Last week I set a goal of listing (and posting) habits I have improved. Now why would I do that? Why don’t I concentrate on what I still need to change?
Well, of course there is the positive reinforcement aspect.
When I was 14, my mom dragged me to a farm in rural Virginia, where she and six other seekers planned to build Walden Two, the utopian society imagined by B.F. Skinner. Reading Skinner, I learned that positive reinforcement is a much more powerful tool for behavior change than punishment. I bought in. So as I work to continue improving, I want to pause for a little self-back-patting.
But there is also another reason to list these newly acquired habits. I need to remind myself that change is possible. Changes seem to come so slowly, after so many tries, that it’s easy to feel as though I’ll never improve. Stopping to reflect on achievements, even small ones, helps me keep striving to improve.
So, here’s my brag list. These are things I used to do less than 50% of the time, and now do over 90% of the time. These are small virtues. A large percentage of the population just does these things automatically. I can only say that I envy and admire you. In that order.
- Flossing my teeth daily, even under the bridges
- Making the bed first thing in the morning
- Maintaining a sparkling toilet
- Keeping the contents of my purse organized in pouches
- Keeping my keys in the same place
- Replacing my glasses (I use three different kinds) in their cases so I can find them
- Waiting for my husband to finish fixing his cereal without nudging him out of the way to get at the spoon drawer
- Getting some daily exercise
- Keeping the living room within 10 minutes of “good-enough” company ready
- Eating a plant-based diet
- Checking the calendar night and morning
- Re-reading my emails before hitting “send”
OK, that’s my list. I would love to hear yours.
And for next week:
Eat breakfast at the table
*Here’s the incomparable Aretha singing “Accentuate the Positive”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-w3AtKlY9oY