How to Keep Habits | The Parenting Diaries

I’ve been wondering recently, can I think of a new way to help me to keep my habits? I’ve decided to start by making it public, putting it out there and allowing you, readers, to ask me how I’m doing!

I realised that habits were helpful things and also a bit of a lifeline when I was ill with depression (I have a hormone condition which gives me episodes). When my brain was dead and fuzzy and I struggled to look human, wear earrings, work, talk or eat, I was still able to a) have a shower and b) go to my church.

This was because they were ingrained habits, that ran themselves. For instance, I’ve been going to Church every Sunday, for twenty years, so even when I felt like crap, I found myself trundling up the hill, which ultimately helped me with my mood and lifted the fog for a short while.

So I looked further into habits. I am a great fan of Gretchen Rubin, and she’s written a book on habit keeping and understanding your personality type and how best to keep habits going.

Better than Before – Gretchen Rubin

If you can lock in a habit for 21 days then you won’t need any self-control or discipline to keep it going. I wanted a range of daily, weekly, monthly and annual habits, that would help me work with my hormone condition and remain well. To have things I do, without work, that are good for my well-being and run themselves.

Steve Jobs and Barack Obama had a habit of wearing the same thing everyday as it was one less decision to make, and gave him headspace for more important things.

I’ve worked hard to identify the motivation behind my resolution to keep habits. This is covered in my post about my ‘Who I’m becoming’ life aims, which you can read here, if you’re interested to learn more.

My habit type, identified in Gretchen Rubin’s book is that I need external accountability to keep a habit. So I’m putting on here what my habits are, what ones I want to adopt and which ones I find impossible to keep (which are in pink)

Disclaimer – mum/women-type issues discussed below!

Daily Habits:

  • Glass of water when I wake up
  • No mobile for one hour
  • Make breakfast for Mike and Isaac (husband and son)
  • Half an hour of prayer and worship
  • Ok here goes the honesty…pelvic floor exercises on app (the one I find impossible to keep, even though they take, like, one minute!)
  • Habit I’d like to add to my day and struggle to do – short physical exercises for me and Isaac for PC muscles
  • Get up and dressed
  • Brush teeth (wish I could get discipline for brushing Isaac’s at this moment…)
  • Tidy kitchen, water plants, tidy lounge
  • Check my inboxes
  • Lunch with Isaac
  • Do some work/ have some me-time (might involve watching Hollyoaks) while Isaac naps
  • Go for a walk and see a human being in the afternoon
  • Dinner with Mike and Isaac
  • Clear up dinner (if it’s my week not cooking) straight after dinner. (Sometimes do this, sometimes not, always regret it the next morning when I haven’t done it…)
  • Clear up toys with Isaac (with the most wonderful ‘Tidy Up’ song (sometimes we manage this and sometimes we don’t…)
  • Put Isaac to bed and brush his teeth
  • Collapse. No not really. Well, a little bit.
  • Do something friend/ date night/ TV (doh) based. (Although I wish I could spend this time doing more enriching things like editing my photos, baking, painting my nails – how, how to do this when you’re knackered by this point? And when I do manage it, I feel so much better for it.)
  • Do mindfulness and Examen in living room (so as not to fall asleep so easily…)
  • No phone in the bedroom. I have an alarm clock. 5 – 10 minutes reading
  • I wish I could nail the habit to brush my teeth at this point – I confess I don’t always manage this…
  • Glass of water

Weekly Habits

  • Plan my week on Sunday night (sometimes manage this, always better when I do!)
  • Phone my mum
  • Phone my closest friends
  • Do housework and a wash (who am I kidding, this is most days…)
  • Water the plants
  • Change Isaac’s sheets
  • Do work on a Friday
  • Volunteer for Mind Charity Shop
  • I wish I could go to a weekly core group to share my faith with other Christians. Hopefully sometime soon.
  • Have date night with my hubby
  • Go through my budget
  • Go through my photos on my phone
  • Do Lifemin. Hit and miss.
  • Go to Church
  • Have some time for me.

Monthly Habits

  • See my Spiritual Director
  • See my best friend
  • Have a family day with Mike and Isaac

Quarterly Habits

  • Have a work retreat day. I sometimes manage this and sometimes don’t. My business and cash flow always benefits when I do!
  • Have my hormone injection
  • Have a mini-break with Mike and Isaac
  • Go to a Theme Park to scream my head off
  • Enjoy being outside in the Seasons – i.e. bluebells, the seaside, fireworks and winter illuminations
  • Go to a gig?
  • Take part or host an art exhibition to show and sell my art
  • Go to my hormone clinic
  • Go to training events to grow my knowledge

Yearly Habits

  • Go on a hot holiday just before the busy Christmas season
  • Celebrate mine, Mike and Isaac’s birthday
  • Go and see my Dad and my step mum in France
  • Go to Spring Harvest
  • Go to the Mind and Soul Conference
  • Have my ‘Thanks’ party in grey January

Here’s the point of this blog post…

The reason I’m writing this blog post in the first place is that try as I might, I can’t ingrain the habit of doing my daily pelvic floor exercises. I don’t know why, because they only take a short while.

