Here I am again

and again and again and again.

When I first started this blog, I was trying to work on self-discipline issues. And I still am.

So many things in my life are chaotic because of my lack of self-discipline and inability to form new habits.

I tried to start a bullet journal a couple of times, so that I could do habit tracking. I didn’t even make it one month each time.

I’ve bought lovely planners. Even when I remember to carry them with me, I only use them sporadically.

Right now, I have a list of a few things I’m trying to start. I have managed . .  . 4 days in a row of 3/5 of the list out of the last 2 weeks.

I’m listening to the audible book version of Atomic Habits hoping to use it to help. Clear talks about “habit stacking” – making a small change, then another, then another on top of each other. Which completely makes sense.

Until I start trying to implement it.

I know I’m not unique in this way. I mean, books like Atomic Habits or blogs like Zen Habits wouldn’t exist if I were unique.

But I continually feel overwhelmed trying to start new, healthier habits.

And I look back and see, I was struggling with the same things years ago. My house is not as bad as it was in 2013 when I wrote that, but it still isn’t the way I want it, either.

For right now, I’ve made a chart on a dry erase board for starting a few small things.

  • 15 mins of housework
  • 3 homemade meals
  • 30 mins of study toward a self-study course

I know to some people, making homemade meals and doing a minimal amount of housework sounds. . . piddly? little? bare minimum? But for me, even doing those small things on a regular basis would make a big difference in my life. Making all my own meals would help with both health and cash flow. I tend to do housework in large chunks when I have energy or am motivated. If I did even a little every single day, my environment would be so much nicer.

One thing I did last year that sort of forced me to pay attention to my environment was to start gardening. My apartment complex started a small community garden. Last fall, I took over a plot no one else was tending and planted a bunch of winter veggies as well as tended the perennial herbs I’d planted the year before. Then I went a bit crazy and started a bunch of plants on my porch. It required me to tend them pretty much daily, and I did well for 8 or 9 months. Then I got sick, was sick for about a month, then took another month to fully recover. I couldn’t bend over to fill the watering can or to pour the water. It was depressing and all the plants I started last summer died. I’ve just begun replacing them.

What healthy habits do you have? How did you get them established?

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Image by Zoltan Matuska from Pixabay

2 thoughts on “Here I am again”

  1. How I established my healthy habits- it’s mostly tricks. I’ve tried to notice what works for me, and what doesn’t.
    The first trick is that I accepted that I am a morning person. FlyLady sets up her day the night before but I’m doing good to brush my teeth before bed. My nightly medicne is very hit-or-miss. So I set up my day in the morning. What’s for dinner? Where do I need to be? Usually I take my medicines then. When would be a good time for you to do each of your goals?
    Second trick is to reduce decisions. I eat at the same time every day. I eat the same breakfast almost every morning: fried eggs and coffee. If I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll add veggies to the eggs. I don’t like eggs much, but I noticed that they keep me going until lunch. My wardrobe is also limited. My uniform is jeans with the same accessories almost all the time, so my decisions are limited to “which t-shirt and socks?” I’m currently experimenting with a limited dinner menu. I prefer variety, but that takes decision-making, which is a limited resource for me. Can you decide on a week’s worth of meals? Make up a shopping list, get the ingredients, and then make those meals? You could make the same meals the next week, swapping out the ones that didn’t work well for you, or if you need variety. Is there a way for you to reduce the decision about whether or when you are going to do your habits?
    Third trick is I’m better at keeping appointments with other people than with myself. I walk two days a week because I have a standing date with a friend, and another with a neighbor. I exercise two days a week with someone else. I used to clean house on the phone with a friend who was cleaning her house. Do you need an accountability partner for your 15-minute cleanup or study time?
    Fourth trick is cue-ing aka “habit-stacking.” When I get up from the table, I pick up my dishes and put them in the dishwasher. I’ve done that since I had to put them next to the sink because I didn’t have a dishwasher. I try to put something away when I change rooms. I’ll carry a hair tie or a bedside book or my sweatshirt that I put on the newel post upstairs with me from my office. I’ll bring my empty cup down to the kitchen. (It helps to set it on the table at the top of the stairs.)
    Fifth trick is using wasted time. Recently, I’ve started putting things away and wiping counters while I’m waiting for things to cook. (Sometimes I don’t have the brain power to multi-task, so I have to cook one thing at a time to keep from burning things. So then I just do what I’m doing until I’m done.) I study Spanish on my phone while I’m waiting. I pace during phone calls to get more steps.
    Flylady taught me some tricks. When I found FlyLady, I could NOT “do anything for 15 minutes.” So I cleaned house for 5 minutes. I particularly liked her “You are not behind! I don’t want you to try to catch up; I just want you to jump in where we are. O.K.?” and “Your house didn’t get dirty in a day, it’s not going to get clean in a day.” I don’t beat myself up anymore, I do the things that I can do, and I “start my day over” when I need to. Those were hard and very important “tricks.” There were other things I’ve done that helped me with those attitudes, too. I also like to put my own spin on things–I’m slightly defiant. I only shined my sink twice. I’m grateful to her for being there when I was so depressed, but the sales and prayers are too much for me now.
    Currently, I’m using a very simple star journal. (Exactly like a bullet journal, but less violent.) It fits in my purse. I wrote down my morning routine (best time to get things done for me), so I don’t have to think it up or decide what goes on it. I don’t write down when I complete the morning routine–but I think I’m up to 5/7 days. The last item on my morning routine usually doesn’t get done. I also 5-minute journal in the same book, which is supposed to take 5 minutes in the morning and 5 in the evening. The evening almost never gets done because I’m a morning person. (Maybe if I did it right after dinner?) That’s gratitude, and a quick review of how my day went. The main thing I do in my star journal is write down my tasks for the day, and X the dot when I do them. I put a line through the ones I decide not to do.
    Best wishes for finding the tricks that work for you!

    1. I remember when everyone at That Other Place was into Fly Lady. I could never get past, “Shine your sink” and “wear shoes in your home”.

      Unfuck your habit is similar. I should look into that again.

      One thing I took away from that and from some shows on organization is to put things where you will use them. That is something i am getting better about.

      I have tried to do a nightly journaling thing before, but I am like you at bedtime, I am fighting sleep to do bare minimum preparations.

      Right now, i have a timer set for the evening to make me turn off the t.v., water the plants on the porch, take my meds and either read or write about 60-90 minutes before bed. I would say i am at maybe 3 days a week fulfilling that.

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