Do you have any bad habits? I definitely do. But I’m not talking nail biting or eating too much candy (did the picture fool you??). Mine are probably equally as common, but no less frustrating.
I recently read the book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, and it was so fascinating to think about how these scientific studies that focused on rats actually mirrored my own life pretty well. The human brain, and the rodent brain — more similar than we’d like to admit, right? What really struck me about some of the studies discussed was how making the tiniest changes in one’s life can have an enormous impact on other parts. It’s all about changing up your cues, so that things become second nature.
Here are three habits I’m currently trying to work on:
1. Not drinking enough water. This is a big one for me. I’m really bad about waking up in the morning, and immediately diving into whatever I want to work on that day. I never eat breakfast, and a lot of days don’t bother making tea (and I NEVER drink coffee in the morning). I’ve realized that some days, I’ll go until noon or 1pm before eating or drinking anything. The eating part never really bothered me, but the liquid…I tend to totally dehydrate myself. The older I’ve gotten, the more I notice it, especially in how much energy I have, how well I sleep, and most (vain) of all, how my skin looks. I recently read in Cameron Diaz’s new health book that she started putting a bottle of water by her bathroom sink every night, so when she woke up in the morning and walked in, it was one of the first things she saw. That little change — the visual cue, really — is what caused her to change her habit, and begin every day by drinking a big amount of water. I’ve been trying something similar by using the time Lucy is eating her breakfast to challenge myself to chug an entire glass of water. It’s working about half the time, so I think I need a stronger cue. Cameron’s just might be the ticket.
2. Wasting time on the Internet. I mean, I’m not alone in this right? I’m in the middle of a project, working on something, and somehow get distracted and end up spending an hour dicking around and looking at nothing. So far, this has been one habit that has been hardest to break, because if you’re online doing other types of work, you’re already IN your browser, so it’s super accessible. Any tips on this? Does anyone know of any non-permanent website “lock out” apps or other good tools that can help with this problem? Similarly, the email vortex is a big part of this too. For a while I didn’t open my Inbox until certain hours of the day, just to avoid falling into an email time trap. But some days, you need your Inbox to reference past discussions, so not opening the tab didn’t work for me. I’ll keep experimenting with this one!
3. Leaving clothes around the house. I’m a pretty clean person when it comes to literal, biological cleanliness of things. Like, I can’t stand a dirty shower, sink, or toilet. But I won’t lie, I’m the messiest when it comes to STUFF. I’m pretty bad about leaving things around the house, and clothes are worst of all. I thought I had solved the problem by ordering a bunch of baskets from Serena and Lily to strategically place in my office, bathroom and bedroom…but then what ended up happening is I would let mounds of clothes get stuffed into these baskets, and not deal with them for weeks on end. They were out of sight, out of mind — until I was looking for one blouse or pair of pants in particular, and had to riffle through 5 different baskets! Recently, I changed cues by completely removing those baskets from the places that get the worst pile ups (like my bathroom…I would end up with a pile of clothes stacked up a couple feet high, which in a Manhattan bathroom DOES. NOT. WORK. Like I said, I’m really bad about this.). So now, I’ll actually move clothes into the hamper in our laundry (where they belong anyway), or at the very worst, back into one basket that’s in our bedroom, so they’re at least near my closet. Even if they still end up in a basket in the bedroom, I’ve found I’m more likely to put them away either on the spot or within a day or two, just because they’re all in a centralized location.
Those are the three habits I’m currently working on changing. They’re all things that will improve my home life, work life, and health, so I figure they’re worthwhile to address! I’m curious for you to read The Power of Habit and see what you think (check out the author Q&A on the Amazon page — that alone is pretty interesting). And more importantly, what are some habits in your life you’d like to adjust?
Image Credit: Chaz Cruz Photography via Style Me Pretty