Forming a new habit takes 21 days…. or longer

I have always held the belief that making or breaking a habit followed one simple formula:

Have idea to change or start activity+ 21 days of doing or not doing that activity =Habit Formed

However, when opening my email today and reading an excerpt from a new book, by Jeremy Dean, “Making Habits, Breaking Habits: Why We Do Things, Why We Don’t, and How to Make Any Change Stick

seems to indicate the harder the change, the longer the timeframe to move it from “idea” to “habit”. The range has been found to be anywhere from 21 to 96 and sometimes more depending on the complexity of the change. I have to say as someone trying to change eating habits, reading habits and spending habits all in one year, this comes as something of a relief.

Now, don’t mistake me, you still have to do the work, but this allows for some grace in the forming of the habit, and to allow you to realize that even if not perfect, the effort is worth it because it is in the effort to make a change for the positive, that we truly start the change.
By the way, changing eating habits for 30 days has yielded me 16 pounds less on my frame, more energy and sleeping better. I will get back to you on the rest.. What are you trying to change today, tomorrow and next week?


Flying in the teeth of failure!

My teeth are in bad shape. They have been for years. I am ashamed by how they look in pictures, often I even close my lips to not expose my teeth. I have been told that I have genetics working against me, but its not all the progenitors fault, I share some of the blame too. For many years I was lax about my dental hygiene but in the last year or so,  I have been making efforts to improve the state of my health which includes my teeth.

After flossing, brushing, and mouth washing for months I walked into my dentist’s office yesterday very optimistic about what he is going to tell me. Perfect! I can really tell that you have been doing everything you should, and because of that, I don’t need to do any work on you. In retrospect, I realize this was a bit naive.  I sit in the chair and I brace myself, but still hoping for good news and then he tells me you need a crown, and he points out all the plaque and build up on my teeth though I have been working at this goal for a while. Needless to say, this was VERY disappointing news and at first all I could focus on is the result and what has happened and why did I waste all that time brushing and flossing and I am working myself up into quite a frothy milkshake, and then I realize its useless to complain about a bad result if you are doing all you know how to do to bring about a good one.

I calmed myself down, and decided it was time to learn what I was doing wrong.

So I ask the dentist to watch me floss and brush and I show them exactly how I am doing it and they show me how I am missing angles on this tooth after tooth and I have to slow down because my teeth are not even, I also need to angle my brush differently, and possibly get a different brand of electric toothbrush. I am very honest about my frustration and feeling that what I have been doing is fruitless and they show me X-rays so I can compare and its decidedly better. Can you imagine if I hadn’t been doing everything I have been doing? How much worse could it be?  He added, “This is an old problem, so no matter how much you brushed and flossed, you still would have needed a crown today.”  This makes me feel much better and I am re-energized in my goal to have better teeth. I can’t control genetics but I can be certain to floss, brush and rinse three times a day.

Here’s the closing thought, If you try and don’t succeed, you haven’t failed, it just means you haven’t succeeded yet and you need to adjust the game plan. Maybe get a new coach, or accountability partner. Now, go brush your teeth! Trust me!

Right place, right time

Did you ever feel upset that your plans fell through and then you do something unexpected and it works out in a way you couldn’t possibly have foreseen?

Well, that happened to me yesterday and it is all thanks to “random acts of kindness” birthday. My 36th birthday is Saturday and instead of asking for presents, I have asked friends and family to do a random act of kindness for someone else instead of giving me a present. In years past that would not have been possible, because usually on my birthday, I just see me, and what I want but recently, I have been associated with a group of people who really inspire me to think about others and in a wonderful coincidence I was given a book called, “The Kindness of Strangers” and the idea sort of grew from there. If you haven’t read the book, I recommend you do. Its a literary meringue of goodness and written by top notch authors about their occasion to be helped by a “kind and benevolent” stranger while traveling to far off destinations. Each one a little more interesting than the next, but the thing I took from it was the ability we all have to do that “kindness” for a “stranger” So, the next time you are at Starbucks, consider paying for the person behind you, or buying someone’s groceries that they had to put back. It doesn’t have to cost money, but it will cost you some thought. 

I find the examining leads to lots of thoughts about other people and what you can do to bless them emotionally, spiritually or financially. What can you do today to make a stranger have a better day? Think about it!

Awake. Alert. Check!

Well dear readers, it is 5:37 a.m. and I am awake. It helps that I have to be at work at 7:00. I am putting my money where my mouth is when it comes to rising early and thought it might be time to check in on my intentions and see how I am doing on my goals and intentions thus far.

Intentions- Less tv. More Books.

Well it was a rocky start, but I am happy to say in the last week, I have not watched television for three days running though Netflix has been beckoning to me with promises of British television and other entertaining fare. I have finished one book, started two more, and read a periodical.

Less talk. More Action-  Well I was awake at 5 a.m. and am actively working on my writing albeit bleary-eyed.

More face to face visits with coffee and tea. Less Facebook.

As of Saturday and Sunday, I had two face to face visits with friends and have three or four more planned. I have actively avoided posting on Facebook but am still scrolling for updates, must work on this.

More SLEEP. Well, I am up to six and a half hours of sleep a night and gaining on that eight hour mark.

I might add, my husband and I are adopting a lifestyle change to eat a paleo diet. Surprisingly, abstaining from the  restricted items on this is not as bad as I thought. Something I am discovering, is that it is only hard if you make it hard. It is only difficult if you say it is difficult. Are you detecting a theme, here?

Patience – June 2012

I was just going over some of my old production photos and while this could hardly be called old, it WAS just June, it got me to thinking. That was six months ago and so many people have moved away, gotten married, and are having babies!

Life is short and it should be appreciated. Art is one way to appreciate life. Theatre is another. This production of “Patience” embodies both aspects of artistic expression and excellence in execution.

Small Steps=Big Change

So yesterday, It was the second day of the New Year and I am just bursting with ideas and excitement about all the things I want to accomplish this year.  I sat right down to write my list and the first thing on it was to get eight hours of sleep every night besting my previous record of 5-6 each night last year. I got home last night fully intending to do just that.

Guess what, I failed. So I didn’t even make it to the third day of the year without failing to keep a resolution and then I realized something. My body is used to sleeping 5-6 hours a night, not 8, so when I tried to go to sleep and gain 8 hours, my body said, Whoa, this is different, and I don’t like it so I rebel and sure enough, I got 6 hours of sleep last night. So I aim a little lower, tonight my aim is to get 6 and a 1/2 hours of sleep, so as to gradually work my way up to 8. I also think resolution has a lot of pressure to it, so I am going to start calling it an intention. I have been focusing on living my life intentional so this is certainly apropos. So here are my intentions and I plan to go after them with gusto but in increments. Along the way, I may discover other intentions or a need to tweak or adjust the intentions already in place. That’s okay, this is life, not a movie.

Intentions- Less tv. More Books
Less talk. More Action
Less phone calls. More face to face visits with coffee and tea!!
Less Facebook. More SLEEP

What do you intend to do this year?