Break your habits

by Lesley on February 22, 2010 · 8 comments

in lessons learned,make-you-think

frozen yogurtOne of my favorite classes at Westmont was Rhetoric, a two semester course covering the five canons. I’m just going to be honest when I say–I don’t remember as much of the course as I wish. But, every once in awhile, something will trigger a memory that seems to float out from somewhere deep inside my being. Today, I had one of those moments.

Recently, life has felt very much the same. I get up at the same time, and trudge along on the same running route. I come home and eat the same breakfast cereal, and part my hair the same way. I run for the bus and miss the bus (and then cuss about missing the bus, and then ask to be forgiven). I tweet and email and write all day, then rush off to some type of networking/volunteering/biblestudying event. I come home tired, really tired, and go to bed way too late. And then, I get up. And I do it all again.

Today was not going to be another one of those ordinary days. No…today was going to be a frozen yogurt for dinner type of day, and no one was going to tell my otherwise. I packed up at 5:45pm, bundled in my warm coat, and started off on my brisk walk to Yogurtagogo. I slid in the doors just before their 6:00pm cut off for their $2 happy hour specials, piled up as much yogurt as the 4oz cup would hold, and confidently handed my $2 in bus money over to the cashier. I would have walked home if I had to. NOTHING would stop me from that yogurt.

As I walked the streets back towards the office, I found myself ┬ánoticing the quiet. The bars and restaurants on L Street are closed on Mondays. Few cars rushed by. A person here or there walked a dog. It was just me, my yogurt, and the street lamps. All of a sudden, I heard my rhetoric professor’s words: “Break your habits.” He didn’t necessarily mean the bad and ugly habits-like smoking or drinking exorbitant amounts of coffee. While those habits could probably stand to be cut, I don’t think they were really what he was referring to. What he meant were the habits which are so normal, so accepted, that we don’t even think of them as habits anymore. Things like–always sleeping on the right hand side of the bed, or choosing the same seat in math class, or taking the same route to work every morning.

Sometimes, we need a change in perspective to see life a bit differently. Today, I needed frozen yogurt to remind me that life doesn’t have to be so routine. I don’t have to stay at work until all my tasks are done, or get home right on time to make dinner. I can eat ice cream instead and it really doesn’t matter.

What habits are hardest for you to break? What (good or bad) habits do you want to break the most?

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8 comments
kelsey
kelsey

what a beautiful post. i really want to break my habits now that my daughter is here. to show her fun, whimsical, silly ways that i love her and get lost in the day without a care of breaking her routine. :)

Lesley
Lesley

Heidi! Thanks for your comment. I love your honesty. I want to come over with Katie and take a nap in your piles of clothes. :)

Heidi
Heidi

Loved this post! My habit that needs to break is how messy our bedroom gets. I do a decent job of keeping the rest of the house clean but struggle with our room. It is mostly clothes and I need to reorganize and purge so that clothes are not taking over our room. It is clean clothes, dirty clothes, clothes that need to go to dry cleaners, clothes that the boys took off in our room, clothes I am remembering to give to the housecleaner next week, scrubs from the hospital dan needs for surgeries, clothes that don't fit me now but will once I lose some more baby fat, clothes that are now too big but will be nice for the beginning stages of pregnancy when I just look like I've gained 10 lbs, clothes that don't fit Logan anymore, and clothes that will fit Logan in a few weeks. Katie came over awhile ago and walked back to our room and even asked if we were moving. I am going to change this habit and this post motivated me!

Ashlee
Ashlee

I love this post Lesley. It's so true! My horrible habit is waking up every morning and checking my phone. I check my e-mail, from bed, before I do anything else. I think I partly do it to procrastinate peeling myself out of bed, but it's definitely a habit I'm looking to break. I spend all day sitting on the computer responding to e-mails....there is no reason why it should be the first thing I see when I wake up!

Lori
Lori

this is really funny because I am taking a break from frozen yogurt...to break my habit of craving it every day and eating it at least once a week :)...serious.

Alysun
Alysun

Ooh, good post. I'm working on breaking a very bad habit. Not quite ready to share it with the world. But I think I might be changing my world by breaking this one. Thanks for inspiring.

Sarah
Sarah

I hope writing is never ever ever a habit you break. Just love this post, since I'm a freak of nature/creature of habit too. It took moving to Phoenix to break my green/pasta salad lunch from the Gelson's salad bar every single day -- and only because Gelson's doesn't exist (and quite frankly, Whole Foods is so not as cool as it thinks it is). Maybe I'll stop for some fro-yo tonight :)

Corinne
Corinne

I would say that habits, what kind and how strong of a hold they have on us and how we feel towards them, are likely strongly affected by personality. Of course it differs individual to individual... but as far as daily patterns and habits go, I don't like them and I never find myself in one for too long. It's rare that I realize I'm doing something the same way I did it last time or yesterday. I think that has a lot to do with being P and also F. Your post sounds quite J to me... it also sounds like the post of a diligent and healthy and very successful person. ;) My problem is my difficulty in 1) getting INTO habits, like taking vitamins every day or making sure do stuff like housecleaning regularly enough. I hate doing things daily, I dislike repetition. And 2) getting out of chronic lifestyle habits that aren't exactly daily actions...always being 5 minutes late and not being the greatest at calling people back. I'd love to get out of, and it would probably take creating new regular habits, these "Corinne-isms."