July: Forming New Habits

I lose track at times of what I post in blogs and what I don’t, and while I could easily go back and re-read them, I’m not going to bother.

I know this is elementary and shouldn’t be such a profound revelation, but I’ve finally begun to learn this:

Your priorities are directly reflected by what you spend your time doing.

That shouldn’t be groundbreaking, but it’s true.

I’ve found myself writing in my journal (complaining, really) about how there’s a person I am and a person I’d like to be, and they don’t always agree. The person I want to be is consistently in God’s word, takes care of his body, spends his time reading and using his mind to its fullest, doesn’t waste money on useless stuff, etc. He’s a reader, a writer, and a thinker.

But Jeff right now reads scarcely, writes rarely, and thinks uselessly.

Let me switch gears for a second and then I’ll combine points.

I think time is a funny thing for human beings—we like beginnings and endings. New Years is a perfect microcosm for this tendency of ours—so many of us believe that everything that went wrong for the last 365 days can be forgotten as soon as our calendars turn from December 31 to January 1. We think that it’s the perfect time to start new habits and make our resolutions, and that with a new year, we’ll be new people.

While I don’t necessarily think that that kind of thinking is accurate, ironically, I find myself subscribing to it. On my birthday last year, I made a list of goals to achieve and habits to form between the time I turned 22 and 23. I find myself wanting to start new weight loss habits or diet changes at the beginning of a week or month instead of in the middle.

That said, I’ve made some goals for July, and the reason I’m blogging them is because I ask you, reader, to help keep me accountable.

  1. No new books or movies in July.

Media is an area in which I can easily waste a lot of money when I’m not careful. The worst thing is looking back and seeing all the stuff that I have that I never use—all the movies I just HAD to have at one point and never watch, nor do I have the itch to watch. All the books I bought because I wanted to read them, and I never make time to do so. I have 200+ books, and I’m pretty sure I’ve read about 65 of them. Not a good ratio. Instead, I’d like to get some of those books read so that I could narrow that ratio.

2. Limit junk food to between 9 AM and 9 PM, and then keep it scarce.

Again, just a simple dietary change. As I was thinking this up, it was 10 PM and I was stuffing my face with cheez-its and chocolate covered popcorn, and I was disgusting myself. If I eat after 9 PM, it should be because I couldn’t eat before, and I need to eat dinner. Other than that, there’s no need.

3. Exercise 5 hours a week.

This much is simple: I just need to be deliberate about being active and staying in shape. 5 hours seems like a low figure, too, but sometimes when you work ten hours in a day, it can be hard to fit in time. Baby steps. Habits begin with choices.

4. Put the phone away during conversations.

I want to revive the art of the conversation. This is a bigger issue about which I could probably write an entire blog entry, but putting my phone away is, again, a baby step. It’s too easy to keep it out, to miss what someone’s saying, to try to hold two conversations at once.

5. Memorize a verse or passage of scripture once or twice a week.

I think that I simply don’t have a smooth enough navigation of the Bible. I’ll remember a part of a verse, but not the entire gist, or I’ll remember something but never know where it’s from. I simply want to remember.

6. No music outside of the car or apartment.

I know this sounds silly, but I always leave my headphones in, and I’m afraid of how that comes off. Mostly because I know that I don’t want to “interrupt” someone who has headphones in, and, for my part, I don’t want anyone to think that I’m unavailable or inaccessible. I’ve often gone to get the mail outside of my apartment with my headphones in, and ignored my neighbors doing the same, setting for a simple smile instead of a “how are you?”

These are simply habits I’m wanting to begin forming—I realize they take time, and I’ll slip up at times, but I think these are reasonable, achievable goals that are steps in a better direction.

One thought on “July: Forming New Habits

  1. Have I ever told you that you give us hope for the next generation? I think I have. But I’ll say it again. “You give us hope for the next generation!” I think built into every young person is the desire and ability to do what’s right and good, but many lack self-discipline. If we would teach them that virtue alone, I think other right choices would manifest.

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