Habits I don’t have (the good and the bad)

photo-295It’s habit week here on the blog. Yesterday, I wrote about habits I do have (the good and the bad). Today I’m looking at habits I don’t have which, as with habits I do have, can be a good or bad thing. In many cases, whether a habit (or its absence) is a good or bad thing is fairly subjective.

I don’t have a TV watching habit. My husband bought a new TV and stereo system recently, and I am not 100% sure how to work it. Fortunately, this isn’t a problem for kid shows, as I just ask my 7-year-old to figure it out. That’s not to say I am a TV abstainer. I currently watch the new episode of My 600 lbs Life each week, and I watch TV on the treadmill if I’m at the gym. I’ll sometimes watch The Daily Show (taped) with my husband. That said, I’m glad that seeing our remote or walking in the living room doesn’t trigger a desire to turn on the TV. It means I do other things (like read, or work). Of course, there are a lot of good TV shows out there. And it’s not like my reading is all high-brow either. There are great TV shows I don’t watch but know about from reading People magazine.

There are a whole slew of housekeeping habits I lack. I don’t meal plan for the week. Sometimes I’ll make a note to try a recipe before I go to the grocery store, so I can buy the ingredients. The slow cooker chicken tikka masala out of this month’s Real Simple was quite good, much better than the version from Shape I tried last week. This past week, I also made the Real Simple slow cooker lamb tagine (see photo). As I edit this, I’m thawing shrimp for their grilled shrimp tacos. (Side note: the recipe round-up in this past month’s issue was one heck of a source for ideas! Between that and the Kat Cole interview last month, I’m becoming a happy reader). But I don’t have a habit of meal planning. I don’t have a habit of picking up the house before bed. I don’t always make my bed in the morning. Perhaps the absence of these habits could be a bad thing, but to me it’s largely a matter of priority. I like to do things like read, and if I picked up the house after the kids went to bed, it would cut into my reading time. Rather than claim I don’t have time to read, I just don’t pick up.

Other habits I lack: I’d like to read a novel a month, but I don’t.

I’m no longer in the habit of playing the piano. This one is frustrating, as I enjoy it, and I went to the trouble of buying a stand and a bench for my keyboard, and putting it in my office. It would be easy to sit down and play. But it’s not really happening right now.

While running is a habit for me, lifting weights is not. I think strength-training would help my overall fitness, so this would be a good habit to adopt.

My husband and I don’t have a regular date night. Or really any couple rituals like having beers on Friday nights after the kids go to bed. We do occasional date nights and in-home couple time but there’s no set time we don’t have to think about.

With all these things, the part of me that writes about goals and life optimization knows that if I truly wanted to make any of these a habit, I could do it. Indeed, just writing this post has inspired a few things this week. I found a sitter to come on Sunday night and my husband and I went to the gym to lift weights, and then we went out to dinner. I accepted an assignment to review a novel, so I will read that work of fiction this month. I’m not sure why I didn’t think of this before. If any editors are reading this who buy fiction reviews, please let me know! As for the piano playing, this may just not be as much of a priority as I think it should be. I’ve been starting to feel that way about my Q2 goal of signing up for voice lessons. If it would be stressful to make space for, rather than fun, then maybe my musical habits can be re-established when I don’t have 4 kids under the age of 8.

What habits do you not have? How do you feel about that?

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