have plenty of time available. I may work in another reward here for after I’ve finished a dreaded post office trip!

Phew! The list still needs a bit of work, but I’ve seen through some of my flimsy excuses already. That wasn’t quite as hard as I expected. Hopefully, I’ll be able to say the same of my decluttering project!

2016 Resolution Updates: January

If you’ve read Resolution Evolution for Moms, you know I don’t hold with the idea of annual resolutions. Instead, my preferred time frame is 3 months or 90 days, give or take a few.

For 2016, I didn’t even want to hold myself to a 3-month-long resolution, because another little monkey is set to join our household in this Year of the Monkey, so I want to leave my time fairly free and easy. Pregnancy can be unpredictable, and I don’t want to stress out over a resolution toward the end of it when I may or may not be in full-blown nesting mode.

 

I obviously can’t help myself when it comes to goal-setting, though, so I have been working through some small and not so small habits in January, trying them on for size.

 

The secret to my success (and so far it has been very successful) is a family calendar which I found in our local discount shop. It has space for 6 family members to input who is doing what on any particular date. I’m sure this is really helpful for families with slightly older children than ours, but I decided to take over all 6 spaces to record a simple yes/ no checklist of whether I had done something related to a specific habit or behaviour each day.

 

There were a few I wanted to tick off every single day, if possible. These were easy behaviours which should only take seconds, like stretching first thing in the morning when I wake up, drinking a glass of water before I have my morning coffee and follow it up with another glass after breakfast. There’s nothing groundbreaking here, but I wanted to nudge myself into drinking more water, and stretching always makes me feel good, so I wonder why I don’t do it more often.

 

The other behaviours were not things I expected to accomplish every single day, although if I did, I would be happy about that. I just wanted to tally how many times in a month I could get around to those things. My expectation was that thinking about the behaviours I wanted to adopt in advance, writing them out on the calendar, and having that calendar in plain sight every day would mean that I would carry them out more often than I would otherwise, with no help from a visual reminder.

 

In this category, I included Making Connections with friends and family. I love connecting with friends and the energy boost it brings me, but sometimes a few days go by and I realise I still haven’t sent that email I composed in my head to a close friend, for example. Another section was for Writing and Promotion. I released Resolution Evolution for Moms at the end of December, so I had a lot of work to do promotion-wise in January. I would have done this regardless, but it feels so good to check off something off your list, doesn’t it? 😉 It also kept me accountable to this goal of mine, of getting a book out into the world, which started off as one of my resolutions for 2015.

 

I scheduled my own version of a squat challenge for January with a rest day every three days. There was a rough patch mid-month, but because it was on the calendar, I couldn’t conveniently forget about it. I ended up missing out on 4 days overall for the month, with another couple of days where I didn’t get to my target. Instead, I did a small number of squats as a placeholder. The part of my brain that gets off on ticking off those boxes was convinced I had done my quota for the day, and was ready to remind me to do the same again the following day.

 

Another section which I knew wouldn’t get filled in every day was “Celebrate!” It’s my watchword for 2016. I alluded above to the biggest celebration of all for us this year, the arrival of an already much-loved baby. Apart from that, I have a milestone birthday staring me in the face, along with the intention of celebrating the people I love, and the seasonal events I love. This year, I want to take the time to celebrate the little everyday little things that I might not notice as much if I didn’t have this notion firmly at the back of my mind.

 

So here you go, the before and after of the latest tool in my resolution arsenal. I present…the family calendar 🙂