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Posts Tagged ‘habit’

Making It Matter

Monday, January 6th, 2014

Your eyes slowly open. From the sliver of daylight peeking through the curtains on your bedroom window it must be just about time to wake up. Do you stretch, breathe in a deep breath and put your feet on the floor? Or do you roll over, hunker under the covers and pretend you didn’t see the daylight?

Doesn’t matter.

The alarm will do its job sooner or later. Zzzzzzzz.

Driving to work, traffic is backed up…again. A car on your right is signaling to move over into your lane. Do you ease off the accelerator and motion your hand to invite them to get ahead of you? Or do you look the other way and speed up to the bumper of the car in front of you?

Doesn’t matter.

You need to get to work and fast- since you rolled over earlier to catch some more zzz’s.

Home again and what a relief. Now for some “me” time. Do you fix yourself some grilled chicken and veggies, put on some soft music and start reading a few pages of an inspiring book? Or do you order pizza delivered, plop down in your comfy chair to watch your favorite TV show that’s on tonight?

Doesn’t matter.

After a tiring day, you have to relax somehow.

Our daily habits seem inconsequential. But habits are what make us who we are. They are choices we make without thinking of the consequences.

What if you did think about it?

What if you made it matter and made a different choice next time?

You may just find a more enjoyable result.

“Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.”

Joe Vitale

You Have the Habit of Health

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

BeautifulBlueDay two of this new year. What positive habit have you incorporated into your daily routine? In my last post, I said the most effective way to add a new positive habit is to link it to a habit you already have, like reading a few lines of a book while you brush your teeth.

Today I’ll tell you about a habit that may be new for you, but it’s one that we all can benefit by implementing. A few years ago, I was having some health challenges that included severe migraine headaches. I went to see my doctor and she immediately observed I was dehydrated. It showed in my blood work and also on my skin that looked dry with deep lines appearing on my face.

Oh course she recommended drinking more water. I visualized a row of eight 8 oz. glasses of water on the countertop that I would never drink in a day. But I really wanted to relieve those headaches and not look so drawn out.

Dehydration is a condition that affects almost everyone. Our bodies are up to 65% water, so when we do not replenish the fluid that we loose naturally through perspiration and urination, a large part of us literally “goes away,” and our body suffers. If you neglected to put oil in your car, think about those grinding gears as the engine tries to function.

Now I rarely have a headache and when I do, I know the reason why. What’s the easy solution that keeps me running smoothly?

Link the habit of drinking water to a habit I already have. Every morning as I pour my cup of coffee, I pour a large glass of water and drink that down before indulging myself with coffee. After six or eight hours of not drinking while you sleep, you are especially dehydrated in the morning.

One glass down, seven to go. Whenever you use the bathroom, you are in the habit of washing your hands. Link to that habit, drinking a glass of water. Whatever goes out, must be replenished. That will add another four of five glasses per day. If you’re not releasing liquid that often, that means you’re not drinking enough.

Another way to ensure hydration is to always ask for a glass of water when you eat out and don’t leave the restaurant until you drink it all. This also works with your meals at home. Have a glass of water along with your usual beverage, especially when drinking alcohol which tends to be dehydrating.

That’s seven glasses. How can you possibly down another? As you go to bed at night, link to your evening ritual pouring a glass of water to set on your nightstand. Take a sip before closing your eyes and any time you wake up in the night. You will wake up refreshed and less dehydrated.

There, you did it!

Your choices become your habits of health.


“All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsions, habit, reason, passion, desire.” Aristotle

No Resolutions this New Year

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

You’re off the hook. No New Years resolutions are required this year. Resolutions, no matter how well your intention, don’t work. They’re too big, don’t feel natural and sometimes daunting. There is a much more effective way to begin your new year, one that guarantees success.

surprised babyIt’s called a Habit. Now before you run through a litany of excuses, think of all the bad habits developed over your life time that have been impossible to kick.

Biting your nails.

Being late.

Embellishing the truth.

That just shows you that habits, once adopted do not just go away.

What about the good habits? At some point in your life a parent drilled into you the habit of brushing your teeth every day. Now you naturally perform that habit without thinking.

After being embarrassed by a college roommate when I hadn’t shaved my legs in a week, I decided to make shaving my legs every day a habit. That simple action became and still is part of my daily grooming ritual. It makes me feel better about myself.

So back to this New Year. There may be something in your mind. You know, if you did it every day, your life would improve. But how, in your busy day, do you fit in one more thing?

The secret to creating a new, positive habit is to assign it a time slot.

The easiest way to find time is to link the action to a habit you already have.

Say you want to read an inspirational or self help book this year. No time as you rush through your morning- or is there? Prop a book up in your bathroom and read a few lines as you brush your teeth. Totally painless because you’re standing there, thinking about something anyway. Your day will undoubtedly be more pleasant.

You may have thought of resolving this year to be a better conversationalist, or to meet new people. No time to join a club or church. Instead make a habit of speaking to everyone you see, in the elevator or passing on the street. Just a hello or small talk is enough to stretch your social boundaries. It will also make the recipient of your gesture feel better about themselves. No telling where this could lead.

What else would you like to do in the New Year? Be more grateful? Add that to your nighttime ritual, just before you turn out the lights. Jot down a note to someone you appreciate- just a line or two will do. That simple habit will release endorphin into your system and you will sleep peacefully. And imagine the smile on their face when they open the mail box.

