Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Here's To Habits

I've been reading Gretchen Rubin's latest book, Better Than Before: Mastering The Habits Of Our Everyday Lives. It's interesting because it takes a slightly unusual approach to the whole subject of habits. She discusses topics such as why different people have different approaches to forming habits, strategies to help you keep your habits, and - particularly interesting to me right now - how life events and/or timing can
boost your chances of making a new habit stick.

We're moving into a new house (T minus 10 days, ACK!) and a new school year is approaching. There will be chaos for a while, but I think it would be great to take advantage of this time of change to build some healthier and more satisfying routines. I'm talking about things like:
  • sleep. I never get enough. I need to build a bedtime routine that starts at a sensible hour and doesn't lead to me staying up too late, mindlessly reading the same Facebook posts over and over or - my big downfall - popping onto Pinterest
  • snacking. Yeah. Enough said. 
  • morning routines. Right now, I waste way too much time reading email, checking the news and weather - both okay in themselves - but then surfing over to Facebook, playing a word game, etc etc. 

And there are more. Many more. Trust me on this.


Thanks to the book, I have an idea of what kind of habit keeper I am (I am most likely to complete a task when it's for someone else, not myself) and I have some strategies I can use to help me stick to my goals. For example, I have software on my computer that locks me out of the Internet for as long as I choose. I can set that to activate every night so I don't fall to the lure of Pinterest. (Yes, I could still view it on my phone, but needing to take that extra step will give me time to remember that I need to be on my way to bed.) My new office will be in the basement and the kitchen is upstairs, so as long as I maintain a No Food In The Office rule, I can cut down on the cupboard wandering. (If nothing else, I'll have to climb a set of stairs when I want to eat something.) The morning .... hmm. Still working on that. But you know, it's probably best to start with the other two first anyway, right?

So that's the plan: move in, get the kids back to school, head down New Habit road. But before I begin, I'd love to know what habits you might want to take up (or break). Or if you have a success story, please share! I'll give a $10 (US) gift card to the online bookstore of your choice to one commenter (winner to be announced August 14), so don't be shy!

13 comments:

Evelyn said...

I should probably stop opening social media everyday. It's taking up much of my time and I want to try to break that habit.

Mary Preston said...

I am such a creature of habits already. I dare not take up any new ones.

For example; I am trying to lose a bit of weight, so when I grocery shop I MUST stick to the list. That's one habit I want to stay with. So far, so good.

Kirsten said...

Eat less sugar, I have a weakness for chocolate & I intend to replace it. By making the time I would spend raiding the cupboard, snacking to reading a romantic book. Also a weakness of mine but good for the waistline & soothing to the soul.

Laney4 said...

Am working on going to bed around the same time every night, haven't snacked in the evening since last year (so that one is doing well), no soft drinks in over 3 years (yet I still miss my Pepsi), but the hardest one is snacking in the afternoons....

Charlotte said...

I made the new habit of reading a romance novel for 1/2 hour each day before sleeping. Always been fond of reading. But I used to be surfing on the internet & could not always fall asleep quickly because of it. Great to have more readingtime and if I have a paperback it saves electricity aswell => extra money to buy more books ;D

Claire McEwen said...

Great post, Kris! A habit I've gotten rid of is dessert and any snacking after dinner. I have a cup of herb tea instead. And I have made myself go to bed a lot earlier as well. I have many bad habits that I still need to work on, but it's nice to have made these couple changes!

Dana Nussio said...

Great ideas, Kris. I need the name of the software that locks you out of the Internet. I NEED that! Regarding the food thing, wherever I write, I always bring snacks (like veggies since I will eat anything next to me), something to drink (usually water and coffee) and hand lotion (you know how dry hands get when you're writing :). Then I use a kitchen timer set for 15 minutes. I am only allowed to write during that time. I write down the progress and try to beat it in the next 15 minutes.

Colleen C. said...

I stay away from all of the social media sites, except for author blogs... I also limit myself to 2-3 hours of internet time a day.

Laurie I said...

I really need to break the habit of researching anything and everything that I get interested in!! With the Internet always at the ready, I find myself looking up all sorts of things and it's so time consuming. One good habit I acquired is reading books while on my exercise bike. I'm beginning to associate the pleasure of reading with exercise, so that's a good thing.

holdenj said...

It sounds interesting, it is harder than we think to both create and break habits! I would love to get back into a better habit of going to the gym, where it comes naturally and isn't something I have to plan for too much. Good luck with your move!
And thanks for the chance to win!

kris said...

Evelyn, oh, I share your social media pain. So addictive!

Mary, are you available to teach lessons? Please?

Kirsten, that is an EXCELLENT pleasure swap!

Laney, wow, those are some impressive results!

Charlotte, that is my kind of habit :-)

Claire, I love the thought of herbal tea. The challenge is being able to sit down and enjoy it ..

Dana, it's called Freedom. WORTH. EVERY. PENNY. (Especially as it doesn't cost a lot.) Love the way you challenge yourself!

Colleen, you are a strong, strong woman.

Laurie, oh yes, the lure of the internet ... but WTG on pairing the bike with reading!

Holdenj, oh, yes, the gym is absolutely habit-driven, isn't it? Thanks for your good wishes. We'll need them!

bn100 said...

waking up early to exercise

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

kris said...

Oh yeah. Getting up to exercise DEFINITELY takes lots of habit-tude!

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