I read this at another organization/cleaning forum, and it really resonates with me.
The way to effectively make a new habit is to link it to an already existing habit -the kind of habit that's vitally necessary.
Also, no more than one new habit at a time, and give each habit a month or more before trying to establish a new one. I think those two are more familiar to everyone, but the first one, above, rang a bell with me. Hey, I think I already do that sometimes! Cool!
In those instances where I've been successful making a new habit it's been because I added it to an existing, deeply ingrained routine. Best example, the morning routine. I should note I have an extremely difficult time waking up. I take medication for it, and it's been very effective and helpful. Anyway, what motivated me is that I had other people counting on me, kids and husband.
Everyone needs lunches. I'm particularly motivated to provide them with healthy food. 1) Public school lunches are crap. 2) dh simply won't bother to eat if I don't make him a lunch, and I believe skipping lunch is really unhealthy. This is just one of those things that really motivates me. It might be a control thing, too. But at least my family has only benefited from me wanting to feed them remotely, what I want them to eat, when I can't be there.
I usually need to break things down into really teeny baby steps, smaller that I think necessary at first. I started with consistently having lunch material in the house. Can't make lunches if you don't have anything in the house. Obvious? Not on Sunday afternoon when I'm at the grocery store. Kids ended up with school lunches and dh went without lunch in spite of my best intentions. It took a couple weeks for me to remember to routinely get lunch stuff in the house before Monday morning.
Next step, don't make people late waiting for me to finish making lunches. Dh regularly had to wait for me to finish up and I felt really bad when he said it was making him late to work. Same with the kids. Jeez Louise, my kids are late to school and it's my fault because I'm not getting their lunches together fast enough!! Get it together, Woman! I can laugh a bit about this now, it's been 10, 12 years.
Anyway, this was just a matter of making it a mindless habit. I realized I was thinking about each step along the way. OK, what do I do now? Remember mornings are super difficult for me. So if I didn't have to re-invent the bag lunch every morning before I was awake I could move much faster. Automatic pilot: lunch bags out, sandwich bags out, everyone gets a drink, a bag of cookies, a piece of fruit. Make the sandwiches: line up the bread, slather on the peanut butter, next the jelly, bag them up and drop one in each bag. Done. No thinking about it, no one late because I was still futzing around with lunches.
I have successfully added making coffee to the routine. I linked it to making lunches and again, made it a mindless habit. Most mornings I get the news paper onto the table in time for dh to read a bit of it. It would be nice to add hot breakfast to the routine, but I'm ok with managing that only occasionally.
12 years ago I would not believe I'd be capable of getting my ass out of bed in time to make coffee and make lunches for everyone.
I have to comment because YAY! You did something you didn't think you were capable of which is just awesome in it's own right and B) I'm exactly the same... Except I still don't get up and make lunch. DH just preps his own lunch or buys a $3 salad from the grocery store at lunchtime. Lucky my kids are homeschooled, because I could never actually get lunches done in the morning. I'm soooo not a morning person. Never have been and probably never will be.
Good on you mama! It's so hard to break routine, even though we know it may not be working out for us. Linking habits is a great idea and something I hope to be able to incorporate in my goal busting. I am currently sitting here writing up a goal plan for various parts of my life and this has certainly helped me in how I will attack the 'how to achieve this goal' part of my plan. :)
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Loveourbabies, thank you for the kind words! Definitely, if dh would make his own lunch or if he would reliably bother to buy a lunch, I wouldn't be doing it. I'll never be a morning person either. I think the best we can do is find ways to work with it.
Another epiphany, from the forum I've been visiting: "...she stunned me with the idea that filing should be looked at like laundry: never completely caught up, and that's fine."
This is obvious to me now, but it just wasn't for a long time. I don't know what I thought was going to happen, though? I was going to power my way through the mountainous Problem Pile of papers, once and for all! and feel relieved because I got that over with, and what, I'd never receive another piece of paper that needs filing?
It's really reassuring to know that this is just normal.
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