Saturday, April 27, 2013


I figure since this blog has gone through a name change, a theme change...well, a complete redesign that perhaps I should take a look at other aspects of my life that could also use a redesign.  And, as I'm currently in the middle of reading Charles Duhigg's The Power of Habit, my habits seem a good place to start.

A 2006 study done at Duke University found that more than 40 percent of our actions are not made with any sort of intentional decision but rather made out of habit (xvi). Intuitively, this is something that most of us already know.  We have all had those mornings where we safely arrive in the parking lot of our workplace but don't really recall exactly how we got there.  Or, like I did just last week, without thinking drove to my child's preschool to pick him up on a day that he wasn't at school!  Duhigg pulls together research from a variety of psychology, advertising, and business studies to show just how easy it is to form habits based on cues we encounter in our daily lives.  Our reactions to these cues create a habit loop, leading to a craving.  And, as Duhigg writes, "When a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in decision making," which is what makes getting rid of habits incredibly difficult (20). But not impossible.

Habits, by definition, are those actions we do with out intention, without thinking.  And so this seems a perfect moment to pause, to reflect on what my cues are, and how I might change some of the bad routines I have in place to deal with those cues.  This is my moment to redesign my life.

So, I'll use this blog to reflect on my journey of replacing a couple of bad habits with a couple of good ones. Oh, I'll still post my adventures in crafting and reflections on raising two crafty little boys, but each Saturday I'll also pause to share my progress in acting with intention and the pitfalls I am sure to encounter along the way.  Now, to begin.  What are my cues?

I'm going to start my life redesign by acting more intentionally when it comes to two of my bad habits.  First, let's start with my exercise routine, which can be better described as a complete lack of a routine.  The alarm goes off each morning at 5:20 a.m.  On the mornings that my boys need to be dropped off at preschool/daycare, this makes for a very rushed morning.  However, the alarm goes off at this exact time on the days that my boys do not go to school as well, which generally leads to me hitting snooze three times and half-sleeping another 20-some minutes.  A waste of time. And since I know myself well enough to know that I will not get into an exercise routine in the evening after teaching a full day and then taking care of my boys while my hubby works evenings, mornings really are the best place for me to start a new routine, a new habit.  And since I have a very literal cue, my alarm going off each morning even when I don't need to wake early, I'm going to start getting up to run on the mornings that my boys don't need to be dropped off at school.  Can I confess at this point that even having just typed that above I'm feeling a bit anxious?  I don't think I've laced up my running shoes since just after my youngest was born (he'll turn 3 in August). But in another way this will be a welcomed change as there are very few points in my day to day life where I am alone.  I'm either in front of students teaching during the day, playing with my boys in the late afternoon, rushing through that whole dinner, bath, bed routine before my hubby gets home for the evening, and then off to bed myself.  A new routine in the morning might not only a good way for me to get back in shape but also a way to start mornings with a bit of time for just me.

My second cue comes when I step through my front door following my teaching day.  I greet my husband as he heads out the door for work, grab up my boys in a hug, and head for the cookie jar.  I get home about 3:30 each day and carbo-load, which if I was training to be a triathlete would be just fine.  However, I am not.  Not even close.  Unless of course you count picking up Legos from every crevice in my house as an Olympic sport (which honestly, some days it should be), I do not need to be taking in the amount of processed, carb-heavy foods that I am each day.  So, my second new habit will be to eat no-processed, local foods as snacks.  Okay, so no-processed food would likely be good enough here, but I'm actually interested in replacing two bad habits.  Not only do I need to cut overly-processed carbs from my current eating habits, but my family is also trying to include more organic, locally grown produce in our diet.So my snacks are a great place to start, not to mention that I'll also be setting a better example for my two sweet-toothed boys.      

So, there you have it.  I've proclaimed these redesigns publicly in the hopes that it will keep me honest.  Either way, I hope this journey makes for an interesting read in the weeks and months ahead.

post signature

1 comment:

  1. Yea, that went well {sarcasm}. Actually, I did get back into blogging following this post, just not on this blog. I have started blogging more regularly on my teaching blog, which you will find over here.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...