Little Rituals

Just Another Day

Today’s prompt is from The Daily Post.

Our days our organized around numerous small actions we repeat over and over. What’s your favorite daily ritual?

Lately, my favorite ritual is listening to an audiobook first thing in the morning. I used to watch the news or morning shows as I got ready for work, but I’ve quit doing that. It just put me in a really somber mood before I went to work.

Maybe I’m burying my head in the sand by avoiding the news now, but I kind of like it that way. I still read news online or sometimes catch the evening news on TV, but I no longer immerse myself in those shows the way that I used to.

And on the bright side, I’ve managed to get a ton of reading done in recent weeks, thanks to my audiobook ritual.

Entertain Us

Yawn

Today’s prompt is from The Daily Post.

What bores you?

Such a broad question! Since one of my main hobbies is reading and I spend several hours a day doing it, I’m going to tell you what bores me in a book.

I read primarily romance and a ton of it. There’s a handful of things that will cause me to abandon a book without finishing:

  • Flat characters who aren’t likable or relatable.
  • Ridiculous plot lines that could never actually happen in life.*
  • Unbelievable relationship between the main characters (insta-love with no other contributing factors, that kind of thing).

There are some cases when I’ll stick with a book and try to finish, but if it falls into one of the above categories, chances are it’ll lose my attention.

*There have been instances when the writing was so good that the story held my attention regardless of my usual qualms, but that’s a rarity.

I have a pretty short attention span in general and that definitely shows in my reading habits. I have no problem putting a book down and moving on if it bores me.

A Daily Addiction

Can't Keep Checking My Phone

Today’s prompt is from BlogHer Writing Lab.

How many times do you think you check your phone during the day?

This prompt suggested I should make a tally of every time I checked my phone throughout the day, but even I’m not obsessive enough to do that. Also, I suspect I’d be somewhat horrified to see the actual number.

This is purely a guess, but I’d say that I check my phone at least 30 times a day. I check email and texts after I get out of bed, then I play an audiobook (or podcast) while I’m in the shower and while I’m feeding our dog. Sometimes I check email, Twitter, and/or Instagram while I’m having breakfast. Then I put my audiobook/podcast back on while I’m doing my makeup, getting dressed for work, and driving to work.

I check my messages one more time before putting my phone away for the morning. At lunch, I check messages again as well as Twitter and Instagram, if I have time.

After work, I check messages yet again. (I’m seeing a pattern here.) I play my audiobook/podcast in the car during my drive home. After dinner, I update this blog, which I also do using my phone.

I usually read and knit in the evenings, so if I’m reading an audiobook, I’ll play that while I knit. If I’m reading on my Kindle, my phone gets a break–unless I get emails or texts, which I check as I receive them.

In addition to all of this, I also use various apps that I update throughout the day like Fitbit and MyFitnessPal. And I’m sure there are others that I check every day that I’m forgetting about, plus random notifications from my reminders app, calendar app, breaking news, and other apps that pop up.

Something I have managed to get rid of is Facebook. I still have an account, but I rarely update it and don’t check it every day. I deleted the app, which was such a relief. I just really hate Facebook, so that was an easy one to quit.

I realize that this is pretty excessive and I shouldn’t constantly be on my phone. I guess I’m one of those annoying people who’s always got their head down in public, glued to their screen. When I’m spending time with my family, I try not to be on it constantly. When I’m by myself, I think that’s when I’m on it the most.

I definitely can’t keep checking my phone as much as I do. Now that I’ve listed how much I look at it throughout the day, it feels very much like an addiction. If I didn’t have my phone for a day, I’d probably feel a little crazy. But I could certainly benefit from using it just a little less.

Cold Turkey

Happy Endings

Today’s prompt is from The Daily Post.

Tell us about something you’ve tried to quit. Did you go cold turkey, or for gradual change? Did it stick?

Ugh, the first thing that comes to mind is health, specifically diet. While I’m fortunate not to have other vices like drinking or smoking, I do have a love/hate relationship with food.

I’ve tried to quit eating junk food cold turkey, which definitely did not work for me. Then again, I’ve tried to change my habits gradually by eating mostly healthy during the week and only indulging on the weekend, but clearly that hasn’t stuck, either.

One of the only successes I’ve had with quitting something cold turkey, oddly enough, was when I decided to quit eating beef several years back. This was the first time that my cholesterol had been diagnosed as high, which scared me enough to make me eliminate beef from my diet completely (though I still continued to eat other types of meat). I don’t think I could ever be a vegetarian, but in my mind, beef was the main culprit since I had been eating it so frequently.

I somehow managed not to eat beef for almost one year—during which time I ate healthier and exercised—and my cholesterol, along with my weight, did go down. I consider this a partial success because I was able to maintain this for several months, but eventually I lost the motivation and went back to my previous eating habits. My weight would go up and down a bit more in the coming years, but I’ve never found the will to quit something cold turkey like that again.

When I joined Weight Watchers, I liked the structured nature of the program and it wasn’t long before I reached my goal weight. However, that success was short-lived too because I just didn’t stick with it in the long term.

For me, whether it’s cold turkey or gradual change, it’s just too easy to slip back into bad habits. I’m still not quite sure how to approach my health. I want to feel better and take better care of myself, but junk food is definitely one of my biggest vices. What I’ve done in the past proves that I can meet my goals, at least temporarily. The hardest thing for me is maintaining good habits rather than going back to what is easier and unhealthy.