New Habits for April

I have been trying to find a focus for this blog, since I know it is really all over the place regarding topics.  Therefore, I am going to try to focus on one topic per month, as I overhaul my life and create Judy 3.0.  I have been listening to A LOT of life coaching podcast hours, and taking up the blog again is one way I am putting into practice the teachings that I am learning.  Being a “jump in and tackle everything at once” kind of person, I tend to get easily overwhelmed. The most recent example of this is these last couple of weeks, when I was inspired by Cait’s post about personal trackers.  I decided to ignore her advice (and that of everyone else), and added several new habits at once.  Most are not huge habits, but I added four or five instead of just one.  So now I am going to try to focus better instead of scattering my energy.

Kitchen counter

The first thing I added was to keep my kitchen clean.  Now, this is not a small habit to introduce, if you have ever seen my kitchen.  If not, here is a peek at the usual state of it.messy kitchen

Keeping my kitchen clean is, as you can see, a daunting task.  So I started by just saying that the one counter beside the sink would be cleared off every night.  Yes, just four square feet of space.  After doing some mental work and telling myself that I am the kind of person who does keep a clean counter, I discovered that it didn’t really take long to wash the dishes that didn’t go in the dishwasher and rinse out any bottles or jars that we had emptied.  Over the last two weeks, I think I have skipped doing it only twice, with the excuse that I was too tired.  This has made a remarkable difference in the kitchen.  Once that counter was clean, it became contagious, just as FlyLady promised it would.  “Well, now I have this counter clean, that one won’t take but a minute to clear off, also.”  And so this morning, my kitchen looks like this:

It looked better when I went to bed, but one of the teenagers apparently did some laundry and thought the counter was a good spot for the basket.  And then my husband got up at 2am to get ready for work, so his breakfast dishes are on the counter.  I emptied containers from Little A’s lunchbox, and fed my kids breakfast before school.  We ran out of heat the other day and so the spare heater is also up here, waiting to be put away. The other day, I even got home from running errands and found that my oldest-at-home had come home early from school, seen how much work I had put into the house, and finished cleaning up the island.  It was spotless with only the things on it that belong there, like the cutting board, cookbook holder and egg skelter.  I am so delighted that this is becoming the norm.

And now, as I sit here reading what I have just written, I see myself making excuses for my lack of perfection.  I want to explain everything that is out of place or needs to be dealt with.  Still.  And I fall into the trap of beating myself up for beating myself up.  It is hard to have compassion for myself at this stage.  I am still a work-in-progress.

Other new habits

The other habits I started at the same time were much smaller, and I just slipped them into my established daily routines.  My dentist will be happy that I have finally started flossing regularly.  The cat is much happier now that I am cleaning her litterbox every day instead of haphazardly.  And I am using the personal tracker every day.

The tracker has been very illuminating, and I don’t always like what I see.  I have had to face how much time I spend playing games on the computer, how much junk food I eat, and how little exercise I take.  I personalized the page, and changed TV time to WoW time (World of Warcraft), and caffeine to hot chocolate, since I don’t like coffee.  This tool will be incredibly helpful to see my general trends, rather than focusing on the failures of a single day.

I am very conflicted about doing some more decluttering in the house.  I finally accepted that I will not have a sewing room again for several more years, so I hung up my thread rack in the dining room.  Maybe now the dog will stop chewing up my spools.  I both want to get rid of stuff, but I am also overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I want to get rid of.  I have to just take one step at a time.

My theme for this month will therefore be decluttering and housekeeping.  Next month I plan to tackle time management.  Really, I want to get my life into a condition where I can help other people, but first I have to help myself.  So until I can offer help with your problems, I will just share here how I tackle my own so that you know you are not alone.

Your turn

What are your newest habits?  Were they easy or hard to establish?  How did you do it?

One Reply to “New Habits for April”

  1. I love this post. I’m thrilled to hear about your successes. And tackling one theme/item/habit a month is a great way to go about it. And don’t fret if you haven’t exactly nailed it by the time the month is over. Just keep going with it into the next month. By the time that month is over, you’re sure to be a pro. 😉

    If you’d like some help tackling the decluttering and shedding of past belongings (and limiting beliefs) I’m more than happy to come give a hand with that. 🙂

    I love you, Mom, and I’m so proud of how far you’re coming. ❤

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