I've been thinking lately about the good habits in my life, the ones I'm glad I started doing and have kept up with because they make my life better, richer. I thought I'd share them with you in case you're looking to start some new habits in your own life that will make it better and richer too.
Meal Planning: Seriously, I don't know how other women make dinner work without a meal plan. That board on my fridge with the meals listed is a key to my sanity. Knowing that we have all the groceries bought and in the house for said meals means my heart rate stays at a nice, even beat. I've grown to love my meal planning sessions, creating a weekly plan that has a nice variety of different meats and veggies, finding foods that compliment each other, including new recipes I've wanted to try while relying on some tried and true ones for those nights I'm not feeling energetic. I feel all homemakerish when I do it. Pinterest has helped. And my shelf of cookbooks that sits right beside the place at the table where I work for handy access. My notebook of clipped recipes (that seems to grow bigger and bigger thanks to a few magazine subscriptions I've hung onto) has never failed to yield some quick and easy things to make. It's not that hard once you build up a repertoire of recipes. Just start where you are with what you have and build on that. It saves so much time later that it's worth the bit of effort it takes on the front end.
My Reading Log: This is the 3rd? 4th? year I've had a reading log and I just love having a list of all the books I've read. I love going back and being able to pinpoint what year I read what books, noting the ones that were favorites and chuckling over the ones I clearly didn't like but was simply determined to finish. It doesn't take that much time to jot down the book title and a little note about my thoughts about it. It just makes me happy to have it, and sometimes the good parts of life are those little things that just make us smile.
Running: I feel like a hypocrite writing this because between a lot of rain lately (I typically do NOT run in the rain if I can help it), some injuries, and a crazy life, I've not been the best about making running a priority every day. But I do love it when I get out there and do it. All you need is a good pair of running shoes, an iPod (I think that's an essential), and a street or sidewalk to make it happen. Oh, and time. And kids that can watch themselves. I'm glad I started the habit of running. It has been a great stress reliever, provided some wonderful time to think, and I'm proud of myself every time I do it.
My To-Do Notebook: I have written about this before, so feel free to skip this part if you already know about this practice in my life. I keep a 5X7 notebook and each page represents one week of time. I write down everything I need to get done in that week-- shopping, blog ideas, writing, She Reads stuff, other business items, calls I need to make, mail I need to take care of, stuff I need to order, etc. It all gets put on the weekly list. If it's something I need to take care of in the future, it goes on the list a few pages over. I've found that once I put it on the list, it generally happens. Then when I'm planning out my day, I can just look at the list for that week and give myself a few assignments for that day. Not sure how this plan evolved but it has worked for me and keeps me from feeling overwhelmed.
Habits, when they work for you, are good. They can make you more productive and industrious. They can make you more efficient and organized. If you're like me, all four of those are welcome words. If you'd like to learn more about habit, this book looks good. I've not read it but heard good things about it.