My Bad Habits

CAM00098Okay, so another blogpost about habits.

It’s easy to get all self-righteous when talking about habits, to list all the great habits one has — implying that YOU would do well to take a page out of MY book.

Let me admit, right up front, that I have many many bad habits. When I’m stressed I drink wine, or shop, or drink wine and shop. I don’t write nearly as much as I should. I watch way too much television. I have a very bad habit of saying the worst thing, the most fearful, anxious thing possible, and always the first thing that comes to my mind — a habit that has been so hurtful to my daughters over the years. (I’m working on this! I’m STILL working on it!)

I DO exercise, but in a most dilettantish way. I walk on a treadmill and read my Nook. When I slip out of the house in the evening to walk the dog, it’s never a very long walk. And it usually includes parking at the beach and reading for about 15 minutes, before we get to the walk. The dog thinks I’m nuts.

Oh, and I am addicted to Spider Solitaire.

The worst habit? I am still tinkering with my novel — my absolute worst work habit, and the most unproductive one. (One I am determined to break.)

Confession, it’s said, is good for the soul. It’s also good for making a change. And I think that’s because saying it out loud, to a journal (or a blog) or to a good friend can be a way of making it visible. If you want to address anything in your life, you first have to see it.

You need, in fact, a system for making it uber visible. A friend pointed out recently that complaining to my journal is not working for me. She suggested that I have a special notebook for those things I want to change. So I went home, immediately, and pulled out a notebook. And, guess what? It works! Well, it’s starting to work.

It can also work to designate a first page in your journal for such a list — and then to reread that page every morning. If you don’t journal, taping notes up around your bathroom mirror may be effective for you. Working with a partner will work, if you have regular, focused meetings (Charles Duhigg says you need “a community of belief”).

Since this is a writing blog — that’s where I want to go next. So answer me this: 1) What do you want to write? Could you take 10 minutes and write down a long list of what you want to write?

Then: 2) Where can you put this list so you can find it again tomorrow?

My next blogpost will be about what to do with your list.

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2 thoughts on “My Bad Habits

  1. Hi Bethany – in your “habit” blog before this blog you mentioned the word dilettantish which I had never heard of, Madeleine L’Engle always emphasized putting words like this in her children’s books to help them learn new words – good for you – and what’s up with everyone using uber now, first I thought why is everyone driving Uber – what the ? – then I realized it’s the new very very – and now it is being overused – I’m going to maybe say uber-ish as everyone is using ish a lot too. However, this is becoming a strange comment – comment that I really like you child “ish” circle of cutting you list into parts – great art. And the days I make lists I check them off with great joy and feel much better. No list now – have to walk the dog before it hits 100. These two blogs were uber good.

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