Monday, August 24, 2015

In Which I Try to Form New Habits

Artsy picture of the quilt I made for my mom's birthday

It's 10:11 on Monday night, and I'm tired and ready to go to bed. But I'm trying to form a new habit--to blog on Mondays and Fridays. Now this has been a particularly busy Monday--tomorrow is the first day of school, so we've been going to back-to-school open houses and putting together binders and buying shin guards for soccer and baking pumpkin muffins and mixing up french toast batter for the morning. So you can see why I haven't had a second till now to write.

I've been reading about habits lately; in particular, I've been reading Gretchen Rubn's Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives. I love Gretchen Rubin's books (The Happiness Project, etc.). They are sensible and orderly and offer helpful advice. She's the one who suggested you have one empty shelf in your house. I love that suggestion! I think everyone should follow it.

Anyway, I started reading Better than Before because I want to give up eating goldfish cheese crackers, and I find it so awfully hard to do so. As it turns out, the book is more about adopting good habits than getting rid of bad ones, but it still fills you with a can-do spirit. And there is one bit of good advice about habits that applies to eating and imbibing--one should decide if one is an abstainer or a moderater. I think most of us are both, it just depends. For instance, I have no problem moderating my consumption of alcoholic beverages, but if there is a single potato chip in my house I will track it down and eat it, even if it's dusty and stale (okay, not really--or at least not always). Over the last few years, I've cut down my sugar consumption drastically and as long as the cookies are behind the cupboard door, I don't think twice about them. Pumpkin muffins? I must abstain entirely or grow another dress size.

In terms of developing good habits, sometimes it's better to do something every day, like exercise, than to say you'll do it three times a week. And I've decided that if I'm going to stay current with my blog, I need to come up with a schedule. I'm not convinced I can do every day, so Mondays and Fridays it is. Now I know. Now I can commit.

I would also like to develop the habit of sitting down for fifteen minutes every evening with a glass of tea and commenting on all my favorite blogs. Maybe I need to put that on my calendar. It helps for me to see stuff written down. In neat letters and bright colors. Large print.


Tomorrow Will starts 7th grade and Jack starts 11th. I think they're both excited. I'm excited--I love going back to school. I think I'll get up in the morning and organize my desk and sharpen some pencils.


I'm reading a wonderful book I want to tell you about at some point. It's called The Architecture of Happiness by Alain De Botton. It is a book about buildings and houses (which are of course buildings) and beauty. And desire. And how lovely, tidy room can make us feel as though life were indeed good and worthy of leaning into.

But I'm too tired to write about it now. Maybe Friday. I'll just say that I'm enjoying thinking about houses and what makes a house a good, comfortable place to be. But enough. To bed!


gretchenjoanna said...

If you blog Mondays and Fridays what a boon that will be to us all!
I loved The Architecture of Happiness. It makes me happy just thinking about it again, so I will look forward to your review.

Jo said...

Ooh, I am so excited about your commitment. I love to discover a new post by you:) I am also reading an Alain de Botton book I am enjoying - Religion for Atheists. I think it has many useful and thoughtful things for those who aren't even atheists:)

Tracy said...

It seems so upside down to be talking of going back to school. We are on the downward slide to the end of the school year, which happens to coincide with the end of the actual year. And summer. I'm not ready for summer though.

I like hearing your insights about habits. I seem to be very good at the daily habits around getting us all out of the house and getting things done in the evening. But there's a whole bunch of stuff that has just fallen by the wayside. Housework, for example. Like you, I have no problems with alcohol, but chips are a whole other story. And crackers. And cheese. And Mr Busy's choice hip biscuits (cookies). I wish I were an abstainer. But this household is full of genetically programmed "Eaters". I'm sure it's a curse. Since I've been in this family longer than the one of my birth it seems to have stuck!

I hope the boys' first day at school goes smoothly and they come home happy, switched-on young lads. Year 11? Who'd a thought it?!!! And Year 7. Surely Will was a cute little toddler about five seconds ago??

Nancy McCarroll said...

Just take a break from your expectations. That perhaps might make you feel better. Pat yourself on the back (she says as she wipes tears from her eyes) for the good things you are doing. That empty shelf will always fill up with accoutrements of your life.

I will re-read your post later and perhaps have a different view. You are one busy person!

Gumbo Lily said...

I think you're A-OK as you are my dear! I do look forward to more posts by you. I love reading what you have to say.

Lynn said...

The Architecture of Happiness sounds like a wonderful book. I will have to look for it. And I love the quilt you made. Gorgeous!

Pom Pom said...

I downloaded that book immediately. It sounds SO interesting! Thanks!
It's fun to experiment with habits and possible habits. I've always liked playing around with the concept.
My enthusiasm for blogging ebbs and flows. Gone are the good old days when our bloggers were fiddling with it and LOVING the platform.
It's okay, there are new things to learn.
I hope the boys have an inspiring beginning to the 2015-2016 school year. I hope you have some deliciously quiet mornings with the ever-adorable Travis.
Sending love your way, good Frances.