When is the best time to form habits?

(The spring 2013 story up until now – grad school up to my earsan attempt to prioritize – which brings us to…)

Habits.

Last week I had the pleasure of listening to Kelly Plosker speak at my local MOPS group.  She is bright, entertaining, hilarious, encouraging, thought-provoking, and authentic.  In short, she’s one of my favorite speakers.

She speaks often at our group – about things like vision, priorities, and how to keep yourself from going insane as the parent of a small child.  I love that.  However, this time, she spent a portion of her time talking about Habits.  I thought I should listen because I’ve been thinking a lot this semester about excellence and priorities, and how to live a good life by choice.  It seems as though, if these important things are to become second nature – the only way to do it will be through habits.

Most of the time I don’t think about my habits.  To be honest, I think that’s how it’s supposed to be.  These are your go-to routines, the bones of your day.  You don’t think about this critical framework…for the most part.

Kelly, she told us, Your habits are built during the easy times, so they will get you through the tough times.

And therein lies why she’s the speaker giving advice, and I’m the one listening and soaking it in.  Because my habits are usually just sort of routines I fell into.  I don’t much think about them, until they aren’t working. 

Because, in an ideal world, I would have done what Kelly suggests and created a habit when things were easy – when there was time, when I felt love and peace for the world at large, when I was getting a consistent 8 hours of sleep maybe, or had energy to spare?

In short – I would have started those habits 30 (or 66?) days ago.

But, mostly I fell into my habits the way people do – by accident.

So that I didn’t realize I had these habits – until they were already BAD habits – fully formed, taken root, and heartily thriving.

via Hannah’s Discovery.

A few of bad habits look like this:

– “checking facebook real quick” – and then spending an hour on rabbit trails down blogs and news stories.

– Of eating a snack after dinner that turns into one long nosh fest up until bed.

– Study interspersed with distractions and “breaks” that truly ruin my work flow, and create unneeded stress.

– Bringing up parenting problems  – as we’re running out the door, already late to events.

– Realizing my son thinks eating a meal means standing up and walking around… just like his mama.

It seems, for me anyway, that unconsidered habits are always bad habits – and I want to form good habits.

So, when is the best time to form correct habits?

The short answer is: Now.

The practical answer is much more complex – a whole blog worth of complex – because forming a habit is hard. Every good habit I have is the result of hard work and grit.  They are habits maintained in against the forces of time and tiredness, and with continual reinforcement.  (That’s a post for another time.)

Meanwhile, I’m going to work Now on those bad habits above – What about you?  Are there habits you have that just aren’t working for you? When do you think the time to work on habits is?  And how do you do it?

Other posts around the internet about Habits I’ve been reading:

Relevant Mag: 5 Things your Habits Say about you

Cracked: 5 Ways your brain tricks you into sticking with Bad Habits.

Storyline Blog:  How to change a Habit.

 

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Author: Beth M

I love new ideas & information, connecting people, and discovering New England adventures.

2 thoughts on “When is the best time to form habits?”

  1. I love this–so true. There’s a meme floating around the internet that says “yesterday you said tomorrow”. I’m so good at putting off things I want to make part of my life. Thanks for the reminder that habits start now.

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