Listening to a podcast interview with Gretchen Rubin, the other day, got me thinking about habits. She says that to make good habits stick they have to be realistic. If you have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, then it is unrealistic to plan to get up early to work out. In my case it is the habits I try to establish in the evening that usually don’t pan out. I’m definitely a morning person. In the evening, I’m tired and unmotivated. If I sit down to meditate in the evening, I fall asleep, and if I put off doing yoga until the evening it just doesn’t happen. So making a habit of daily meditation and yoga turns out to be easiest when I do it in the morning. Almost everything is easiest in the morning. However I quickly run out of morning time.
One reason for this is that I seem to be addicted to mindless entertainment. There are so many healthy habits that I would like to incorporate into my day – exercise, reading, journaling, connecting with friends and family via skype and email that I just don’t have time for – largely because I resist and procrastinate and TV shows help me to do this. Grrrr. For example I “ruin” my morning by watching a 45 minute TV show. Wouldn’t it be better to plan that show into the evening? Of course 11 pm which is when I get home from work is a little late to watch a show before bed, plus not really conducive to sleep, so I’m thinking what about saving the show for the last hour before I leave for work – in order to get more out of my morning. Whenever I’m resisting something – like making appointments for the doctor, the dentist, the vet or to get the oil changed on my car, or just sitting down to do some writing, I watch a TV show and suddenly I don’t have time anymore.
I also tend to resist walking the dog which is both necessary exercise, sunshine exposure and fresh air, not to speak of the importance to the well being of my furry best freind. However, if I “allow” myself to listen to an audio book while dog walking my motivation increases enormously. What Gretchen Rubin says is that you have to work with your personality traits to make the habits and life that will make you happy. She also says that if a habit doesn’t make your life happier, it’s not worth having. Just forget about it!