Sunday, September 20, 2009

Bench Talk: Creating Good Habits

It has been said that it takes three months to adopt a new habit.

How many of us have started a fitness regime with enthusiasm only to have the, 'get up and go', disappear?

What about projects? How many half finished projects do we have taking up space? Photo albums, scrapbooking, guitar lessons, all started with the best of intentions only to be forgotten.

How much guilt do we carry with us when we think of where we could be if only we had more, 'sticktuitiveness'?

Hi, Cathy here, well, I seem to have success with procrastination. I have many nights as I lie in bed thinking about all the stuff that I should have done. Or, more to the point, could have done. I have found that I do best with a deadline that I have to be accountable to someone else for. For example, if I agree to do something by a certain date or time, no problem, I will get it done.

There I have trouble is with my own projects. My interests are vast and I have 'started' many. I have 'almost' finished classical guitar lessons, 'almost' completed the kids photo memories book. I have almost finished a Christmas decoration which I started many years ago! (Carolin) I as well have stuff I have started and just don't seem to get finished. As I type I can see one of my projects. Two years ago the husband lay hardwood throughout the main floor, it is finished in a dark stain but all of our railing are in a honey stain. It is cost prohibitive to replace all the railings so I decided to sand them of the varnish and then paint them the same colour as the trim though out the house which is a soft white. Well the railing that divided our kitchen and family room has all been sanded but one spindle. I did that back when he had just finished the floors and haven't touched it since! When we decide to move is probably the motivation I will need to finish the job. I also planned to dig up the backyard gardens and clean them up and move stuff around. Well I did do two gardens then I never seem to touch them again. Of course I used my sprained ankle as my excuse.
We are finally doing some long awaited renovations but it makes the rest of the house messy and cluttered not to mention the expense that has to be incurred. I am excited but the hard work that it takes is not as easy to do as it was when we were in our twenties. We are so sore after hours of working on projects that it takes a few days just to recover. For me, I am lucky because I am home but for my husband he has to work hard during the week and have his weekends filled with ongoing renovations. It's tougher on him then it is on me.

I have the time to work on my projects, however, I seem to be able to fill my time with so much other stuff and at the end of the day I think of what I could have done.

Exercise is another habit I would like to develop. I do walk the dog everyday, well, almost every day. I received a Wii fit for Christmas last year and I love it! I will use it for a week and then something happens and suddenly I realise that a week has passed without using it. I really find exercise a tough one. Sunshine and I used to walk three mornings a week back last fall, winter and spring. But then you know how it is, stuff gets in the way. I wish just our daily busyness would count and we didn't have to make a special trip for exercises. Or that I could get off my butt after dinner and take a walk around the block. (Sunshine) I miss our walks. I always regret stopping any activity a long while after I have stopped because I always wonder where I would have been today had I have continued on that good path. Only good things can come from good habits so why aren't all of my habits good?

I have tried to schedule my day. I have actually made a timetable where I plot out all my activities for the day. Included in this timetable is the necessary stuff, ie: cooking, cleaning, as well as my hobbies. If I give myself the deadline of when the kids come home from school I can achieve success. However, I seem to make a timetable a day at a time and even though I enjoy the good feeling that comes with a fulfilling day, I still might not make a timetable for the next day! When it comes to getting stuff done during the day I am a great list maker and am usually pretty good about scheduling my time and getting everything done. Even if I complain the whole time I am doing it! My list is usually in my head and it is always an endless list of things to do. I don't know if I really even feel satisfied when I have accomplished a job. Well, that's not really true I usually give a sigh of relief and look at my accomplishments but very quickly my mind turns to how much more needs to be done.

Eating well is another habit I would like to improve, as is drinking more water. I need to find within myself the switch that needs to be turned on so that I will listen to my 'good' inner voice which continually tells me what I should be doing. The bad voice seems to be stronger! Or maybe, it's because I'm a Gemini and have double the interests and they are waging a war. Again eating well is not a big problem for me, the problem is eating way to much of a good thing!!!!

I think that for the most part I eat pretty well but the weight is still not coming off. Why is that? It must be the failed exercise program.

I know everyone is different in how they accomplish tasks and reward themselves. Many times I wish for a keeper to come and force me, gently, to achieve more. Maybe I should make myself accountable to you, our benchers, and choose two things which bug me the most. I think exercise and guitar lessons are two items I would like to work on the most. I will try to set a reasonable goal and keep you all appraised of my progress.
Saying it out loud or to others has never done the trick for me. Even spending money on a gym membership doesn't motivate me or make me accountable. I don't know what it will take for me to finally commit myself to being the healthiest me that I can be and not being lazy about doing the necessary work to achieve the desired results.

Something I have noticed in myself is I am much more productive if I have way too much to do. I find the days when I don't have anything pressing but there are things that could be done are the days when NOTHING gets done. The days when my list is three pages long are the days when I get three pages of stuff done. I guess I need the pressure. But I feel I don't stop to enjoy the fruits of my labour as I am on to the next thing.
Maybe, we just have too much to do and not enough time to enjoy what we already have accomplished. When is enough going to be enough for us?


  1. To quote Nike, Ladies...JUST DO IT!!!! Do it for yourselves and no one else. You constently go on about everything you do for your kids/spouses, but nothing about what you do for you. Be selfish for once...even just for an hour a day. I found my trigger was saying it out loud, and it takes 21 days to form a habit, good or bad. For example, I decided that I needed to start flossing (mainly to get my RealAge down where I wanted it), so I challenged myself to do it. Haven't missed a night since January 12th. I also decided that I was tired of paying Weight Watchers to watch my weight sit...I run, I walk to work, I eat "right", etc...finally I decided enough was enough and stumbled upon the Survivor Boot Camp. I have not missed one class and I'm now into my fourth session! Oh, and if you're looking for some motivation...I've lost 18.5 pounds and 13" since signing up 19 weeks ago!! Check out their website (www/ to me they have classes in your area. It only takes an hour a couple times a week...and anyone can do anything for one hour.
    A journey of a thousand miles starts with one just have to move your foot!

  2. Hi Carol, I know that the time is there and so is the want, I will be great for a week or two and then something happens to mess up my schedule and I have a hard time getting back to it. It's stupid really beause I feel so good after I have exercised. I am also watching what I eat and have cut down on portion sizes. I am drinking way more water, too.

    That foot you mention above, could it be yours giving me a good swift kick every few weeks or so to keep me honest! Maybe, I should set a goal, not of weight loss, but of 1/2 hour of exercise everyday. Or maybe every other day. Was it 21 days to form a habit, ok..I will try, no I will commit to exercise for 1/2 hour every(other)day for 21 days from tomorrow the 24th of September. I will also commit to drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day!

    So, 21 days from today is Wednesday the 14th of October.

    I gues I will try to follow your lead and post my efforts, keeping me honest.

    Wish me luck!

  3. Wieght such a ugle word. I have battled it all my life because I have been over wieght since my earlyest baby pictures. Truth be told I have lost over a thousand pound over my life time. After a heart attack and open heart surgary you would think that would motivate anyone to shed the pounds. But oh no not me in fact I have gained weight. I will eventually kill me. I know this and still what do I do.
    Well if thinking about it would make me loss wieght I would be skinny minny because I think about it many times every day. Truth be told I am not a big eater but for me I eat to much. I do walk about an hour a day very slowly and stoping to catch my breath with the occasional nitro puff.
    I think the best thing I can do to have a betterlife is to just stop thinking about it. I will work on that and see how it improves my life.