Sunday, January 10, 2010

The first habit

The first habit, which I will be working on over the next 8 weeks, is eating slowly and mindfully. According to Babauta's technique, this first habit needs to be broken down into 8 steps. The idea is that you work on one step each week. He also specifically says that the first step should be something very easy.

I've been thinking about how to break down the habit of eating slowly and more mindfully, and I've decided on these eight steps:

1) Always sit down when I eat. I mean this literally, I'm just going to focus on not eating while I'm walking, standing, lying down etc.

2) At breakfast, don't do anything else while I eat (except talk to people I might be eating with), i.e. no watching TV, reading the newspaper or checking my e-mail during breakfast.

3) Extend the doing nothing else-rule to lunch.

4) Extend the doing nothing else-rule to snacking.

5) Extend the doing nothing else-rule to dinner.

6) Put down the utensils (or the sandwich or whatever if I'm eating something without utensils) between each bite.

7) Sip water, or just pause and take a moment between each bite.

8) After each bite, be conscious to notice the flavors and textures and describe them to myself (in my head, I guess, haha).

So that's it, and my mission until next Sunday is to always eat sitting down. I'll be updating to report how I'm doing :) (So far today, breakfast and lunch were both eaten sitting down).

Opening post

The inspiration for this blog came last night, in the form of this post from a new favorite blog of mine, Zen Habits.

It's currently the beginning of January, and the time to do the annual survey of our lives and decide what we would like to improve over the new year. I've always been a bit ambivalent about new year's resolutions. The cynical (realistic?) part of me says "Snap out of it, if you need it to be January 1st (or *cough* 10th) to change this, is it really important enough to you that you're going to stick with it? Hardly!", but the more optimistic part of me loves the promise of a new year, the idea of a clean slate and the enthusiasm about starting over.

There really is a certain thrill to dreaming up a better version of yourself, and allowing yourself to think that maybe, just maybe you can be on your way to becoming that person just one short year from now. The magic of new year's resolutions is that the only thing standing between you and this Best Case Scenario You is hard work and effort on your part - it's up to you!

Of course, on the flip side, that's also the most depressing thing about resolutions - When you (inevitably) fail to become this organized, 5'10"/100 lbs, clear-skinned, charity-running, house-cleaning, cookie-baking, millionaire Mensa member, it's no one's fault but your own.

So how do we avoid the unspeakable disaster of remaining exactly as we are? This is where Zen Habits author Leo Babauta can help out. For the particulars of his plan for habit change, you are better off reading the aforementioned post, where he describes it more succinctly and elegantly than I could hope to.

The idea is to pick six, and only six, new habits that you would like to attain this year. If you're anything like me, picking just six habits will be perhaps the biggest challenge. After careful consideration (and about 43 changes of mind) I have settled on the following six habits as my project for 2010:

1) Eating slowly and mindfully
2) Take 2 hrs of "me time" to unwind each night before bed
3) Exercise daily
4) Get 8 hours of rest each night
5) Tidy up throughout the day
6) Stop impulsive spending

So for the first two months, I will be working on eating slowly and mindfully. More about the specific plans for making that happen in the next post :)

Do you have any new year's resolutions? Do you have a blog to log your progress? Let me know in the comments and maybe we can check in on each other! Remember, accountability is key to sticking with your resolutions!