Habits I have (the good and the bad)

photo-294It’s habits week here on the blog. Today I’m looking at the habits I do have, both the good and the bad (at least in my mind).

First the good. I am a regular and enthusiastic runner. I’m always wary of falling off the wagon with something like that, but this winter I’ve convinced myself that — barring injury (and sure enough, after writing this post this past weekend I sustained a nasty blister – blech) — I’m pretty much in. There were days in November and December when I didn’t have childcare, it was sleeting, and I’d let my 3-year-old watch a TV show while I’d go run in circles in the backyard, checking in every 10 minutes to make sure she was OK. While I was in my third trimester! Since any of those obstacles might be deemed a reasonable excuse, I’d say I’m committed.

I eat breakfast daily. See my shitake, spinach, goat cheese, and tarragon omelet from this morning.

I’m also a reader. I’m not as much of a fiction reader as I’d like to be (more on that in my next post), but I read a ton of non-fiction. I was trying to make a list the other day of what I’ve cranked through since having the baby. I read Ron Lieber’s The Opposite of Spoiled while in the hospital. I read The Organized Mind to write a piece for Fortune about it. I re-read The Fringe Hours and Better Than Before. I read The Great Beanie Baby Bubble (see my review here). I read Peter Bregman’s Four Seconds. I read Dave Barry’s Live Right and Find Happiness, Amy Poehler’s Yes Please, and Twyla Tharp’s The Collaborative Habit. I just finished Sleeping With Your Smartphone. So that’s at least a book a week. Plus a slew of magazines. Reading is what I do with my downtime, rather than watching TV. As with running, I find it enjoyable for its own sake.

On the life management front, I’ve built the habit of planning my weeks in advance. Every Friday, I make a list of the next week’s priorities. I list personal and professional priorities, and I find that this planning makes it possible to seize opportunities. I sometimes feel like I’m neglecting my older two boys since they’re not as demanding as the infant or the 3-year-old. But because I designated a time to look ahead, I saw that they had some half days and days off school. So I took the 7-year-old out for lunch (at IHOP), and I took the 5-year-old to the Franklin Institute to see The Art of the Brick exhibit and to play with Legos in the “Ben’s Brick House” area. (Yes, he has tons of Legos at home. But that’s what he chose to do!) By planning ahead, I could block in work commitments around these things.

Finally, I like that I’m in the habit of blogging and now writing in my journal. Blogging has obvious rewards (people comment on things I write! How cool is that?) but re-starting my journaling habit took some effort. I’m being vigilant about that one because I’ve proven weak-willed before, and it could happen again.

Now for my bad habits. I’m in the habit of eating something sweet after most meals. Even breakfast! I try to mitigate the damage by chewing gum instead, or having not-so-bad treats (current obsession: Dippers, which are a Dole freezer case product involving frozen bananas or strawberries covered in dark chocolate, packaged in 60-100 calorie bags.) I’ve read a lot of the research about how bad sugar is for you (oh yeah, add Why We Get Fat to the list of recently-read books). I still want it. I still eat it.

I also eat something basically every time I walk through my kitchen. This is the classic habit cycle: trigger (oh, hey, there’s my kitchen!), habit (eat), reward (yum!) Again, I try to mitigate the damage by snacking on carrots and almonds and such, but I’d like to break this one when I’m no longer nursing and hence constantly starving.

I get distracted easily on the web. I find myself cycling through email, various blogs to check for comments, social media, etc. I do this in a fairly set order, meaning it is a habit. The trigger is sitting down at my desk, or re-commencing work after some event (like a phone call). I have to do some of this for work, but I could check various sites less frequently.

I bite my nails. Manicures never last. Oh well. I guess there could be worse nervous habits (smoking?)

What about you? What good and bad habits do you have?

Coming up tomorrow: Habits I don’t have (the good and the bad)

One thought on “Habits I have (the good and the bad)

  1. I live around the corner from a 7/Eleven gas station, which has turned out great as I can get the low sugar/cal Slurpee as a sweet treat. Obviously depends if you’re OK with artificial sweeteners, though. Some give me migraines, but not whatever they use in the Slurpees, thankfully.

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