MY Struggle with Habits

Stream of Consciousness Post about forming new habits and getting rid of old ones.

Well it is once again a new month. Last month was fun in that I ended up straining my shoulder. I was surprised to discover how much a person uses their shoulder when typing on a computer. That is my excuse for why it’s been four weeks or so since my last post and I’m sticking to it.

Since I was a kid, I have had this problem. Yes, it is procrastination. Part of it is my Attention Deficit Disorder and the other part is just bad habits. While I am lucky in that I do not have some very bad habits such as Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, I do have a procrastination habit that is my biggest weakness. Also sugary soft drinks that is not at all good for my liver. Please note, it is possible to drink 40 oz of soda every day and loose weight. For the last two years I have been slowly changing my diet in subtle ways that has gotten me to loose 20 pounds. I am down from 235 to 215.

Anyway, back on topic. There is a very good book out there that I highly recommend reading if you have a habit you wish to quit. It is called “The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg“. I highly recommend reading it. I only got through 4 chapters but it isn’t because I didn’t like it. I got distracted and didn’t go back to it. But It laid out its argument quite well and I understood it very quickly. Habits are created when you do something repetitively and you see this activity as a reward. That’s how you get addicted to many things in this life. Smoking, Sex, television, collecting weird figurines from germany from a company that went out of business 30 years ago. Anything can become a habit if you see it as a reward. When you do this, your brain releases chemicals such as Dopamine.

That is part of my problem. This is the reason I am still drinking soda when I DESPERATELY need to stop. Excuse me while I go pour one out for my liver who is been a real trooper in my life. I’m sure there is more but I need to finish reading the book first. I think I know what I am doing tonight if I don’t get distracted by the pretty lights of the TV. Anyway, my brain sees soda as a reward and keeps needing it. The only way that I see as a way to stop is to change things. So I am going to try and make soda a reward for actually finishing a post on this site. Then when I am no longer drinking soda first thing in the morning, I will change the reward.

Now you see what I just did here. I got distracted. Instead of talking about my procrastination and inability to change my habits, I spent an entire paragraph about my soda addiction. Back to the point of this post, though the soda side trip does help illustrate a point. In order for me to want to keep doing something I need to change my way of thinking about it. Working on this project for instance. Sitting down and coming up with something to write can sometimes be a pain. Writer’s block is real and so is ADD. So at the moment, I am sticking with stream of consciousness writing. It makes it easier for me to write about a subject without analyzing every single part of it. That way I actually post to the project.

My plan over the next month of February, is to write three to five posts every week. As I said before, if I reinforce new habits with rewards, it is much more likely that I will be able to form new and healthy habits. The question is, will I be able to make three to five posts every week? That is the goal, but it is not always easy. If I don’t get three posts out this week and only get two, I’m not going to beat myself up over it. Forming new habits is a journey and sometimes in that journey you’ll only go five feet and other times you’ll go twenty miles. The five feet is just as important as the twenty miles.

Wish me luck.

Type ya later,
James McGill