My motivations for wanting to nail this habit are:

  • Jumping on bouncy castles
  • Jumping on trampolines
  • Going nuts in a ball pool
  • Dancing like no-one is watching
  • Not having a ‘problem’ when I get scared or surprised or fall down a step (or trip up, let’s be honest)
  • Not having a ‘big problem’ when I have a stinking cold and am coughing all the time

Here is me doing some of my favourite things that are a lot less carefree and more difficult these days…

Bouncy Castle Habit Motivation!
Bouncy Castle Habit Motivation!
Ball Pool Habit Motivation!

So, I’ve put it out there. Said what every mum and or woman is thinking, probably. I’d love encouragement, ideas, stories etc on how I can really nail this one elusive habit!

I hope you might find something useful in this post, too.

 

Nearly-new Wedding Dresses for sale at Harrow Mind Charity Shop (while stocks last)

24th August – Update

The dresses are now an amazing, bargain-ous £50 each. There aren’t many left now and will be taken off the shop floor soon so make sure you have a look before they’re gone.

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10th June – Update

An amazing lady has come in and bought ten, yes ten dresses! And the story is all over the Harrow Times…

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20th May – Update.

Two dresses have now been sold; so curious to who, and for what kind of wedding!

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Calling all bargain-hunting brides – how does a display model wedding dress worth £700 for £100 sound to you? Interesting? All you need to do is get to Mind Charity Shop in Harrow and your purchase will help a third of the female population, too.

A generous lady from the London Bridal Boutique, ‘Pearl Bridal’, has donated thirty wedding dresses to Mind Charity Shop in Harrow. They are from her display range and are just over a year old.

So…you can get a nearly-new wedding dress and give a substantial sum to Mind, who help people in the UK with mental health problems; one in three women you know will suffer. Why not give something back on your big day?

If you are interested in the dresses for yourself or someone else, here is some useful information:

  • The dresses have labels still attached.
  • Sizes range from 6 to 20
  • Prices start at £100 and maximum price is £200. The original dresses were sold for around £700 to £800.
  • There are also some brand-new dresses that are wrapped in plastic
  • The only thing is that they may need a dry-clean before use.

You can also find shoes, jewellery, outfits for the Mother-of-the-Bride and outfits for wedding guests.

Below are some basic pictures of some of the dresses on display, in size 10 and 12 (a bride to be asked for these!). If you are interested in a particular dress, then please contact the Mind Charity Shop in Harrow, on 020 3759 8303.

You are most welcome to come into the store and try them on. It’s easy to get to Harrow, just hop on the Metropolitan line, get out at Harrow on the Hill and the Mind Charity Shop is on College Road, just next to the Post Office.

For folk who follow my blog (and general movements!) you may or may not know that I am very proud to volunteer with Mind and hope to use my skills in any way to help them raise crucial funds for mental health work (which includes writing this post and hoping my lovely supporters will share it to help Mind – we could raise well over £3,000 if we sell all these dresses!)

Size 10 Wedding Dress in Dusky Pink at Mind Charity Shop in Harrow
Size 10 Wedding Dress in Dusky Pink at Mind Charity Shop in Harrow
Size 10 Halterneck Wedding Dress at Mind Charity Shop in Harrow.
Size 10 Halterneck Wedding Dress at Mind Charity Shop in Harrow.
Size 12 Wedding Dress with Embellishments from Mind Charity Shop in Harrow.
Size 12 Wedding Dress with Embellishments from Mind Charity Shop in Harrow.
Size 12 Dramatic Wedding Dress from Mind Charity Shop in Harrow.
Size 12 Dramatic Wedding Dress from Mind Charity Shop in Harrow.
Size 10 Strapless Wedding Dress with Lace Detail from Mind Charity Shop in Harrow.
Size 10 Strapless Wedding Dress with Lace Detail from Mind Charity Shop in Harrow.
Size 12 vintage-esque Wedding Dress with Collar Detail from Mind Charity Shop in Harrow.
Size 12 vintage-esque Wedding Dress with Collar Detail from Mind Charity Shop in Harrow.
Size 10 Strapless Wedding Dress with Layered Lace Detail, from Mind Charity Shop in Harrow.
Size 10 Strapless Wedding Dress with Layered Lace Detail, from Mind Charity Shop in Harrow.

There are many other styles and sizes, in a range of styles. Please come and have a look and grab yourself a bargain.

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Lots of dresses with different styles and finishes are available