Dec 16, 2009

- 10 Habits We Should All Adopt – Starting Tomorrow!

Habits are to your life pretty much what gas is to your car. They keep you moving along – but whether they carry you to a better place or not depends entirely on the habit.
Bad habits can hold talented people back while good habits carry less talented people on ahead.
Many, many posts can be written on bad habits (in fact, they have), but essentially, we’ll get rid of our bad habits when we’ve finally had enough of them. I don’t want to spend too terribly much time with bad habits in this post, I’d rather approach habits with another tactic.
How about this? Let’s apopt so many great habits that we put the squeeze play on bad habits. I’m thinking that if we add about 10, that’ll leave less room for the bad crowd. I remember a television special about healthy eating that aired a few years ago. A nutritionist pointed out that if you fill your plate up with healthy vegetables and fruit, you actually get to eat more food. All you have to do is replace the unhealthy food with healthier alternatives – and you almost always get to enjoy more of the healthy food.
The good squeezes out the bad, so you’re left with a double-sided win: You get rid of things that are bad for you and you make room for things that are good for you.
So what sort of healthy habits could we bring to our life’s plate? Below’s a buffet of suggestions, I know you’ll be able to come up with more. Come up with as many as you want, of course, but remember that “bite-sized” portions are always easiest to handle. Don’t put more on your plate than you’ll actually be able to eat!
  1. Start getting up a little earlier.  I realize that when the weather’s cool it’s really tough to start getting up earlier.  The body wants to sleep later, for crying out loud!  But, I’ve been on both sides of the 6:00 am, and I can say without hesitation that every corner of your day will be better if you get a running start at it.  Also, the quiet hours of the morning are the perfect way to glide into your day.  Rushing around after being summoned by a hateful alarm clock isn’t good for the psyche.  Mornings just weren’t meant to be so hectic.  
  2. Read more.  When you open a book, you open your mind and literally pour knowledge into it.  Knowledge is power.  Knowledge is power.  Knowledge is power.
  3. Laugh more.  Laughter is great for you – body and soul.  It doesn’t matter if anyone laughs with you, it doesn’t matter if anyone laughs at you.   Just laugh! 
  4. Complain less.  Starting tomorrow, do a little self improvement exercise:  Each time you feel tempted to say something negative, make yourself say something positive instead.  I’ve never understood why anyone would want to spread misery and gloominess.  I always wonder, “Do they hate life that much?” 
  5. Drink more water.  I read a lot of articles and books about health and there are several things they all agree on (the other is right on this one’s heels at #6!).  One of the things every physician, health expert, nutritionist, and great aunt tells us is this:  Drink more water.  There has to be something to it.   
  6. Get at least 30 minutes of activity each day.  Bronchitis has had me in a choke hold for weeks, but I was feeling a lot better today. So I did some intense work around the house.  I expected to feel like I’d been hit by a bus afterwards, but I feel great.  I’ve been sitting and sipping soup for so long I’d forgotten how good it feels to be active.
  7. Stop assuming people know how you feel.  Even if they have an idea, do you know how much it will mean to them if you tell them?   Most of us can recall certain things that our loved ones have said to us that meant the world.  In fact, the words meant so much that we still carry them around with us today.  Maybe it was a dad saying, “I’m SO proud of you.”  Maybe it was a mother telling us that we’re just the daughter/son she’d always hoped for.  Why is it that so often it’s when we’re in the middle of altercations that these sentiments come out?  Then, they’re often followed with a “But…”  Any sentiment followed by a but isn’t much of a sentiment!  This tactic is simply the art of putting conditions on the words.  They certainly aren’t the sentiments we carry with us.  It’s the ones that come out of the blue – not as a prerequisite to what all we’re doing wrong and not to soften any blows.  If you love someone, tell them every single day.  If you’re proud of them, tell them – WITHOUT BUTS!
  8. Put yourself in time-out.   In the same way we put children in “time out” when they show signs of being stressed out or overly tired, we could benefit just as much.  Last week, my husband did something that I thought was pretty cute.  Our daughters and I were gathering in the living room to watch Survivor – a Thursday night ritual we’ve enjoyed for years.  I make the special snacks, then we all watch a show that never disappoints.  However, my husband had had a week from hell and a particularly long, stressful day – so he opted out.  He put himself in a sort of “time out” in our home office in a chair in front of baseball.  He sat quietly in his pajamas, reminding me of a 2 year old boy who was trying to calm down!  I thought about telling him that, but I just headed to the living room. (I wasn’t born yesterday.)  Sometimes our nerves just need to unravel and they can do that better when there isn’t a lot going on.
  9. Become a more aware and cautious driver.   My poor guardian angel must be a basketcase.  Not only am I accident prone, I’m one of the most ridiculous drivers on earth.  But, years ago, I began to slow down and drive oh so much more carefully when I looked around me to see my vehicle surrounded by future drivers.  They’re watching.  What do they see?  Even if there aren’t future drivers with you, paying attention to what’s going on around you can save lives at best, headaches at worst.  Texting while driving, speeding, road rage, playing mind games (”Oh, yeah, if you want to get on my bumper, I’ll just slow down… You wanna hit me? Why, you can just buy me a new car, sucker…”) - these are all things that can get you killed, hurt, ticketed, or arrested.  I don’t think we’re interested in any of those, are we?
  10. Be thankful.  People are filled to their eyeballs with negative thoughts and words lately – but we still have it amazingly good.  I know I don’t have to tell you that – but I’m pretty sure we all need a reminder every now and again.  I remember a shallow little wake up call I got one time while we were living in Florida.  I had put on a tank top and shorts and was complaining to one of my daughters (oh, heck to anyone who’d listen) about my arms.  They weren’t “tank top arms…” etc.  I was cutting them up pretty good.  Then we walked over to the beach and the first person I saw made me, literally, cry with shame.  She was around 20 and only had one arm.  I’ve never forgotten that day.  And I honestly don’t believe I’ve complained about my arms since.  Either of them.

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