Itty Bits: Good Habits

Posted on April 14th, 2011 by Tonia No Comments

I feel like a mama bear, creakily stirring in her den after a long winter sleep. It’s warmer outside, and the sun is shining, but I’ve been snoozing cozily in this dark, safe place for so long and my muscles are used to being contracted and my eyes are accustomed to the dark. Although the outside is attractive for many reasons, I can’t seem to uncurl…I just keep circling around in there, squinting in the harsh light at the opening of the cave…Are you sure it’s safe to come out? It’s not going to snow again, is it?

Photo credit: shipskaptindan’s photostream

Mike and I usually take advantage of every nice-weather day- no matter the season- to get outside and have fun {whereas the nasty-weather days are for inside-stuff like cleaning and laundry and extravagant meals that take all afternoon to prepare.} But the end of winter {February and March} is usually full of so many nasty-weather days that I get used to being inside a lot more than usual, and then when spring finally rolls around with its temptingly awesome weather, I’m all frazzled by the sudden change, and it takes a sec for me to adapt.

This is a pivotal time, because it’s when you set up your routine for the rest of the season. The habits you start now will either make or break your summer {which is a short-lived season in the Northland, so you have to make the most of it or it will pass you by and you’ll be like “Oh crap! I didn’t do half the stuff I intended to!”} So, the Itty Bits Challenge this week is to make at least one good new habit for yourself/your family this spring.

For instance, running. I need to start running again {I do not run in the winter because I am opposed to treadmills and I’d rather not kill myself running outside in subzero temps on icy paths, thank you very much}, like, right now. But it’s hard. Running really sucks when you start up again after months of not doing it. It doesn’t matter that we played hockey almost every day all winter long- I guarantee my first 10 runs of the season will be pathetic, and not very much fun.

But then you make it over this invisible wall, and running suddenly feels awesome and you look forward to doing it. It’s the starting- the habit making- that takes work and persistence and high pain tolerance. It’s actually very reminiscent of the time I decided to stop using paper-towel around the house…I wanted to go back to my old ways so bad, because it was easier…but I stuck with it and now I am capable of cleaning up without consuming paper every time, and it rocks.

Other good habits we will be trying to establish around here:

1. Plan meals for each week so that we use what our garden produces and visit the grocery store minimally {would love to cut our trips down to once a week}.

2. Establish a holy laundry day and stick to it, for the love of God. Laundry is the bane of my existence because neither Mike or I like to do it…so we don’t. Until we REALLY need to. And then at that point, it’s this HUGE chore that takes all day. I need to just make it a once a week thing. Also, Mike, if you’re reading this, you need to help me with this, sweetie. Yesterday when the gas guy came to check out our dryer to make sure it wasn’t leaking, he had to dig through the pile of clothes to find the dryer. {Why do most of the positive changes in my life stem from really embarrassing moments where I realize I really need to make a change? Can’t I just be the type of person who learns lessons the easy way? Noooooo!}

3. Make a household budget, and stick to it, and start to save some money. Really save, not save-for-something-we-want-to-buy.

4. Create less trash. As a result of fixing up the cottage and settling into our homestead, there is a large amount of crap being trucked over to the local dump. Some of it was stuff left around the property by previous owners {scarp metal, scrap wood, etc.} and some of it is stuff that came with us in the move but now that we’re here we realize we don’t want it {old furniture, old lampshades, piles of magazines, etc.} anymore. We’re donating or selling a huge amount of the stuff that is usable, but a lot of it is just trash. After we purge our house, garage, and yard of this crap, we’re going to be very picky about what enters it. We’re declaring it a trash-free-zone, and nothing comes in unless we consider it beautiful or useful. ……..And that goes for friends too, so those of you who aren’t cute should really go figure out how to be of some use. 😛 {Kidding….you’re all super cute.}

5. Make things instead of buy things. This goes along with creating less trash, because the less stuff we bring home from Target now {which we have to drive an hour and a half to get to now}, the less stuff will end up in the landfill later.

Things we can make ourselves and therefore never buy anymore: Laundry soap, household all-purpose cleaner, most kitchen utensils {wooden spatulas, spoons, etc.}, most toiletries {face wash, masks, scrub, toner, and moisturizer}, wood furniture {dining room table, coffee table, desks, shelves, etc.}, pillows and pillow cases, curtains…..I’m sure there’s more but that’s just off the top of my head.

Things we want to learn how to make ourselves and therefore not have to buy anymore: Chickens and eggs, cheese, clothes, dog treats/food, and I should really let Mike add on to this list because he wants to be able to make everything himself. Any time I ever see anything that I want to buy for the house, he says, “Mehhhh, I could make that.” Annoying, but he has a point.

6. Attend as many local events as possible. Because our town has some insanely energetic people in it who make some great events happen {plays, concerts, film festivals, community sports, community gardening, etc.}, but there’s only 2,000 of us here to support everything going on and make them sustainable. We all need to turn out to these things and show that we like them in order for them to keep happening! And besides the long growing season, the awesomesauce community was a big reason we moved here.

7. After work, get off the computer, get outside, and get things done. There’s more daylight now, which means more time for work and play {unlike in the winter where our motivation goes down with the sun at 4:30 PM…} I’d like to have dinner ready and eaten by 6 every night so we can spend the evenings gardening or doing something active outside together. This will be tough- we’re chronic late-eaters…by the time we’re done with work and we go grocery shopping and we make the meal, it’s usually 9 PM. Sad-face.

Phew! I’m a little overwhelmed right now by this list, and am fighting the urge to just crawl back into my warm, lazy bear cave…but a sustainable and healthy life means more than grocery shopping with reusable bags or driving a hybrid. We need to streamline our lives so that we’re using less stuff and living more productively and efficiently. I’d love to hear what your good habits are going to be this summer, so please leave a comment- even if you’re just implementing one new change, the small things add up to make a big difference.

Before I go, a couple links from around the web that I think are worthwhile:

He Sowed She Sewed writes about spring, family, and starting seeds.

Kind of a Slideshow writes about family and technology {this reminds me so much of how I grew up, our first computer, my dad, etc.}

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