I certainly had some “lightbulb moments” looking inside my “Habit” closet after reading Mary’s blog. I almost instantly discovered that I have several long, loose, flowing garments that I enjoy slipping into in the evening. In addition, I found that not all of my other habits are created equal!
Some of my habits produce wonderful results in certain areas while others have disastrous impact on my very best intentions. All of them are tenaciously persistent and are quite reluctant to relinquish their control on my behaviors. After all, habits are rituals and behaviors that we perform automatically, allowing us to carry out essential activities such as brushing our teeth, taking a shower, getting dressed for work, and following the same routes every day without thinking about them. They free up resources for our brains to carry out other more complex tasks like solving problems or deciding what to make for dinner. I seem to have hundreds of them!
As I sorted through them, I picked out those that seemed like my “Top Five Habits.” Three were positive and two were negative. Frequently, they competed with each other for prominence. Exercise, Meditation, Writing as well as Procrastination and Overeating seemed to have considerable influence on my overall wellbeing. Everybody is different and your top five are probably quite different from mine.
I wrote them down with a marker in capital letters at different points on a blank sheet of paper. I drew arrows from one word to another as I discovered a connection that often work at cross-purposes. For example, overeating when stressed by procrastinating negatively influenced my love of getting out in the fresh air and taking a walk. Walking helped clear my head, relax and open my mind to fresh ideas to write about. I became more aware that my most entrenched habits have a significant impact on my daily life. It isn’t just a matter of doing away with the “bad” habits. It is also important to celebrate and practice more often the “good” ones. Focusing more on these key habits seems to be contributing to my overall happiness, productivity, and well-being.
I bet that your most important habits don’t exist in isolation, either. What are your “Top Five” and how do they affect your life? Jot them down, post them where you can see them and work on changing them a bit each day and see what happens.
Learning as I go, Barb
By Heather S August 18, 2022
Dear Barb, I really appreciate the insight about how are habits are connected to each other. My habit of underestimating the influence I have at my job (both for good and for not so good behaviours) means I always reach for food when I have to “make a speech” for work. It’s as if I need to be fortified (made strong) when I don’t feel strong. Never made that connection before. thank you
By Peggy August 17, 2022
I did a thing and didn’t buy a favorite snack, the always delicious no fat licorice. Trying to curb the snacking. Did buy chickpeas to make into baked salt and vinegar chickpea snack . Change is hard, but small steps are doable. Cut and Burni!
By Ruth Singer August 16, 2022
Thank you Barb for a great article I too have some bad habits like everyone else
I do procrastinate at times and should watch my diet more(cut out the Chocolate and sweets)
During our hot spell I have not weighed in as often as I should but with your colunmn as a reminder I will this Friday also as our fresh veggie are now plentiful they are being inco
rporated more into our meals
Thank you again
By Nancy Dominiani August 15, 2022
Hi Barb, I enjoy your writing and sharing it with us! I sm also a writer. My proscrastination is in getting a literary agent and getting published. So I just keep sharing with my friends and relatives.
Other habits are avoiding breakfast and often lunch as I rush out the door to attend to my daily activities. Intermittant fasting? Eh…I think not…no fasting if I gobble everything in sight once I get home in the evening!
I hsve no addictions. I never drink alcohol, or coffee and never smoked (anything). I gave up my dark chocolate addiction…switched it with eating more fruit fresh or frozen.and homemade pickles.
I do have a huge tendency to collect pretty things like plants, hairclips, shells and loads of paperwork which desparately needs to be orgsnized and not stuffed into any still available space.
Volunteering is a habit that I have hsd most of my life. It has served well for various causes, but keaves me with that much less time to pursue creative outlets and entertainment. However, it has enriched my life with lifelong friends.
Among various other communuty activities and Board positions, I am a TOPS Leader and have founded two chapters over the 30 plus years as a TOPS NJ member.
I shall reflect on my habits and see if any should be changed …or could be.