Before this year, I had few created habits. I did things habitually but more in a way they naturally happened. Like drinking coffee every morning, bathing my kids and making dinner. I never tried to make those things happen, they just happened because they needed to and I had to do it.
In March I did something I’ve never done. I decided to floss daily. I know, something I should have done my whole life and blah blah blah, but I didn’t. I floss between two molars on my upper right side a lot because they have a weird spacing and stuff gets stuck in there but I never did all my teeth even remotely frequently.
In April I started dry brushing before every shower as a part of a self care routine. I love dry brushing and have done it off and on for years but never committed to doing it before every shower as a habit. During pregnancy I think it’s probably doubly beneficial because of how it affects circulation. Pregnant women have forty percent more blood due to supporting new life and making sure that gets circulated is very important.
In May I decided to drink sixteen ounces of water before eating or drinking anything else in the morning. This not only improves digestion, but it absorbs into your body that time of day better than any other time because your system isn’t bogged down with food. Therefore better hydrating you at the start of the day!
I June I began eating breakfast every day. Something I have done here and there throughout my life but being pregnant makes it harder and because my eating is so sporadic the rest of the day right now that getting in a breakfast is sometimes the only real meal I have.
In July I started washing my face every night. What, you do that?! hehe. No, I just don’t wear a lot of make up (and it’s completely natural mineral make up when I do wear it) and so I just washed my face while showering. But I noticed a visible decrease in the quality condition of my skin lately so now I rinse my face with water every night. I don’t use face wash as it doesn’t make my face feel good and I’m uncomfortable with the amount of chemicals involved and I don’t moisturize because I don’t get dry. I simply rinse the day off my face and in just a short time it improved my complexion. A very small change to my bedtime routine with wonderful results.
Seeing a pattern? Here’s why there’s a pattern, I learned from flossing daily how to create a habit and it wasn’t easy.
1. I had to take the time. Starting out with flossing I was annoyed by the amount of time it took. You know how long it took? Like ninety seconds. But it was an adjustment because I had to take time, I HAD to force myself to spend those ninety seconds every single night during my regular routine.
2. I had to stop making excuses. All the time when I try to start some sort of momentum in my life I make excuses. With flossing it would be so easy to think ‘I floss a lot now, one night won’t make a difference.’ but guess what? If you make that excuse, it’s even easier to make it again the next night and the next night and pretty soon, you never floss.
3. It doesn’t happen over night. There are studies all over the place that say if you do something twenty one times, eighty times, a hundred and twenty times it will become habit. The truth is, it’s different for everyone. For me, it literally took six week. SIX WEEKS before I felt like it was an effortless part of my routine. We went out of town at the end of May and I forgot to bring floss and for two nights I couldn’t get to any….I thought I was going to die. Morning breath? Ten times worse. Creepy crawly feeling of minuscule food particles between my teeth? I literally lost sleep over it. However, that was when I realized it wasn’t something I was forcing, I actually liked to floss daily and saw the benefit of continuing.
4. I can do anything! As soon as I accepted my new habit with flossing I realized I could literally do it with every area of my life. Slowly but surely I could create healthy habits and change a lot of things that I dislike about how I operate. That was when I started other habits. Drinking water in the morning before coffee or breakfast was really really hard but it made me feel so much better and my system worked better too. I just used the little things I learned from making a single habit and turned it into more.
So my next goals for more healthy habits are definitely in the area of eating. This is hard right now because I’m really pregnant. I don’t like food very much, my belly is big enough that my stomach is squeezed and my appetite is non existent, and I tend to have aversions that mess with my eating. Maybe in august I’ll start drinking smoothies or juices daily. I also want to have exercise goals but again, pregnancy gets in the way. I’ve been working out and being active but some days my pelvis won’t let me do much or I have more round ligament pains than normal. Sometimes I just simply get knocked out by exhaustion of growing a baby! I don’t want to say I’ll work out four days a week right now because for at least the next ten and a half weeks I can’t guarantee that at all and then I have to spend six weeks without it.
However, I’m enjoying exploring the new territory of habitual lifestyle changes and will keep growing in this area until I feel like I’ve overcome some of the things I struggle with most.
What about you? Have you intentionally created a habit? What sort of things do you do habitually?