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:

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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!
  9. 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.
  10. 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?
  11. 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!
  12. 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!
  13. 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.

You can find my other TT posts here and here.

Happy Thursday Thirteen!

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September 26, 2007. Inspiration.

33 Comments

  1. Chelle Y. replied:

    I carry my camera every where I go with me too! It paid one time because I was at the mall one day and my favorite baseball player just happened to be there signing autographs! I was able to get my picture taken with him!

    See, it really does pay to always have your camera! πŸ™‚

    http://www.chelleyoung.com/index.php/archive/thursday-thirteen-77-thirteen-things-about-my-nephew-jared/

  2. Tink replied:

    Very inspirational! I might adopt some of those for myself!
    My TT shows my Tinkerbell collection.

  3. Nicholas replied:

    I can’t agree with you about #2. I have BBC News as my homepage too, and I like to be informed. I watch BBC World news every day on cable and read several papers online.

    I am delighted you are doing #13. Long may it continue!

  4. Yen replied:

    I carry my camera wherever I may go to:) I am a photog πŸ˜€ And congrats on winning that book! Nice lists you have here! Keep ’em coming!

    Happy TT!

  5. Lori replied:

    What a great list…I think taking a camera with you everywhere is an awesome idea. You never know when you will get the chance at that perfect shot. Saying Thank You should be a given but really meaning it is something totally different. Happy TT.

  6. WorksForMom replied:

    Good list. I especially try to carry my camera too. You just never know when a moment will arrive.

  7. Wolfie replied:

    Hmm..I’ve to start thinking +ve too..noticed that I’m quite -ve recently…especially about myself..

  8. amypalko replied:

    Wow! I posted my TT and then went to bed, and woke up to all these lovely comments! Thank you all so much for commenting!

    Chelle Y, that sounds like a treasured possession that you’ve got there, that you wouldn’t have otherwise if you hadn’t brought your camera with you! It really is a good habit, isn’t it?

    If you do decide to adopt some of them, Tink, I’d love to hear how you get on with them!

    You are clearly more resilient than I am, Nicholas, when it comes to the news! Thank you for your encouragement on number 13 πŸ™‚

    Thank you too, Yen, for your encouragement. It truly is appreciated!

    You are so right, Lori, about saying thank you. A thank you from the heart is so much more meaningful, than an expected, perfunctory thank you isn’t it? A heartfelt thank you for commenting πŸ˜‰

    Glad you liked the list, WorksForMom! Carrying a camera has made such a difference to my perception of my everyday environment.

    It is so easy to slip into negative thinking, Wolfie. But if you’ve noticed it then that is surely the first step to actively trying to counter those negative thoughts. Good luck!

  9. Stephanie replied:

    Good goals! I don’t watch the news either. It is depressing!

  10. amypalko replied:

    I do find news, on the whole, to be depressing. But I also worry about media manipulation, and I think that via our news we are particularly susceptible. That’s why, when I do watch the news, I watch the BBC, as I feel that they are generally a credible organisation. I actually feel like I get a lot more out of reading blogs. They seem like a more democratic way of disseminating information. Thanks for commenting, Stephanie!

  11. morgan replied:

    Great list! πŸ™‚ I love the idea of writing the affirmations down, because it’s something you can look back on for years to come. Happy T13

  12. amypalko replied:

    You know, Morgan, as I wrote in my post, I’ve really struggled with affirmations in the past, but this method seems to really suit me. When I was in high school revising for my exams, I used to write down all my points for revision, and something about the act of inscription made the information stick in my mind. It’s obviously the way my brain works! If you decide to give it a go, I’d love to hear how you get on with it!

  13. Country Dawn replied:

    I carry my camera with me everywhere, too! πŸ™‚

  14. Rhonda replied:

    Hey, I LIKE this – a LOT!!!! Bravo :-] And thx 4 the visit – let’s do it more often πŸ˜‰

  15. Lucy.R.E. replied:

    good habits πŸ™‚ i try to incorporate about half of them into my life as well. i love having my camera with me (you never know!) and the news just depresses me; i usually only watch the daily show or the colbert report (i think they count) and some online news (so i can filter). and you’re right about the music bit; sometimes i just stop listening for a while and when i realize it’s been missing, i feel so much better when i turn on my itunes. πŸ™‚

  16. vixensden replied:

    What a really great list. Thank you for sharing it, you have inspired me to do some of them! Happy TT.

  17. Thomma Lyn replied:

    What a great list of habits — I sure wish I’d had my camera with me today; hubby and I found ourselves in a beautiful place in the mountains and my thought was DRAT, I wish I had my camera! πŸ™‚

    I like your idea of writing down compliments, too — I, too, am prone to self-effacement, and sadly, all too often, it seems part of human nature to focus on the negative when there is so much positive to focus on instead. Thanks for the reminder! πŸ™‚

    Happy TT, and thank you for visiting mine!

