They say humans are creatures of habit. Habits get us through the day. From waking up at the same time, to eating breakfast, to walking the dog, habits offer a sense of routine and are often effortless once they are part of our daily routine.
Yet creating a new habit is hard work. It takes determination and focus. Whether it’s flossing your teeth every day or making time for the gym, habits take time to develop and are even easier to break.
As someone who thrives on structure and routine, habits are a big part of my life. While I am still spontaneous and can totally adjust when the plan changes, there’s some comfort knowing that in the morning I will wake up, drink a cup of coffee and have breakfast and then come home after work and get ready for the gym. These habits bring focus and consistency into my life, just like back in the day when I was a teenager and my life ran like a well oiled machine (thanks, mom!).
While some of these habits are still a work in progress, here’s a few that fill my heart with joy:
Listening to music while cooking
Lately I have been turning up the music or listening to NPR when I’m cooking at home. One of my favorite rituals is waking up on a Sunday morning, brewing a pot of coffee, turning on NPR and making breakfast. It’s such a relaxing way to start the day while also getting caught up on what’s happening in the world or learning something new.
I am constantly practicing gratitude. When I first wake up and have that first sip of coffee (thank you, caffeine!), when I’m waiting at the bus stop, when I’m walking the dog, when I’m at the gym or when I head to bed, I’m always feeling thankful. Practicing gratitude has reminded me how precious life is, and has gotten me through some really stressful days. Gratitude is my saving grace and it’s how I stay sane!
Making my bed
Two months ago, my boyfriend shared with me this video of a Navy Seal who makes his bed every day. The Navy Seal explains that if he can at least make his bed in the morning, he knows he has already accomplished something for the day. He also says that you make the bed you sleep in, so even if you come home after a stressful day at work, you can rest easy knowing your bed is a safe haven that’s waiting for you.
In 2016, I joined a CrossFit gym and haven’t looked back. I’ve been going to bootcamp at least 2-3 times a week since last fall. Sometimes I make it to four classes if I’m lucky (aka diligent). Going to bootcamp has completely changed the way I feel about myself and has given me so much confidence and has created routine in my life. This journey has also taught me that it’s not about how I look, but how I feel and what my body can do. This is a habit that gives me the energy I need to stay on top of other aspects of my life, like work!
Writing letters to loved ones
Ever since I was a little girl, I was taught to write letters. My mom always made me write thank you notes after receiving a gift. My grandpa also wrote me letters almost every week. Letter writing makes you slow down and take time to write a thoughtful message. While I’m not perfect, I do my best to keep the art of letter writing alive. I also love stationery, so it helps me justify spending money on pretty paper.
Creating to-do lists
My heart sings whenever I make a to-do list. As someone who has a million thoughts buzzing at any moment and I am a professional multi-tasker (#PRLife), to-do lists help me clear my mind and prioritize. There’s also nothing more satisfying than opening to a new page in my Simplified Planner, which keeps everything in one place.
Reading and writing
2017 has been a year of self care for me. A big part of that practice is reading and writing. Every night before I go to bed, I try to spend 15-20 minutes reading or journaling so I can unwind before bed. I usually journal about my day and write my gratitude list, or will pick up a book on business, self help or a good memoir. The best part of these activities is that they make me super sleepy, which means a great night’s rest!
What are some habits that bring you joy?
Image credit: Twigy Post