Good Habits. Bad Habits.

Our lives change when our habits change. It’s time to start good habits that will take the place of, and push out, the bad habits out of my life. At least, that’s what Best Lent Ever suggests, today.

Each day, Best Lent Ever offers some guidance and reflection, but this “habit” concept was a bit of a departure from many of his thoughts and lessons. This Lent, thanks to my son, I’ve truly made prayer a part of my daily routine. He and I pray the Rosary (a decade) every night at bedtime and we dedicate the 6 or 7 minutes of prayer to someone or some thing. We’ve only missed a few nights (I worked late, he had a sleepover, etc). It’s been enlightening. It’s a good habit that has pushed out some “bad” habits.

Over the years I’ve blogged alot about time, time management, and lamented about how short life is, but also how long it is and how much time we actually have when we think about it.

Currently, and for much of the past four years, I’ve let bad habits (and bad thoughts) take up too much time in my brain and life. As these “bad” things take up more and more time and space, they’ve pushed the “good” out.

Let me be clear, the “bad” habits aren’t things like smoking or drugs, but they are things like sloth, procrastination, self-pity, laziness, and more things like that. Every time I make time to watch my favorite show, and then another favorite show, or hit the snooze bar once, twice, or four times, and each time I don’t exercise or work on my writing ideas, I let more “bad” into my life and I don’t let “good” take over.

I’m sitting here and imagining my day and what it would look like if I had sprung outta bed at 5:00 a.m. when my alarm first went off, instead of 5:36 a.m. after three snoozes and strong contemplating re-setting my alarm for 6:20 a.m. (which would give me just enough time to take my dog on a short walk so she could pee and poop). At 5:00 a.m., I would’ve been back from a vigorous walk and drinking coffee by 5:25 a.m. I would’ve been sitting at my computer by 5:30 a.m. with a full hour ahead of my to write, check my Facebook, organize my personal email, and much more.

I would’ve been attacking and owning the say, versus scrambling a bit, beating myself up for hitting the snooze three times, and sitting down to write at 6:05 a.m. and realizing I only have about 25-minutes.

Today, when I see a “bad” taking over (it’s like eating a cheeseburger and fries …it makes me feel sooooo good when I’m eating it but I feel like crap a half-hour later), I’m going to find and do more good.

Things I Have: Bad Habits

I always liked this saying … “if it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.” Get it? Like, there are two kinds of “luck” …good luck and bad luck and …tell me you “get it?

For me, it’s more like, “if it weren’t for bad habits, I’d have no habits at all.” Now, I don’t smoke or drink excessively, I don’t bite my nails, I don’t hoard things in my house, pick at scabs, do heroine, play Angry Birds, or play Angry Birds on heroine or anything …but I still do little things to sabotage myself. Is it sabotage? Is it laziness? Is it fear?

Not sure. But I’ll call them bad habits.

ha-bit: 

a dominant or regular disposition or tendency; prevailing character or quality

Case in point …sleep. I know I need it. I need 7-hours each night and I do amazing things when I get around 7 1/2 or 8-hours. I envy these people who build empires and small businesses, and write novels and travel the world and boast about how they manage it all on 5-hours of sleep each night (hmmmmm …maybe I need to revisit 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferris …I think he has a chapter about how he makes this work through diet alone). When I try and manage my day on 6-hours or less …forget it. I may as well call in sick.

What happens is a spiral …I’m tired, I’ll clear my mind with some senseless work and then I’ll be ready to kick some butt. Problem is, that “butt kicking” moment never comes. And no matter how much coffee I consume, or how good that coffee is, I’m pretty much useless.

When I get 8-hours, I can pick up the phone and talk with anyone. I don’t get frustrated about anything. I dream bigger and I tell myself “yes you can” more than I say “no you can’t” or “no, take a nap, then you can.”

So, my bad habit? Staying up too late. Morning-Don really hates Nighttime-Don.

Staying up late isn’t really a badge of honor. Nobody I know has ever bragged about how late they stay up and I suspect, when they’re “bragging” about how little sleep they get, they’re not really bragging, but mostly they can’t think of anything else to say because their subconscious is continually screaming at them, “SLEEEEEEEP, you fool.”

Other bad habits I’m trying to break …not exercising and eating massive amounts of calories after 8 o’clock (which often times is simply an exercise of moving my hand from a bowl to my mouth because I can’t fall asleep when I’m actively doing something, like chewing). And finally …not writing. I want to write a book (more than a few, in fact). I want to write a blog and build a following. I want to help my friend write a book, and another friend and I want to collaborate on a book …and yet …I do nothing.

I need new habits.

“Early to bed. Early to rise. Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” -Too Tired to Look it Up, but I Think It’s Ben Franklin.

Habit #1: Exercise for 1/2-hour each day. Something as simple as a walk. Maybe mix in some P90x.

Habit #2: Write for 5-hours each week. Notice I didn’t say “daily” because that’s not realistic with three kids and a full time job (oh, and a wife I kinda-sorta like to talk to and hang-out with every now and then).

Habit #3: Get in bed by 10 o’clock. Screw TV. Why do I feel compelled that I must watch TV and always watch “my shows.” Culture tells us we should, I guess, and I’ve always enjoyed the escapism, and I even enjoy writing about it (remember spunkybean?). But I gotta stop being a slave to the boob-tube.

I’ll start with those. Sound good? It’s almost time for Mid-Year’s Resolutions, which I’ve always talked about as a “reset” button for your New Year’s Resolutions. And I figure, hey, why wait until July 1st …I’ll get started, now, with my Mid-Year’s Resolutions.

Thanks, in part, goes to Rochelle Melander (The Write Now Coach) for always writing great blog posts about writing, but truly, anything she says you can substitute the word “writing” with almost any verb, and the lesson still applies. Don’t believe me, check out her blog post this week …”The Writing Habit.” She suggests a sequence of “cue”, “practice”, and “reward” and tell me that couldn’t be applied to anything and everything. Go ahead. Tell me. In the comments below, or on Facebook, or Tweet at me (@donkowalewski).

Better yet, make it a habit of telling me what you’re doing habitually. Thanks for reading.

Follow me @donkowalewski.