Four Habits That Would Totally Make My Life Better If I Actually Did Them

I know that, if I did them regularly, these four simple habits would improve my life. So why's it so hard to actually do them?

Aug 18, 2013 at 10:30am | Leave a comment

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Can someone start making veggies that taste like Haribo? K thx.

Yes, I still feel like the World's Oldest Teenager. But now, being in my mid-thirties, it's safe to assume that I know how to take care of myself -- at least passably well enough to get by.

So why can't I follow through and adopt all those simple little habits other Normal Functioning Adults seem cool with tackling (regularly!) without a second thought?  Gah. Sometimes it makes me feel weird -- my apparent inability to do these simple-ass things that are indisputably good for me. I know my life would probably take a turn for the better if I just sucked it up and went ahead. OK, fine, I will. Starting … tomorrow.

FLOSSING
Just like yours, my dentists have been ordering me to floss for as long as I can remember. And for as long as I can remember, I've mainly ignored their advice. Sure, I floss here and there -- I'll go through a spell where I'll guiltily scramble to do it every day, then I'll drop back into my avoidance thing and I won't even think about flossing for a  matter of weeks or months. But my anti-floss ways never became a real problem until my thirties. Thanks to gum bleeding and inflammation and cavities and root canals and tooth extractions (and that's just in the last year or two), I think I've finally seen the light and realized, oh yeah, duh -- um OF COURSE it's a good idea to floss regularly. It's not hard, it helps my teeth stay in my mouth, and it would make me feel so COMPETENT ADULT if I could get it together and start flossing daily.

PRAYER/AFFIRMATIONS/OTHER CHEESY SPIRITUAL STUFF
I've been in recovery programs and have a lot of friends who consciously do spiritual stuff every day, whether that consists of meditating for 20 minutes in the morning, going to a 12-Step meeting at lunch, doing affirmations throughout the day, or praying in the shower. I've gone through periods where I tried harder to flex my spiritual muscle -- not because I believe in God (I don't), but because I've seen how profoundly that stuff can help some people cope with the painful intricacies of life. I want to give myself a fair shot at feeling better, too, you know? Yet I NEVER manage to keep it up when I go through one of those "let's get spiritual" phases. I always end up feeling rudely reminded, like, "Oh yeah, I don't actually believe anyone or anything is hearing my prayers, hence, praying makes me feel like a lame faker and why am I doing this and this is embarrassing and pointless" and on and on and on. And then I feel less inclined to ever try it again. Aggh.

EATING MORE VEGETABLES

Fruits I have no problem with, because they taste good (i.e., "sweet"). Veggies, on the other hand, have always been problematic and harder to swallow (har har). My parents didn't always make me eat them when I was little -- mainly because I fought so hard, with every passionate little child-fiber of my super-stubborn being, to refuse. For years and years I was a vegetarian who didn't like vegetables, which sounded like the most absurd thing on the planet to everyone but me. Finally, in my late 20s or early 30s, I began seeing a nutritional counselor who really helped me overcome my fear of veggies. She showed me how to cook them, simply and easily, at home, and helped me discover some new ones I'd never even had a clue I could possibly like. (Yes, kale is one of them; who doesn't love kale by now? Eggplant is another one.) Nowadays I eat more veggies than I did when I was younger, but I still probably don't eat enough (like, I don't always eat them every day). But I know my life and my health and my feelings about my health would probably improve if I made eating vegetables a real priority again.

USING BODY LOTION
This is one of those "no excuse other than laziness" type of items (oh wait, they're actually all like that!). But I was thinking about it recently and honestly, genuinely believe that I'd feel better about my body and my skin and my everything if I took the time to put on body lotion every day after showering. It sounds like such a minor thing, but it's actually kind of powerful in its luxurious self-care-ness. When I do take the time do it, it just feels so right and good and NICE TO MYSELF. The problem is that I never feel like hanging out long enough to do it; I want to go from wet and cold to dry and warm as quickly as humanly possible, so I skimp on that step and then beat myself up about it later (I wish I weren't so good at that).

What habits do you think would make a difference for you -- if only you found a way to do them?