  18. amypalko replied:

    The camera habit seems to be a lot more popular than I had realised, Country Dawn. I’m glad it’s one you’ve taken up too.

    I’m so glad you like the post, Rhonda!

    Lucy R.E., we seem to be on the same page. I just hope that I manage to keep up these habits. I think I will as they seem to be effecting such a positive change.

    If you do decide to take some of them up, Vixensden, please let me know how you get on with them!

    It’s always the way, isn’t it Thomma Lyn, that when we most want to take a photograph we don’t have our camera. Either that or it has run out of batteries! Oh, and have a go at writing down the compliments you receive. It makes such a difference!

  19. A Juggling Mum replied:

    You have a great list of habits there πŸ™‚

    Thanks for inviting me to visit your blog, I’ve had a quick look around and will be back to check it out more thoroughly πŸ™‚

    Have a great week!

    Rachel xxx
    http://www.ajugglingmum.net

  20. Danielle replied:

    I’ve thought of carrying my camera, but I feel like there is nothing terribly inspiring where I live that I can photograph. Of course maybe I need to just be more creative? I used to watch a lot of news and read a lot online, but I cut it way down. I still try and be exposed to a variety of sources, but some of it is so limited–you get only one perspective, and you don’t even get ALL the news. I do check in with CNN online, but even they have the weirdest news stories. Is what movie stars do in their free time really news? It’s all sort of sad really. In a way I feel like I am not even missing much by not watching like I used to.

  21. Celticangel replied:

    I try to carry my camera with me everywhere. It came in quite handy at my conference on Wednesday. Also…I blog. Blogito Ergo Sum almost. Happy TT!

  22. Matthew James Didier replied:

    This may sound silly, but I try to smile, laugh, and see the good in things often… and yet, I do many of the things you feel are negative… BUT… put a positive spin on them.

    For example, one could look at the tragedy of what happened in America on 9/11 and ONLY see the bad… or remember the days after when the streets of New York were filled with folks feeding the rescuers sandwiches and holding signs saying “OUR FIREMEN ARE #1″… or the hundreds and thousands of rescue and EMT workers that headed there…

    Of course there was much sadness and it was terrible… but I still remember the way people pulled together.

    Through the negative, we often see the better angels of our own nature come through.

    At least, that’s my opinion…

  23. Kendra replied:

    i always say i’m going to start carrying my camera around all the time too… it just never happens! happy TT!

  24. amypalko replied:

    Thanks, Juggling Mum! I hope you like what you find πŸ™‚

    I’ve lived in lots of places which have seemed pretty non-photogenic, Danielle, but I’ve discovered that by carrying my camera with me, I frequently find things to photograph that I’d never noticed before. If you give it a go, I’d love to know if it alters your impression of your current environment!

    Blogging is a fabulous habit, isn’t it Celtic Angel?

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, Michael! I think that the ability to see the good is one of the human race’s most redeeming features. I consider myself one of life’s eternal optimists, but even I need reminding every now and again of the the silver lining in every situation. I’m hoping that some of these habits will help! Thank you so much for your comment!

    I’ve integrated the camera-carrying habit into my regular ‘what’s in my handbag before I leave the house’ check… keys, purse, phone, notebook, pen, camera. It’s really helped me to make sure I always have it with me. Thanks for the comment, Kendra!

  25. PJ replied:

    I don’t always carry a camera (though my phone will suffice in a pinch) but I always have a notebook and pen. I guess that’s the writer in me.

    I watch the news at breakfast time, but the news show I watch has quite an interesting format and helps me to feel informed and positive about the day ahead.

    Thanks for visiting my blog, that was a great TT and the rest of your blog looks cool too.

  26. amypalko replied:

    Ah yes, PJ, the notepad and pen! I feel quite lost without them. I frequently come up with some madcap idea which just must be written down before it escapes me, and if I don’t have my pad and pen, I am not a happy camper.
    Glad you like the look of my blog!

  27. Lady Julianne Eternity replied:

    That is a great list. I really like the camera habit – I wish I owned a camera so that I could do it! I see things I want to take photos of when I’m out and about quite frequently, and it’s disappointing when I can’t. Graffiti on toilet walls, flip flops abandoned by a child…it’s so frustrating to not be able to capture it all. Hopefully soon I will be able to.

  28. amypalko replied:

    It would appear that lots of people like the camera habit, Lady Julianne! I had no idea it was so popular, although from the popularity of a site like Flickr, I should have! I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you that you get a camera soon!

  29. Luciano Passuello replied:

    Hi Amy, thanks for the link to Litemind! I was really flattered to be listed among blogs that are so nice! Thanks!

  30. amypalko replied:

    You are so welcome, Luciano!

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