Habits, revisited


It’s that time of year again. Okay, it’s about two weeks after that time of year. But, hey! If you were going to make New Year’s resolutions, you’ve already made them and have some sense of how well they’re working out for you.

I don’t make ’em, or not exactly. I do try to find behaviors that work well for me and to eliminate bad ones. I don’t limit that strategy to once a year, though. I do find myself thinking, come January, what’s worked out for me. Lately I’ve had encouraging success with adding new, good behavior, though I’m a bit iffy on getting rid of ones that are less positive. Ah well, each of us special little snowflakes is a work-in-progress.

Regarding habit change, I’ve mentioned books and web sites on this blog that I’ve found helpful. If you’re interested, here are a few links:

Here’s one I haven’t mentioned before. A guy named Drew Hendricks lists 6 things you should do when you first get up in the morning. I’ve been following most of his suggestions for the last 2-3 months, and I think he may be on to something.

At any rate, I’ve developed a few habits well enough to be convinced of their efficacy. What do I mean by that? I mean I’m writing more. I’m also accomplishing more of my non-writing tasks. So, huzzah!

In case you’re interested, here are some habits that work for me:

  • A morning routine which is my own variation of Drew Hendricks’ suggestions:
    1- No screen time for 15 minutes,
    2- Drinking room temperature water first thing; also holding off on coffee for half an hour,
    3- Getting out of bed in such a way that I don’t hurt myself,
    4- Setting three (and no more than three!) feasible goals for the day,
    5- Stretching, and
    6- Meditating. Yes! Meditating! I couldn’t seem to stick to it for the longest time, but I’ve worked up to doing it 15 minutes every morning. Who knows, one of these days I may add an evening session as well.
  • Exercise 4-6 days a week. Mens sana in corpore sano, after all.
  • Writing. I may not write fiction or a blog post daily, but at the very least I make a journal entry. Every day.
  • Making the bed.

That last one surprises even me. I used to think only martinets or uncreative people or other judgmental sticks-in-the-mud worried about making their beds. After all, you’re just going to mess it up again, right? However, I have reconsidered. I’ve heard bed-making referred to as a cornerstone habit. That means it’s one of those habits (exercise is another one) that leads to other good habits. For me, it makes it unlikely that I’ll climb back in and/or stay in my pjs all day.

So those are my positive habits, the ones that help me get things done and generally feel like a worthwhile member of society. Most days.

What works for you? I’d love to read about it in the comments.


6 thoughts on “Habits, revisited

  1. Stephen P. Bianchini

    Interesting list. My routine for the morning would necessarily include taking care of my son and forget about the bed (the two things don’t go together) and then have a look at the space news of the day when sipping my coffee…when it’s not raining a long walk would be next in that list, but in the UK is less frequent than I would like.

    1. brennancm Post author

      Interesting that you should mention your son. As I wrote, I remembered how much more difficult it is to get oneself organized and focused in the morning when there are children in the house who need tending. Mine are old enough now that it’s not usually an issue.
      And I also love to walk or bike–when weather permits.

  2. Steve

    I’ve been doing my morning habits for so long I don’t know if I can change them now.

    1. Jolted awake by my sins.
    2. Chew my way through half a bag of unground coffee beans.
    3. Scream at the hallucinations.
    4. Make lists (who has wronged me, how I will exact my revenge, groceries, the usual stuff)
    5. Take daughter to the bus stop
    6. Vomit
    7. Listen to Carpenter’s records and cry until I pass out.

    Your method sounds nice though.


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