Dreams, goals, and habits

There’s no hard and solid line separating dreams, goals and habits, but here’s a useful distinction: Goals are dreams with data. They can be quantified and measured. Habits are specific actions performed in response to a specific trigger or cue. For a long time, I included “Simplification” among my daily habits. There were days when I

Unfinished projects

Every now and then, life hands you an opportunity to reevaluate your views and habits. Of course, at the time, these events usually look more like a crisis than an opportunity, A few years back, I went to a new optometrist for a routine checkup. He handed me a disturbing diagnosis: I had macular degeneration,


One of the most insidious habits, and one of the hardest to shed, is the tendency to keep adding more. It’s hard to resist adding that extra work project, one more class, another PTA committee, more after-school activities, two new social media sites. More is better. Except that it really isn’t. Over-committing can be just

Pruning a shrubby life

A few years ago, while I was working through the middle novel of a trilogy, my editor observed that I tend to write “shrubby plots.” Though I hate to admit it, this was a fair critique. There are so many potential plot complications, so many possible subplots, so many fascinating secondary and minor characters with

Paying down debt

Computer programmers have a concept of “technical debt,” also known as “design debt.” The basic idea is that coding errors need to be fixed as you go, or they will “accrue interest” and be harder to pay off down the road. This idea makes a great deal of sense in many areas of life. When