With the holidays here I am starting to see talk of resolutions and goals. My own Facebook memories showed me that at this time last year, I put together a cool rainbow spreadsheet with all the habits I was tracking at the time. That got me thinking it was time for a “how are my habits going and what’s in store for 2017” post.
To start – I’m no longer tracking my habits on a spreadsheet. I’ve started using an app called Habitbull. My spreadsheet was fine; it’s just that Habitbull is easier to use on my phone. I also am tracking only a few habits now, having made the decision to take the behaviors that felt automatic off my tracker for simplicity’s sake. Now that I am finishing up my second year of a habit-based health approach, some of the habits I have worked on have become almost as automatic as brushing my teeth and so I don’t feel the need to track them anymore. Looking back at my “rainbow spreadsheet” from last year, almost all the habits on that sheet are now a part of my routine, even though I no longer track them, so that’s pretty cool!
So, Habitbull. Currently I am tracking five habits. I list them in order of when they appear in my day:
Since I have just eased back into lifting over the past couple months, I’m now ready to get into more of a routine again. I’m aiming to lift on Wednesdays and Sundays, because that’s when it fits into my schedule, and those are days when I don’t swim.
Ignore the Scale
When I first started going to the Y for swimming, I encountered a scale in the locker room after not owning one at home for years. I started weighing myself, and eventually I felt that it wasn’t making me happier and I was focusing on my weight more than I wanted to. So I set up a habit to “Ignore the Scale.” It has gotten much easier again, and I don’t miss it.
Load or Unload the Dishwasher
I try to do this every day, because keeping the kitchen manageable helps with stress levels and helps me cook at home more. My husband is the main dish-doer at our house but me pitching in helps a lot. So I try to do this.
It says “load OR unload” because I never feel motivated to do this so if I tell myself I have to just do one of these things, it helps me get started. I often end up doing more than one, once I start, but getting started is the hard part so I need this habit to be underwhelming.
A Mindful Eating Habit
I don’t know how to explain this one in just one sentence, so here’s a few paragraphs. I’ve been working on this habit in the evening for almost 6 months now. It definitely feels closer to automatic at this point but I still feel like tracking it for a little while longer.
When I want to eat, I ask myself “why do I want this?” If I am hungry, that is an easy question to answer. If I am not hungry, the answer is usually “I need a break or a distraction” or “I need to decompress at the end of the day” or “eating this is pleasurable” or “I dunno, I am just reaching for it out of habit.”
Then, once I answer the question of “why do I want this,” I have the option of choosing what I want to do with this information. For example:
- “I am hungry so I am going to eat this” or
- “I need to take a break from my desk so I am going to take a walk or go run an errand or browse at the bookstore” or
- “I need to decompress so I am going to change into my pajamas and read a book or watch a show upstairs away from the kitchen” or
- “eating this would taste really good but I am not hungry now so I am just going to have a bite and then find something else to do.”
Notice that I said “I have the option of choosing what I want to do with this information.” I did not say “I have the obligation to do a certain thing with this information.” This is very important for me because I have a history of being forced and coerced by others into dieting. When I was growing up, “are you sure you are hungry for that?” was always a loaded question, dripping with fear and concern. Now that I am an adult I don’t want to put myself through the same sense of obligation and coercion.
Take Medication and Supplements
I track this one as a reminder to myself.
For those who are wondering, I haven’t been tracking my swimming, since it is already routine for me to go on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
So what’s new for 2017? I’m not feeling the need to decide yet. My family just came off of a time with a lot of changes and stress, including a terminal illness and death in the family. The holidays always have us out of our normal routine a bit too. So I’m actually looking forward to just getting back into our routine come January. I don’t feel the need to add a new habit to the list just because it is a new year. I’ll add another one when I feel ready to take on something new.
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