This weekend I’ve been thinking a lot about why we keep some of our New Year’s resolutions… while others seem to go by the wayside practically before the year begins! I think a lot of it has to do with what we manage to work into our daily life – after all, Aristotle said “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” Experts say the process takes 21 days before something feels habitual, and that seems to be about right from my experience. I thought it would be fun for all of us to share our very best habits as well as a habit or two that we’d really like to develop this year (I’m sure I’ll be adding a couple of yours to my list!) I’ll go first. These are a few habits that have become pretty automatic for me and really enrich the way I feel every day:
- Long walk through the neighborhood with Adam (and now Phoebe) every morning. It feels great to get a workout out of the way first thing, and the time has become invaluable for discussing whatever’s going on in our lives.
- Eating a healthy breakfast. I can genuinely say that I now wake up craving nutritious things like steel-cut oats, greek yogurt and grapefruit, and as a result, I start the day in a really energized way.
- Flossing before bedtime.
- Putting things away right when I’m done using them. It only takes a second, but the end result is a house that always feels clean and organized. Which coincidentally has a majorly calming effect on my mind, too.
- Answering emails within 24 hours. I use the flag system in my mail program, so I can always see which emails need to be attended to and which I’ve already addressed. The result is kind of like the one above: clean inbox = clear head.
And a few habits that I’d really like to develop this year. One thing I’ve noticed about habits: You have to know why you want to do them…what’s the end result you’re hoping to achieve?
- Stretching every night. I used to be really good about this, but stopped while I was pregnant and haven’t really picked it back up. I’ve noticed that when I stretch regularly, my muscles feel a lot less tense.
- Nixing mindless snacking. Yep, I’m a snacker – and grabbing a few M&M’s here and a handful of granola there can add up, when it would be way better to save it for a real, nutritious meal when my brain does a better job of actually registering fullness.
- Reading at night instead of watching TV. Another one that I used to be really good at, but that’s kind of slipped over the last year or two. I’m not planning on giving up Downton Abbey or anything (let’s not get crazy!) but there are a few not-that-great shows that I tend to watch at night, and when I think about how many books I could be reading instead…
- Writing thank-you’s right away. I always have a growing list of notes I need to write, and I’d really like to get in the habit of sitting down at my desk every morning and getting them sent right away.
Okay, I’ve spilled – now it’s your turn! I’d love to hear what habits you’re great at keeping…and which you’d like to work on this year. Leave a comment below, and hopefully we’ll all be challenged to add one or two to our lists!
*image: How Sweet It Is