I’m having so much fun hearing from people about how they’re trying out the Tranquility by Tuesday rules!
Rule #4 is that “Three times a week is a habit.” The idea is that things don’t have to happen daily in our lives in order to count. We’re best off examining the week — 168 hours — as a whole, and seeing if we can do something often rather than always. I maintain that anything happening three times a week can be part of your identity.
So, to follow Rule #4, you need to think about an activity that you’d like to have be a frequent part of your life, and see if you can do that thing three times a week. Many times, people find they are already doing this activity once or even twice a week, it just feels infrequent because they’re looking at individual days, and they don’t have a target number for how often they should be doing it. The beauty of this rule is that I give an answer. Three!
Anyway, a few folks have asked what sorts of activities best fit this rule. I’d say the answer is anything that you enjoy and that you think adds value to your life, but that you don’t necessarily do as often as you think you “should” (whatever that means).
For me, the answer is run, play the piano, and eat family meals. I aim to do each of those things at least three times per week.
Maybe you have activities that are similar to these. Plenty of people might aim to go to the gym (or lift weights, or do yoga) three times per week (Rule #3 is about getting little bits of physical activity but that’s different from full formal workouts).
They might aim to practice a musical instrument or some other skill (like a language). They might do some sort of creative activity, like journaling three times per week, or writing “morning pages” three times per week, or painting three times a week. It could be a hobby like knitting or scrapbooking or woodworking. Or maybe you want to cook more, and so you aim to cook three times per week.
I think relationships can benefit from this “three times a week is a habit” mindset too — hence my inclusion of family meals. It might be getting one on one time with a kid, or connecting with a friend in some fashion. Some people might aim to do spiritual activities three times per week (building a relationship with the divine…), like reading a sacred text, or following a devotional prompt.
Now, I know with that last one, some folks might think, well, if it’s a priority, shouldn’t it be daily? And certainly you could decide to do something daily. I write my 100 words and read my Shakespeare daily. Back when I was doing my running streak, I ran daily. But when your life is complex, and contains many moving parts, it can be really hard to do something every single day. Often, aiming for three times a week is far more doable, and allows a habit to be part of your life as life actually is, not in some perfect version where nothing ever goes awry. It might be quite doable to pray daily, but if your goal is reading a sacred text for 15-20 minutes, that’s the sort of thing that might feel more feasible at a three times a week pace.
A few folks also asked how this is different from Rule #7: Take one night for you. Since we’re talking about adding fun stuff to life, aren’t both these rules getting at the same thing?
In a sense, yes, but Rule #7 is ideally about making a commitment to something that happens at a specific time, like a choir, a softball team, a tennis class, a volunteer gig. Rule #4 can be fulfilled by things that are more flexible or require less time. You could sing in a choir as Rule #7, but practice singing three times per week as Rule #4.
What activities are you focusing on for Rule #4: Three times a week is a habit?
In other news: I was a guest on Jon Acuff’s All it Takes is a Goal podcast this week! We talked finite schedules and infinite possibilities. It was great fun talking to Jon, so please check it out!
I was also on Becky Robinson of Weaving Influence’s The Book Marketing Action Podcast last week. Many books in, I’ve learned a few things about building platforms and trying to convince people to buy books. Probably not as much as I’d like to learn (have you bought a copy yet?) but maybe my tips will be helpful for other authors.