I'm successfully changing my habits to achieve my goals.
I've studied Chinese for a few years, but want to better understand things I hear and read. For the next few months, it's intensive Mandarin study.
I've already adjusted my weekly schedule to give me more reading time, up from four hours a week to about ten. I've finally gotten into a routine with flashcards -- the secret turned out to be a solid leather wallet to hold them in. Audio remains a daily habit, while walking.
Right now I'm doing review of New Practical Chinese Reader 3. A year ago I thought I could breeze through it, but it has a lot of vocabulary, over a thousand characters, and I'm still learning from it. In June I expect to start NPCR 4, and will take it chapter-by-chapter this time, a week (or two) on each.
I'm working very hard on it. It's fascinating, and I want to improve.
Travel plans are in early stage for a visit to Beijing in October. I want to stay near Tiantan and see the skill-arts culture there -- each morning, many many people doing tai chi, diabolos, ribbons, fan dancing, Tai Chi Sword -- I saw my first rope dart practitioner there, and in other parts saw good stick manipulators. I've read that parts of Qianmen have been unaffected by the renovation in front of the gate, and want to explore what remains more deeply. Evenings I want to see more of the Back Lakes area. I've also never been to Three Gorges, but I'm not yet sure what state it will be in during October.
For manipulation, I'm having great fun with a normal half-height crook cane, and a three-quarter-height rope with a weight on each end. Hanbo and jo, but one rigid one soft, one using compression the other using tension. The fifty-inch "meteor" from HomeOfPoi.com has nice thick rope, smooth, and a monkeyfist knot at each end. It likes many of the shifting-grip techniques found in Japanese jo work -- both are the same height, up to your armpit. With the rope folded it can also be used for single-poi manipulations. With the cane in the other hand there are sinawali weaves. Wraps can be performed at a distance from the body, and the cane's hook can catch the rope for sudden direction changes. Very fruitful combination.