Our habits create our life.  Only you create your habits.


“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then is not an act, but a habit.”  Aristotle

What’s New?

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Can you even make it through the day without hearing this common question as a form of greeting, "What's New?" Not even considering a possibly engaging answer, your automatic reply is, "Not much."

How boring!

Couple Dining Think about it. When was the last time you experienced something "new"? 

Creatures of habit we are. Going to the same restaurants, ordering the same favorite entree every time, pairing it with the default drink of your choice.  

"But I like it," I say as I defend my selection of the Spaghetti Norma, yet again. I'm sure you have similar menu justifications.

Do you remember the first time you tried that favorite dish? I do. Eggplant, ricotta, in a luscious, rich tomato sauce. Ahh, that was something new to my taste buds.

It had to be new and different because I had never visited that restaurant before. I had never been in that city before.

So logically, new must involve an unfamiliar experience. That's what makes new so rare, so untouchable. We must experience the unknown. How much more comfortable it is to know, and to have our expectations met.

New doesn't have to be scary or uncomfortable. It's all in the way we look at new. What if new is just another word for exciting? A new restaurant in town, how exciting!

New environments breed new experiences. Pretend you've just arrived in town. With the eyes of a visitor, what looks appealing to you? You have no choice but to experience something new.

Sorry, Norma, I have a new favorite. But it won't be a steady date. There are too many new and exciting options to try.

Besides, now I have a more interesting reply to that question- What's new?


"You can't make positive discoveries that make 
your life better if you never try anything new."

— Josh Kaufman

Habit As a Mirror

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Yesterday you read an example of someone who made a habit of being gracious and grateful. Through repetition day after day, his actions became a positive habit in his life. That brings us to another unexpected consequence of habit.

Why do you shop where you do? Dine where you do? Vacation where you do? For most of us, the comfort of the familiar is a seductive lure. You know what to expect every time you go there. No unexpected surprises.

Do you remember the first time you went to that store, that restaurant, or vacation spot? Your initial experience was a positive one or you would not have gone back. The second, third and all subsequent visits reinforced your choice to return.

Something about the place made you want to come back.

How did that establishment create your loyalty? Through habit. The business set standards, carried out by their employees, for a habit of excellence. Time after time, you were pleased by their interactions with you. As a result you formed the habit of doing more business with them.

Just as the habit of being gracious mirrored the restauranteur's welcoming personality, his customers reciprocated by creating their own habit of coming back frequently. As they say, what goes around, comes around.

Habits are habit forming.


"Winning is not a sometime thing, it's an all time thing. You don't win once in a while, you don't do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing."
Vince Lombardi

Habit Forming

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

How many times do you repeat an action before it becomes a habit? I've heard a habit can be created after twenty one days of repetition. Three weeks of doing the same action once per day. Really?

We are easily able to discipline ourselves long enough to make three weeks, especially if you've set yourself up for a reward at the end. No sweets for twenty one days, then a gooey hot fudge sundae as a congratulatory feast to mark your accomplishment.

But that's not a habit, or you wouldn't even want another sweet after twenty one days as a habitual healthy eater. A habit is not a short term goal.

A habit is a way of life.

Another way to describe a habit is an action that you are unconsciously competent at doing. You don't have to think about performing the action. You automatically go through the motions. You're so good at it, you may not even remember that you've done it.

Like brushing your teeth. Have you ever had to check if your toothbrush is wet because you don't remember if you brushed your teeth in the morning? You've done it so many times, in the same place, at the same time, you are unconsciously competent at brushing your teeth.

But what about a habit that creates a way of life?

A local restauranteur has owned his dining establishment for more than twenty years, an admirable business run. One important thing has contributed to his continued success. It's a habit he started when he opened his business.

Whenever a patron comes in the door, he is there to warmly greet them. He calls them by name, or if a new person walks in, he introduces himself. When they return, and they always do, he remembers them and they are treated to his signature welcome.

Just as significant, when his guests are ready to leave, he jumps to his feet with a smile on his face, thanks them for coming in, and says good bye. No matter how long the day, or hours on his feet, his demeanor is the same.

Over the years this savvy businessman has established a loyal clientele of customers. His is often the first place visitors return to when they arrive in town.

Is it the food?

The ambiance?

The free parking?

No, it's a result of that habit he started so many years ago. He's repeated the same action over and over, more than 100,000 times. That habit has created his way of life.

It is his habit of graciousness and gratitude.

The thing about a habit is, you can start one anytime. It's never too late. And a habit, well established, lasts a lifetime.

What habit will you start today?


"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."

Day Fifteen of the 30 Day Gratitude Challenge

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Halfway point of the 30 day Gratitude Challenge. If it takes 21 days to create a habit,  what can you accomplish in fifteen?

Create a warm feeling of appreciation for fifteen people that went to their mailbox and discovered someone remembered them.

That's powerful. You have the power to celebrate someone that has touched your life. That connection with another human being is a joyous rendezvous for both of you.

Today, a person who brings sunshine to all who know her is in for a surprise.

Start your own 30 Day Gratitude Challenge. It's habit forming.

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Mary Ellen Lapp reveals how the colors we wear, and the colors that surround us, even the color of the car we drive, impact out self image and affects how we are seen by the people around us.

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