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Habits are Hard to Break

Ah, the weekend post. This blog is slowly getting off the ground as I get my feet under me at my new job. I guess I shouldn’t call it my new job anymore since I’ve been doing it for a couple of months now, but it still feels a little new. We just started a new quarter, so I had a chance to start fresh with grading and planning, so I’m ahead of myself now and during the week I’ll have more time to blog.

This week’s The Daily Prompt asks :

Tell us about a habit you’d like to break. Is there any way it can play a positive role in your life?

There are several habits that I have, some are good and some hinder me in very specific ways. One habit that I have had for a very long time is the habit of using all other chores and obligations to procrastinate doing the one or two things that I really needed to do. When I lived alone, this wasn’t that big of an issue because I kept a very clean house and could complete all of my other tasks quickly so that when my high priority things finally were finished I felt a full sense of completion, enough that I could enjoy things like video games or going to the movies. 

Since I’ve been married that kind of management of the habit has become significantly more difficult. We have dogs and cats instead of me owning just cats, so I have tasks that are never done. My husband is not the tidiest of people, nor is he the fastest to undertake a necessary chore (I have waited up to 4 days for him to finally unload/reload the dishwasher), so even when it is not my turn to do certain things, the very evidence that there are chores to be done keeps me from mentally committing to anything I’m supposed to be doing. This has greatly increased my level of stress because as my real priorities pile up I feel overwhelmed, and the more overwhelmed I feel, the more I procrastinate.

Something had to change. So I decided yesterday to clean up our guest bedroom, get the old desktop up and working again, and arrange a space in which it appears that there are no chores to be done but I can isolate myself to work. This weekend I was able to get all of my grading done from the first week of the quarter, and today I was able to sit down and fully concentrate on my calculus work, which I have not been able to practice since my semester began at the end of August. 

I have to break this habit. I have to be able to do what I need to do in any environment: busy room, dirty room, loud room, quiet room.  I have work to do and the fact that my husband is comfortable with a giant pile of dirty laundry on the floor directly to the right of his empty hamper shouldn’t keep me from doing it. I think the key to this at first is to physically isolate myself, either by going into a different, cleaner room or leaving the house completely to go to a library or something. Once I get back into the habit of getting my work done on a regular basis I can start trying out mentally isolating myself in the livingroom and bedroom (our house is very small).

If my efforts are successful, my life will be affected in several positive ways. First, I’ll be getting my work done, which always makes me feel better. Part of my sadness and frustration over the past month has been rooted in the fact that I KNOW I can do the things that are being asked of me, but I’m failing because I’m not taking the time to refresh my knowledge and practice doing problems (homework specific) or taking the time to really grade student work so they know what they did wrong. I will be a better student and a better teacher. Maybe more importantly, I will be a better wife. There is no small amount of resentment and frustration with my husband’s…lack of motivation(?) and for too long I’ve been harboring those feelings towards him and I know it has been affecting our relationship. Perhaps by taking more control over myself, I can feel less angry about his lack of participation in the care of our home.

Making a bubble around myself at first will reform the good habits, and as I go I’ll expand the bubble to include my whole world. I think baby steps are essential though, since my habit train has gone so far off the tracks, and eventually positivity will return.

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One thought on “Habits are Hard to Break

  1. Pingback: BECOMING | hastywords

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