Friday 4 March 2022

An update on my January and February habits

At the beginning of the year, motivated by reading Atomic Habits by James Clear, I set myself some habits that I wanted to add to my daily routines. Some simple things that I could do every day which would improve my health and wellbeing.

Here's how I've been getting on!

Habit tracker being ticked off
Photo credit Phrophsee Journals via Unsplash

I had four habits which I wanted to keep permanently - regular exercise, eating more fruit and veg, practising the piano daily and daily meditation.

Exercise - I've continued my existing exercise habits which I'm pleased with, especially when it came to dragging myself out for a run on the bitter January mornings. I have a regular exercise routine which suits me well, although I do wonder if I should mix it up a bit for the future.

Eat more fruit and veg - This one has gone really well. I now drink a glass of orange juice each morning with breakfast and I add more raisins to my cereal. For lunch I've been eating either a bowl of soup or some homemade bean salad, each of which I count as two portions. Most of my dinners have at least two servings of veg but if they don't then I'll add in a portion or broccoli or peas and I'll have an apple in the evening. I'm pretty confident that I've been getting at least my five a day on the vast majority of days.

Piano practice - This is also going really well. I've been playing every day apart from when we have been away and I'm really pleased that I can now memorise some pieces. I can play two pieces confidently from memory and I am almost there with a third.

Meditation - I downloaded a brilliant app called Smiling Mind which is free and has a huge range of meditations and mindfulness exercises. I've been doing one most days and it has also encouraged me to be more mindful throughout the day. I'm definitely getting better at focussing my mind and pushing away negative thoughts. 

In addition I chose two extra habits for January - to stop mindlessly checking the news and to write a blog post each day.

Stop checking the news - This was very successful in January. I didn't check the news once and it really had a positive impact on my mental health. I continued into February and was a little less sucessful as we went away on holiday for half term and my usual routines were disrupted. It also coincided with the news from Ukraine, and although I have really cut back on my news intake it has risen slightly recently. I need to keep on top of this one as it really did make a big difference.

Write a blog post every day - This habit was also incredibly successful. I wrote and published or scheduled a blog post every day and now I have lots of blog posts scheduled, with the option to publish sooner if I need to fill a spot. I started this again in February, but the transcription work that I do from home picked up a bit and so I had to prioritise that.

I didn't set new habits for February but I did set myself a daily challenge which was to spend a few minutes each day decluttering the garage. I sorted out a massive pile of cardboard for recycling, finally did the trip to the tip that we had been putting off for a couple of years, got rid of lots of odds and endsd that were cluttering the place up and had a bit of a clean up. Now it's much emptier, so in the summer when the weather is better I'm planning to clear it as much as I can and give it a really good clean. It definitely needs one, we have some enormous cobwebs! 

I find that daily habits really work for me and I love seeing the difference that they can make. I will continue with my four main habits in March although I've not set any new ones. Although I am intending to be making some healthier food choices as we head towards summer and beach holidays, I have a bit of winter padding that needs to go!

Someone playing the piano
Photo credit Elijah M. Henderson via Unsplash

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