Focusing on Good Habits that Transform Your Daily Life
Ever since I left the teaching world, I’ve lost a bit of structure. That’s partially why I left as I wanted flexibility in my life. However, I’m a pretty type A person most of the time, so structure is something that can also keep me focused. When you don’t necessarily have to be somewhere at a certain time on a regular basis, it can be challenging to force yourself to get into a routine.
My sister who has a great blog over at Living Like Leila has been hosting a course for the last 90 days of the year. For this course she works on habits. I noticed she had a habit tracker on her desk that displayed a table to keep up with daily habits. So, I decided at the end of October, that it would be a good idea for me to start one for November. [By the way- check out her post on “8 Simple Habits that will Change your Life“]
I simply went on Pinterest and found a free habit tracker printable. I wrote in 7 different habits I either want to break or create. Keep in mind, not all habits are bad! However, some of the habits I put on my tracker are things I want to avoid.
I’m going to go through each of my 7 habits for November and look at my progress for each this month.
Read 15+ Minutes
I have enjoyed reading while in my 20s. However, I think we all get caught in that “I’d like to read more, but I just never get the time.” Then I realized that if I have 15+ minutes to sit on social media, then I probably can read for at least 15 minutes each day. For November I have actually been reading 3 different books kind of all in different genres: Irreconcilable Differences by Nathan Winograd, Now You See Her by James Patterson, and The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen Laney. Most days I read more than 15 minutes, which was great! As of today (November 28th), I did miss 5 days of reading. However, it was usually super late at night when I realized I hadn’t read yet and I was tired. I didn’t feel super guilty about it though because like I said some days I was reading 30+ minutes. It’s been really nice to get back into books!
Ok let’s be real- every time you go to the dentist they ask you if you’re flossing. If you’re like me every time, your answer is the same: “Sometimes” or “Not really”! Well my last few visits to the dentist my gums were starting to recede which can lead to bad bacteria growth and obvious tooth/gum problems. So, why not put flossing my teeth on my habit tracker? I usually just hate and dread flossing my teeth. Oddly enough, it’s been the only habit on my tracker that I’ve kept up with every single day. I’m pretty proud that I have stuck with something that is obviously super important. It has made me realize that it’s not that much of a hassle especially since it’s worth it in the long run.
No Social Media from 9PM until 8AM
This is one of those avoidance habits. I think most of our society can lose track of time on social media. You may go on with the intention to just check your notifications, next thing you know you’re looking at something totally irrelevant. It’s also not a good idea to have a lot of screen time before bed. It puts a lot of negativity into our minds, you start to compare your life with everyone else, and the blue light tells your brain to wake up. This has actually been fairly easy of a task. I only messed up on it once in the beginning of the month because I didn’t realize it was past 9PM.
My intention with affirmations was to say phrases like, “People want my business”, or “_____ will get out of the shelter alive with our efforts.” Additionally I thought it would perhaps be me reading the affirmation I have memorized that is also taped on my bathroom mirror. However, affirmations can be a mix of things depending on how you perceive it. The thing is the next habit on my list is to manifest 5+ minutes. So to me, affirmations and manifestations merged together. A lot of my affirmations were things that went through my head, or what I would say to myself in the shower, or while driving. At the beginning of the month, I didn’t mark affirmations for a few days because I wasn’t clear about what it meant for me.
Manifest 5+ Minutes
As I mentioned with the affirmations section, the two were kind of merged. My idea at the beginning of the month was that I would listen to nature, meditating music and visualize how I see my life. I generally did do this, but it wasn’t always in this form. Again, at times it would take place in my car, shower, at the gym, just during my daily life in my head. I was pretty successful with this and only missed one day.
Wake up at 6AM
These next two are like my kryptonite! I knew from the beginning that I would struggle with making myself wake up at 6AM on a regular basis and not hit snooze. The hard part is that there wasn’t really one without the other. So if I hit snooze, then I didn’t wake up at 6! So, that then led to me feeling pretty defeated.
The crazy thing is, I had a dream one night that a dementor (yes, those black cloaked demons from Harry Potter) were standing on the edge of my bed not allowing me to wake up!! So clearly, this issue is in my subconscious. The past few years I’ve really struggled with waking up right away. I’m generally a morning person, but the actual waking up has become daunting. Personally I have found mental comfort in sleeping. I rarely dream even despite the story I just told. So, I feel like sleeping is the calm stage in my life because as soon as I wake up my mind is flooded.
This then makes me feel lousy because I literally go to bed with the intention to wake up at 6AM. I even would put stuff out for me to do in the morning like my book to read and my iPad for my manifestation music. Nope, still didn’t work! So far I have woken up at 6AM only 11 days in November. The rest was either 6:30, 6:45, or 6:55.
Don’t Hit Snooze
Here’s another one of those avoidance habits. Hitting snooze on a regular basis is SO bad for you. The really bad thing about me is that I will hit snooze for just 10 minutes like 3 or 4 times instead of just getting a longer amount of sleep of 30 or 40 additional minutes. Hitting snooze just makes you more tired and frustrated. Again, I am aware of this, but it’s been a challenge to figure out how to stop. I’ve put my phone across the room. I literally will get up, shut it off, and hit snooze again. One of my dog’s, Nadia, jumps around and sounds like a whale/hippo hybrid when my alarm goes off. That still doesn’t help! I just convince her to jump back in bed! It’s a continuous battle for sure!
I do notice I’m a lot better if I actually have somewhere to be like a meeting or appointment. That’s because I know I only have an allotted amount of time to get ready, take care of the dogs, and get to where I need to be in a timely fashion.
Overall, I think I did fairly well with my November habits. Of course, I’m disappointed about the waking up ordeal, but I guess any attempt is better than nothing. I’m working on my habit tracker for December. I’m definitely including read 15+ minutes, floss teeth, no social media, and manifestations (not separating affirmations and manifestations this time). Still deciding how I want to manage the waking up habit. Plus, I may include one or two more habits. The goal is to eventually not need a tracker and just generally do these things on a daily basis.