New habits during new beginnings

I just read that a change in circumstance can be a good time to start new habits. I’m hoping moving will provide me with the opportunity to get a strong start with some new habits.

I realized today that the new habits aren’t going to just magically appear. I need to plan ahead for what new habits I want to instill. I came up with these for starters: make my bed every morning, do a Ten Minute Tidy every evening, immediately pick up clothes left on the bathroom floor after showering, don’t let clothes pile up on the bedroom chair, don’t let dishes pile up in the sink, go through my paper piles (mainly mail) everyday.

Interesting that most of those things have to do with piles of something. Clothes, dishes, paper. Yep, I’m still a Piler. I need to keep in mind the idea that Pilers need to contain their piles. The dishwasher can act as a pile container for dishes and glassware. A laundry basket can also be a pile container. Maybe I can get a cute little basket to set on the counter where I’ll put my mail, with the goal to have the basket emptied by the end of the day.

A new start can also disrupt well-established habits because daily routines can be different in a new place. So I’ll need to guard against that happening. Also, if I don’t have an idea of what new habits I want to instill, I think I’ll just slip into new habits in the new house which won’t necessarily be positive habits if I don’t choose the habits ahead of time.

Also, instead of saying “don’t do” something, I think I’m going to need to rethink it into what’s the positive step or habit I need to do in order to accomplish the “don’t do it” goal. For example, don’t leave clothes on the bedroom chair becomes make a decision about what to do with the clothing by either hanging clothes up, putting them in a drawer, or tossing them in the laundry basket. The chair is essentially the “Chair of Indecision.” I need to make decisions about the clothes that would normally end up in the pile.

I’ll be without internet for a few days, so I might be in a place to establish new online habits, too. Like not playing Scrabble as much. 🙂

Tie a new habit to an existing one

“When scheduling a new habit, it helps to tie it to an existing habit.” – Gretchen Rubin

I wanted to get in the habit of writing in my journal every day. I take my mid-day break from work sitting at a table by a window where it’s sunny, relaxing, well-lit, and comfortable. I thought to myself, “What if I tie my daily break with my journaling?” So, as a test, I started leaving my journal out on the table with it open to the next page and an uncapped pen ready to go. I was so surprised. It was almost magical. I’d sit down at the table with my coffee and immediately pick up the pen and start writing.

I do find I have trouble writing in my journal on days off, though, because I don’t have that built-it habit of sitting at the table. But five out of seven days is awesome!

I also tied in keeping a tiny gratitude journal. At the top of every page when I’m getting started, I list three things I’m grateful for. Then I start journaling.

It works for me. 🙂

My journal is just a simple spiral-bound notebook. Nothing fancy. And I don’t set a goal for how much writing to do or what to write about. I usually just write randomly until my break’s over.

I find that I get all sorts of ideas from this simple journaling practice. Writing ideas. Life ideas. Ideas to share with others. It’s been one of the most fruitful habits I’ve developed this year.

Dieting Loopholes

I was recently reading the book Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin. It deals with the formation of habits. Rubin has a section in the book where she talks about loopholes people use to get out of following or creating good habits. I found while reading that the loopholes all have applications to dieting and eating well. A loophole is a way of thinking we use to excuse ourselves from positive behaviors. If we become aware of the loopholes we use, Rubin says we can stop kidding ourselves.

Moral License — I can be bad, because I’ve been good. I’ve earned it. For example, someone’s been losing weight successfully so they feel it’s okay for a little cheat on their eating plan.

Tomorrow Loophole — I can be bad today because I start my diet tomorrow. It doesn’t matter how much I eat today because I’ll be good tomorrow.

False Choice — I don’t have time to worry about eating well because I’m too busy.

Lack of Control — With everything that’s going on right now, I can’t be expected to stick to good eating habits.

“This Doesn’t Count” — I can eat this treat because it doesn’t count if it’s the holidays or a birthday or a wedding or a one time thing.

Concern for Others — I’ll hurt their feelings if I don’t eat this slice of cake they baked. I’m keeping junk food around the house for other people’s benefit.

Life Affirming — You only live once so why deprive yourself of that slice of cheesecake?

I think I’ve found myself using all of these excuses at one time or another. The loopholes apply to any habit you’re attempting to make in your life, or behavior you’re trying to change. It’s just that the diet ones resonated with me because I’m still following my new meal plan and hoping to make it into a lifelong habit.