Wednesday, April 9, 2014

H is for habit

It's the A to Zed Challenge! I'll be posting the first half of the month from Ottawa where I'm staying with my youngest and his partner and their newest - a little guy who was born the end of March. Yay!

Theme? Writing and Life is what comes to me... how to balance the writing life with the other tugs you may have...

The ABCDEaria of the Writing Life -

H is for Habit 

Habit sounds like one of those annoying words doesn't it? Kinda parental. And usually attached to bad or good. I want you to forget all that. We are all habitual. I'm staying with a human who hasn't hit his third week on the planet and I can tell you - the habits are forming. People think lots of things about themselves are hard-wired when they are just habitual. "We Morrisons forget people's names. We just do." Coy shrug. Nope. We don't. I have the habit of not making sure I remember people's names. If I want to change that habit I can. I used to have the habit of disliking water - a habit grown of living in a couple of areas that had bad water that caused me problems. I changed that habit - I changed my mind. Habit is what can keep you doing what you decided at some point you wanted to do. If it is write then you need to strengthen that habit. If you find yourself saying something like "I can only write in my own home." Or ... I can only write when everyone is asleep or ...when the moon is full...when I don't have anything else to do...well then, you might want to eliminate that habit. Cuz that is what it is. It isn't in your DNA I can assure you. The good thing about habits that don't serve you is that they can be gotten rid of. And you can put ones that do serve you in their place. When I was growing up we didn't have seat-belts. No biggy. Now I cannot imagine being in a car without one. We smoked in movie theatres and when we were visiting sick relatives IN THE HOSPITAL! Yes, we did. Nothing has changed ... just our community habits. 

One trick I use when I'm trying to get going with a new routine is to use what I call One of Three. I choose three things that I want to do every day - mine at present are - Write, Walk and Meditate. There ya go. If I do one of them a day, any one, then I can sleep okay. If I do all three bonus, two great, but one is fine. That gives me wriggle room. Of course it is me who decides what I want to do - no one else. Jeesh, I'm over sixty! But I still like to feel like my rebel kid has an out. Another thing that helps is posting what I plan to do on my blog. No reason that should work but it does.

How do you change your habits? Any tricks?



Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I like your approach toward habit--think of it as something that can be changed for the better. And I especially like One of Three! I'll have to borrow that, myself.

Margot Kinberg said...

Jan - Habits can be very helpful if they're life-affirming and they support us. Exercise for instance is a habit. But of course they can be destructive too. That's why habits can be great servants - but not-so-great masters.