Habit forming, one small thing at a time

One of the keys to making lasting and positive changes in our lives is developing habits. One day at a time. Eating well is easier if we just get into the habit of making the right choice, day after day.

I’ve used this philosophy over and over again in all aspects of my life post split.

Some of these things are really little. Like the fact that I was always challenged to put things where they needed to go, especially since I used to live in a four storey townhouse. There was always something to go downstairs or upstairs. So since I moved I’ve made a conscious effort to always be grabbing whatever has to go away, and doing it RIGHT THEN. Now it’s a habit and I do it without thinking.

I also now keep a multitude of lists on my mobile phone, categories including “errands”, “in the house”, etcetera. Whenever I’m out and about I check the errands list and make damn sure I knock things off the list, since I’m out anyway. This is all the more important being single, because there is no one else to do the stuff that needs to get done. 

I also now make it a habit of not multitasking on my phone when I’m eating with Liam, putting him to bed, or otherwise spending quality time together. It used to be I was so anxious to get texts from certain men that I would drag my phone everywhere with me. Haven’t done that for a long time.

And now, in the throes of “letting go”, I’m finding small ways to get even better at building my life around friends and family, and not waiting to hear from Tony or to give him “right of first refusal” on my time. He can accommodate to my schedule, frankly.

A small example of this? The three days I have with Liam this weekend. My brother has invited me to a party at his place on Saturday night. I committed to go with Liam. I will invite Tony but know I will have fun even if he doesn’t come with us. It’s an overnight away and with my kid, so I expect him to say no.

Also, I asked Liam what he would like to do on Monday, when we are both off, and we are going to spend the day at an amusement park and at the beach. Again, I am going to ask Tony if he’s interested in joining us with his son, but if not, it’s his loss. I went ahead and booked tickets without waiting to ask him.

It might seem like a small thing, and it is, but it’s a tangible example of how I’m moving ahead, deciding what I want to do, and not waiting on someone else. I can set the tone of what I want to do, and when I want to do it.

It’s truly habit forming.

0 thoughts on “Habit forming, one small thing at a time

  1. Inspiring. I think it’s no small thing to switch to this mentality. I just got off the phone with my friend telling her that exact thing: if he doesn’t want to join, his loss. Have fun and embrace your life, regardless of whether or not he’s in it. To really live and love that way takes strength, but it’s a strength that pays off not only for you and all the other loves in your life, but also in your relationship with him. I also think it’s a super sexy strength! 😉

    • Thank you Jami. I guess it’s not a small thing but I’m trying to bite off reasonable chunks. Otherwise it’s all very overwhelming.

      I do think it will pay off and yes, agree it’s way more attractive when you come across someone whose life is full AND they can make room for you 🙂

      • Yeah I am learning the power of manageable chunks, too. Trying to do everything at once is a pipe dream. I really enjoy reading about other parts of your life, btw!

  2. This is so good to read! Putting down the phone and giving up the multitasking takes a little bit of discipline, but certainly is not impossible. In the last few weeks, I have been able to successfully wean myself from the constant need to be accessing email, texting, browsing etc on my phone. Putting it down and separating myself from it has been quite liberating.

  3. Wow! That’s great!
    It’s something I need to work on more. I am doing it to a certain extent, but I need to do it more 🙂
    Thanks for the reminder!

    • Thank you Hollie. It feels small but it makes a difference. Just a slight philosophical shift. And today, when Tony and I spoke about the weekend, I said – here are the things I’m doing, it would be great if you could be a part of all / some…

      • My weekends with Owen are just with Owen plans wise and I have always been clear about that, but anytime there has been a guy even remotely in the picture I’m so guilty of being constantly available by phone no matter the time of day or if I’m busy. I’m terrible about shifting my whole life to shit theirs instead of having them meet me half way, like I don’t feel like they will stick around if they have to be inconvenienced in any way., which is stupid and just a holdover habit born of insecurity. Ugh.

  4. I taught myself to do everything with my left hand in case I ever broke my right hand. Eating, swinging a club, wiping my bum (gross), all of it. It’s not the same thing as you are talking about really but I just wanted to tell you that anyway.

  5. It doesn’t seem like a small thing at all Ann!! Actually it seems huge. So much of our success’ and happiness stems from our own thoughts/attitudes!

    • I guess you are right (shocker!) but it doesn’t feel like some big major thing. But yes, it’s a shift in thinking…or at least, a more substantial demonstration of where I knew I needed to be. It’s not that I would always wait around for a man but there were definitely times that I would hold back on making plans until I had a conversation… which just left me frustrated that I couldn’t move forward. I may still get frustrated if I can’t see Tony, but it’s for different reasons now.

    • I’ve rarely found the “big bang” approach works. Especially with weight, which was always a problem for me. I’d be super vigilant and then get tired of that and slowly the weight would come back on.

      What finally worked was starting to make small changes. no more soda / pop. No more juice. Better choices from Monday to Friday. Always having a healthy breakfast. No diet foods.

      Slowly but surely, my weight stabilized. Now, I’ve gained over the last year but it’s more to do with all the other stuff going on than those habits. Perhaps the alcohol 😐

      So I’m a big believer of trying to make a small change, and having it become a habit. Then adding something else, and something else. Before you know it, you’ll have tackled things and made improvements but it won’t have felt like such a big production.

  6. I totally agree with your post. For me it also has to do with health and I get the ball rolling rather quick. When it comes to letting go and certain people around me, the habit of letting them go feels more like mourning for an extended period of time. Unless they piss me off, I’d just tell them to fuck off.

    • I’m not good at telling people to fuck off. I have fired friends in the past, once I’ve realized they aren’t doing me any good, or just aren’t that into me anymore.

      I’m less good doing that with men….

  7. I’ve been reading the last few posts with interest (well, I read ALL of your posts with interest, but the last few I have really been able to relate to). I have been pulling back (letting go) in a few relationships recently. I was definitely more invested in the relationships and it hurt my feelings that I was always the one making the friendly gesture, inviting them places (only to have them cancel at the last minute), and sending texts and emails. I still love these people, but I had to accept that they think and do things differently than me and they have different priorities as far as friendship goes. I still send an occasional email and, when they contact me, I’m happy to respond – but taking that step back almost immediately put me in a better place and gave me some control, which I really needed.

    • Thank you Jana, I’m pleased that you can relate to these but sorry you had some similar experiences with relationships. Several years ago, I let some friendships go, when I realized similar things to what you describe. It was refreshing to be able to focus on fewer people where I had more balanced relationships.

      I’m not sure how things will work out with Tony, but I do know that I’ve been more calm this past week – not all the time, but a definite improvement from before.

    • Hi August, and welcome 🙂

      I read your “blunt” post and think we may have several similarities in telling it like it is. I look forward to exploring your blog further, and to seeing you around here.

      Ann

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