Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My Habits

Today's challenge (well, really YESTERDAY'S challenge) is to write about my habits. Here are the posed questions: Do you have any habits? What are they? How long have they been a part of your life? How did they start? Have you tried to break the habit? Do you have any habits you are proud of?

This is NOT an easy challenge for me. I truly can not think of any habits I have--all I can think of are things I don't do! Where does that leave me???? I have one funny habit that is from my childhood. Actually, two. I'll write about those first and then another list. I'll decide which one to use later.

I have two habits that are left-overs from childhood. Each still plays a large part in my life.

When I was a little girl, I used to read by nightlight in my room. Each Christmas I would get a new book, usually several. By New Year's Eve, I would have read all of my new books and I would be exhausted. I would stay up into the wee hours of the morning reading. I still read by lamplight in my bed long after I should be asleep. At my age, I know the consequence of my reading "habit," but I can't seem to help myself. When the words on the page ensnare me, I can't break free. My eyes will ache and burn, but I can't close the book. I'll tell myself that I'll stop at the end of the chapter. Then another chapter and another. Finishing that chapter or that book is the most important thing to me in that moment, regardless of the consequences when the sun rises. And I am so very familiar with the consequences: a foggy mind, headaches, grouchiness. The very next evening will find me curled on my side, starting a new book or finishing the one I was working on.

"Ding." "Beep." "TeTeTeTe." Whatever the signal, I know when a timer goes off. There is a huge feeling of relief when my allotted time is finished. I remember when I was five or six years old, my mother would set the timer about 30 minutes before my dad would come home from work. She would assign each child a specific task (pick up the dolls, put away the cars, straighten up the art supplies). When we were finished with that task, we would race back to her to get our next assignment. By the time my father pulled in the driveway, the house was back in order and we looked angelic. Now whenever I need to get a dreaded task accomplished, I use the timer as a motivator. I'll set the timer for 10 minutes to get the kitchen counters clean. I can vacuum the downstairs of the house in less than 20 minutes. Often I set the timer for 15 minutes and tell myself that whatever I get done in that time is better than if I spent no time working at all. When I need to clean the house, I work in 15 minute intervals. I'm motivated to work the entire 15 minutes, then I either take a break for a few minutes or restart the timer. I'm passing along this "habit." When M hears the timer end, she says, "It's done!"

Second selection. Not sure which one I'll use for my book yet.

I wish I had a list of wonderful habits. I wish I could say I exercise every morning before work, drink 64 ounces of water, floss my teeth before bed and put the dishes in the dishwasher so the sink is always clean.

Instead, I sleep until the last possible second every morning before school and then rush around to get ready.

I treat myself to Starbucks whenever I need a pick-me-up.

I do laundry only when it overflows from the laundry basket or someone runs out of clean underpants.

I only vacuum the carpet when it looks dirty or we're having company.

I use all available flat surfaces in our home as storage, including the dining room table.

I love to eat dinner in front of the TV, but try to eat at the table for M's sake.

I could go on and on with this list, but I'll leave it here for now. Let me know which part you like better.

1 comment:

Andi said...

Ok, I like both lists so I am NO help at all! I am surprised at how many of our "habits" are the same...I LOVE the timer idea for clean-up intervals...I will have to try that. I spend countless hours roaming around trying to clean, put away, and get organized, but there is usually so much to do, I get easily distracted and feel overwhelmed! A timer would certainly keep me focused. :)
So glad your vacation is going well...love your recent posts. Miss you!