Breaking habits isn’t enough on its own. Positive habits that reinforce your vision of the future while replacing the bad habits in a meaningful and relatable way are equally important. For the week of March 15, I’m focusing on Shitty Western Mindfulness (SWM… also an acronym for single white male… hmm… coincidence? Yes. Obviously
Eating at my desk
Eating at my desk slowly and throughout the day is the worst habit I have regarding food but one that can be easily overcome with a little focus. I don’t eat much in one sitting, so during lockdown I developed the bad habit of eating my lunch at my desk over the course of several hours while I worked. Consistent eating threw my clock out of whack so I wasn’t hungry for dinner either. A secondary negative is getting my equipment and desk messy, generally appearing as one of those disgusting 4Chan video game addicts you may have seen in some of the popular “4Chan Users’ Bedrooms” photo galleries. Tip: Don’t Google that.
Soda / Pop / Soda-Pop / Coke
Moving forward, I’m getting back to drinking coffee in the morning rather than buying a gigantic can of “Lo-Carb Monster”. It’s not just healthy, it’s cheap. Even a bag of my favorite cherry-kissed coffee at The Good Market is only a few bucks whereas Monster is $3 every day. Whatever cocktail of chemicals are interacting in those cans also make me very angry at easily agitated by 4PM. Generally, I’m a hot tempered guy (because I’m surrounded by incompetent morons) but I can keep it under control when I’m not turbo charged.
I don’t know if this should be called a habit per se, but all of my worst behaviors kick in when I feel overwhelmed and like I’m falling behind. As many have said before me, this is just a feeling. I need to get better at stopping what I’m doing and taking care of the little details bludgeoning me over the head while I’m working. Take my planner for example. On days where I don’t fill it out on time, I am reminded of it every few minutes and I think “I’ll do it as soon as I finish this…” and I immediately forget. Then I remember again in ten minutes, feeling worse about it, but still not stopping. By 5pm I still haven’t done it and there’s really no point then. My day has already devolved into a disorganized mess in which I’ve stretched myself in too many directions. Plus the workday is over.
It’s not all bad though. I wouldn’t be able to recognize the need to slow down and stop if I hadn’t already internalized the notion that nothing is ever too late. My habit of waiting “until Monday” or “next month” is long gone. I won’t deny that for some reason I do feel amped up on Monday mornings, but I don’t use it as an excuse to wait until I feel refreshed to get something started. I have AM and PM routines scripted in my planner as well as workday and shutdown routines. If I’m an hour late on my AM routine, it’s okay. I just do it when I can. Of course once I’m at work there are certain things I can’t do anymore but I don’t beat myself up over it.
Life is hard enough when you’re not your own worst critic.