My last post pointed out some of the bad habits I uncovered while going through the other Sarah’s first steps to a healthier home. It was a bit of a downer. So what now? How do we get some good habits going? I’m so glad you asked.
I did some digging and found a billion different articles giving all kinds of advice for making healthy habits permanent. The one that resonated with me the most seems the simplest. It’s this article from James Clear. He breaks every habit down into "The Three R's": Reminder, Routine, and Reward. Attach your new routine to something you already do regularly (that’s the reminder), and then reward yourself (in a small way) each time you do it. Consistency is key.
Here some good habits I’d like to adopt and how I plan to make them stick.
Good habit #1:
Mop the floors twice a week.
If this seems like something we should already be doing, stop judging us. :) Honestly, we’re just kinda lazy about mopping. But our floors gather an incredible amount of dirt, and mopping just twice a week can help keep bacteria, toxins, and other harmful particulates from being tracked into our carpets and furniture (where they can live and multiply for a very long time).
Since there are two of us, we can split the duties and each mop only once a week. Of course, Kris should probably agree to this first. I’ll mop Sundays after I put the first load of laundry in (I always do the laundry on Sunday).
Good habit #2:
Ventilate twice a day.
The fresh air will dilute and help expel some of the stale, recycled air in the house. So I'll do it once in the morning after meditation, and once later in the day when I finish working. Even when it is -5, sometimes just for 20 seconds, even though it can really suck. (Oh, and if you are wondering why I’m still talking about winter in late March, you should visit Chicago. It snowed twice last week.) Once the weather does finally warm up we can just keep the windows open for a good while. (Mmmm, I can’t wait!)
Good habit #3:
Use essential oils and oil diffuser for odor control ...
… AND relaxation; boosting the immune, respiratory and circulatory systems; stress relief; balance and well being; and a whole lot more. You get the idea. EOs are great for MANY things. And because it’s such a reward in itself, it doesn’t really require a reminder. So that’s easy! (I have no idea why I never tried them before, but SO HAPPY to be using them now.)
Good habit #4:
Get rid of unnecessary things. And acquire less.
That’s not a habit, you say? Sure it is. And the less stuff we have lying around, the less surface area there is to accumulate that nasty dust (and less to have to clean).
Every time we feel the urge to keep or buy something we’re not actively using, I’m going to ask two questions:
Will I ACTUALLY need/use it within the next 12 months?
Does it carry deep sentimental or physical value or importance? (heirlooms, our framed marriage license, gold dubloons, whatever)
If both Kris and I cannot answer yes to either, then it gets donated, sold, or thrown away.
The hoarder inside me would like to add a third question: “Will it make money in the next six months? (furniture to refinish, art to sell).” But she doesn’t tend to follow through on such things.
Good habit #5:
Inside, outside. Plants, veggies, herbs, flowers. Be a gardening machine! My only excuse not to, is that I have never really kept anything alive and healthy for very long (other than Stella, of course).
Okay okay, so maybe this one isn’t so realistic. It’s aspirational. Maybe a more reasonable goal is Grow ONE thing. The habit would be taking care of it.
Trust me, this won’t be perfect at first, but the more we do it, the easier it will get.
So what are some good habits you would like to acquire? I'd love to hear from you. Really.