Thursday Thirteen – New Habits
I’ve decided that for this week’s edition of Thursday Thirteen, I’ll fill you in on 13 new practices that I have taken up recently. I have called the post New Habits, which is, perhaps, a bit of a cheat, as they are not fully formed habits yet. I hope that if I keep at them though, that this is precisely what they will become. I feel quite positive that I will keep them up as they are already making such a positive difference in my life. I hope that by sharing them with you, that you may decide to take up a few of them yourself.
So, without further ado, here’s my Thursday Thirteen:
- Regularly reading inspiring blogs – I love reading blogs! There are so many that I read on a regular basis that continually inspire me. Here are a few that keep on delivering inspirational posts: Heroes Not Zombies, Zen Habits, Icing, Steve Pavlina, Original Impulse, and Litemind. Go on and check them out!
- Stopped watching the news – I used to watch a lot of news; I watched the breakfast news, the lunchtime news, and the evening news. On top of that my homepage used to be BBC News, so I used to browse news stories whilst the news was on the television! I have now made the conscious decision not to devote so much of my attention to news, as it really places me in a negative frame of mind. I do still watch one news programme a day, as I don’t tolerate ignorance well, but it’s certainly not what I wake up to, and I don’t watch it before going to bed. This small change has made such a difference as I’m feeling significantly more positive about life in general.
- Writing out affirmations- I won a book recently which is called Write it Down, Make it Happen by Henriette Anne Klauser. In it one of the chapters was about writing down affirmations in a journal. Now, I’ve tried affirmations before and I’ve not had much success with them. I struggled to shake that self conscious feeling which would creep over me whenever I started talking to myself in the mirror. The kids giggling behind the door didn’t help! So, when I read this chapter about writing down the affirmations instead of reciting them, I thought I would give them another go. I’ve only done this for a very short time, but I already know some of them by heart.
- Carrying my camera everywhere – My dad recommended this one, and I absolutely love it! I now carry my camera everywhere with me, and I find that it has had the result that I am constantly looking for things to take photographs of. This has upped my awareness of the world around me tenfold, some of the results of which you can see here and here.
- Writing down compliments- Now if you are anything like me, this habit may make you squirm. Self-effacement seems to come naturally to me, and so adopting the habit of writing down compliments runs completely contrary to my nature. This is another suggestion from the book Write in Down, Make it Happen which I have decided to adopt as it aims to reprogram our perceptions of ourselves, which are often a lot more negative than the way others perceive us. Now, whenever I feel a bit down, I can turn to my compliments book and it’s a wonderful lift!
- Thinking positively – I am completely sold on the power of positive thinking. By consciously making the effort to think positively I truly believe that I not only alter my own experience of life, but also that of those around me. One of my most concerted efforts to think positively is my participation in the Only The Good project, which invites bloggers to post a photograph which others can comment on, with the condition being that those leaving comments need to focus only on the good. Negativity is not allowed! You can see my Only The Good posts here, here, here, here and here. Also, I’d like to encourage you to visit the other participants who are Tumbled Words, Soliloquy, Inside Mo’s Mind, This Eclectic Life, Miscellaneous Matters, Life in Westcliffe, and of course, Only The Good.
- Actively creating opportunities- It is so much easier to sit and wait for opportunity to come to you, whilst complaining that everyone else is offered better opportunities than you, isn’t it? Well, no more! I have decided to take matters into my own hands, and I’m going to be proactive about creating opportunity in all areas of my life. One of the affirmations that I am now writing is “I am now living a life of design rather than a life of reaction” which I found on this website. This affirmation really resonates with me, as I feel it is very closely related to my determination to be the force of change in my own life.
- Exploring off the beaten track – For so long now I have kept to the same pathways and to the same ways of doing things. I have suppressed my curiosity to the point where I no longer recognised alternative ways of doing things. I think that this habit may be related to number 4, as it is partly my desire to take new photographs that has instigated my deviance from the regular path. Regular readers of this blog may remember my recent exploration off the beaten path, when I went into a cemetery which I walk passed every week. I found some of the most wonderful narratives, one of which was the Amiable American Stranger. See what wonderful things we can find, if we wander off the path!
- Playing more music- I love playing my music loudly in my house, in the car and on my ipod (and, yes I know it’s bad for my hearing!), but for a long time I seemed to stop listening to music. I am now making sure that I listen to some music every day as it just makes me so happy. I always have a very emotional response to music, and I think sometimes when I’m feeling a bit fragile, that it seems almost easier not to listen. By listening to music I can make sure that I don’t give in to this “shutting down” reaction. Life should be embraced, as should our emotions, and that’s what listening to music reminds me.
- Listening to audio books – As a member of Audible, I can download an audiobook once a month, and I have discovered that by far and away my favourite type of audiobook is the self-development book. I have now built up quite a collection. Some I have had a chance to listen to all of, whilst others I’m still working up to. Here are a few that are on my list: Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, The Art of War for Women, Pitch Like a Girl and The Secret. Tomorrow is the day that my book credit is renewed so I’ll be downloading a new one. Any suggestions?
- Saying thank you – I imagine that all too many of us take those around us, and perhaps life in general, for granted. I am making a conscious effort to say thank you, and to recognise everything in my life for which I am grateful for. I actually spent some time this morning writing down in my journal all the things which I am grateful for, because not only did I read about it in Write it Down Make it Happen, but it was also one of the exercises that forms a part of the Butterfly Experiment (see below). Once I had started it was difficult to stop; I have so many things to be grateful for!
- Taking part in the Butterfly Experiment– I just came across this a couple of days ago, and as it is a 30 day experiment it may not technically fall into the category of a new habit. However, I am thinking that it may spark off a number of new habits. For example, I meditated for the very first time this morning. I think I need to work on it though, as I found it very difficult to keep my mind free of thoughts such as what I was going to do for dinner, and what phone calls I had to make. Definitely a work in progress! What is interesting is that the experiment is about the law of attraction and is designed to see if you can attract butterflies into your life, and I did see several butterflies today. Now, anyone who knows my garden, knows that I have 2 large Buddleia bushes, otherwise known as the “Butterfly bush”, planted at my front and back doors. I see a lot of butterflies every day! But I saw even more today, in books, on clothing and at university. Not sure what this means yet, but it’s fun!
- Blogging at Lives Less Ordinary- I started this blog as I felt stifled over at my other blog, Textual Tangents. My solution was that I would make Textual Tangents my professional blog, and this blog, Lives Less Ordinary, would be my personal blog. This blog gives me so much pleasure, especially when folk take the time to comment; it makes it seem like I’m not just blogging into the dark! In the last couple of weeks I have taken part in Thursday Thirteen and I find that this has taken my blogging pleasure to a new level. By the look of the list of TT posts over at the Thursday Thirteen blog, I’m not the only one!
Are these habits familiar to you? Have you recently taken up some new practices with the hope that they’ll become habits? There’s actually a great post about habit building over at Zen Habits called Engineer Life: Set Up Habit Changes So It’s Hard To Fail which may help all of us to maintain our good habits.
Happy Thursday Thirteen!