Good Habits

What goes for your wealth also goes for your habits. There are two ways to improve each. For wealth, you can decrease your spending and increase your income. For habits, you can decrease your bad habits and increase your good habits. The former option has limits in both. The latter contains infinite possibilities if you apply yourself.

Working on one habit at a time seems like good advice, but it’s advice I can never abide. We all operate differently. Perhaps Leo is right. Perhaps I’ll adopt no new habits if I try to adopt more than one at once. Or maybe my way will work for me, just as his worked for him.

1. Wash face with soap after work

  • Complexions like mine require gentle care. When I washed my face three times a day it got worse. When I cut to two it got better. When I cut to one it got better in some ways and worse in others. Timing seems to be a part of it. My face gets oily during the workday, so why not wash in the morning with my shower and then again after work? It seems to have positive effects when I can stick to it.

2. Wash my hands after lunch

  • Growing up, my parents ingrained a habit of washing my hands before eating. Yet it seems that washing after a meal, especially after lunch, pays off. This one should be particularly easy to implement, since I usually go to the bathroom after lunch anyway.

3. Always pack a napkin

  • We have napkins at the office. It doesn’t mean I always grab one. Packing one means I’ll take it with my lunch bag to my office.

4. Stand up every 20 minutes

  • We probably shouldn’t sit for more than two minutes at a time. Standing up for a bit every 20 minutes will probably reduce the effects of having my ass in a chair all day.
  • While I don’t get up every 20 minutes, I do stand for at least three hours a day. This seems like enough of a victory. At three weeks, this habit seems like a sticker.

5. Get sunlight at lunch when possible

  • If it is sunny out, why not soak up some of those rays? True, it’s Texas, so it’ll get a bit too hot eventually. But while the weather is still nice? Get outside while you have the chance, if even for just five minutes.

6. Limit to 2 chocolates after dinner

  • My sweet tooth knows no bounds. It’s downright embarrassing, frankly. To help curb its destruction, I’ve started having a few Hershey’s Kisses after dinner. It works, except for those times I eat like eight or nine of them. Keeping it to two will satiate my sweet tooth while not killing my diet.

7. Start the bedtime process at 8

  • This was originally “laying in bed by 8:45,” but that’s not enough. Recovery is important, especially after intense exercise. On days after not sleeping at least 7.5 hours, my work suffers. It’s tougher to get through the day. It might seem ridiculous to start getting ready for bed at 8, but that gives me time to read for a bit and knock myself out by 9. Then it’s up at 5 for an early start to the day.
  • I’ve been doing this for three weeks, though with interruptions here and there. Setting an alarm at 8 helps. It’s not perfect, but it works on, say, three out of five work nights. Soon enough it’ll be all five.

8. Wipe down stove and counters nightly

  • Yes, sometimes I leave grime on kitchen counters and the stovetop. It’s disgusting. When I wash dishes at night, those surfaces need to get wiped down. It takes less than five minutes, so the excuses are pretty pathetic.

9. Wash my water bottle daily

  • This also seems disgusting, in retrospect. Before I washed my gym water bottle once a week, if that. Granted, I have two of them and rotate, but it’s still disgusting to not wash them after each use. Again, it takes like 30 seconds.
  • This has been going on for 2.5 weeks, so it’s almost reached its one-month goal.

10. Meditate for 10 minutes a day

  • This just hasn’t worked out. I’ve tried during lunch, and I’ve tried after work. I will revisit after some of the above habits are better ingrained.

As I fully adopt these habits, they get removed from the list and new ones get added. Sometimes the list won’t be 10 habits; when I try to implement meditation it might be wise to take Leo’s advice since it’s not an easy habit to adopt.