The art of the restart

Photo courtesy of Green Chameleon, StockSnap
Photo courtesy of Green Chameleon, StockSnap

I’ve discovered my secret talent, my true calling in life. It’s a skill that many posses, but I excel in wielding it…I can talk myself out of anything. What I’m particularly making reference to is this blog. I fell off the wagon harder than Humpty Dumpty did the wall.

Letting what once was a fun past time hobby slip so far past the back burner that it’s practically behind the stove isn’t anything new. We see it happen all the time. The glowing gym membership that sees a lot of thought, but never much action. The book you know will make you smarter, but goshdangit, it’s lengthier than a high school ex’s Facebook statuses.

I have a firm, though unsubstantiated, belief that out of everything in our lives, Netflix gets most of our commitment. That’s why they can make the episodes of “Black Mirror” so long. They know we’ll stick to it like peanut butter on a toddler’s face.

Good habits are tough to build and bad habits are hard to break. And humans are creatures of habit.

Christine Whelan, a public sociologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told the Washington Post the very idea of restructuring our time and life style is not a sexy concept to us.

“To make a change in our behavior means we’re adding something or subtracting something, and we have to figure out what that is,” she tells the Washington Post. “So one great secret to succeeding at change is to be aware of what isn’t going to happen…”

Deciding to create a positive behavior change, say blathering on in WordPress, eliminates time I would use for, say, building an exact replica of Downton Abby in the Sims. Life’s about tough choices, y’all.

Proving she seems to know us better than we know ourselves, Whelan recommends only trying to make one change at a time…because that’s essentially all we can handle. And building around that switch, we should act (get ready for an acronym AND a pun) SMART.

Whelan says resolutions for positive habit changes should be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • There’s a Reward for sticking to it
  • And progress is Trackable

Whelan says the more time spent actually doing the good habit stuff, the longer you’ll keep to it.

“The more likely it is you’ll develop a habit that you don’t have to think about. It doesn’t require self control, there’s not a lot of active internal debate. You just do it,” she says.

While these tips are straight-up and edging on common sense, we can’t treat building good habits as flippantly.

“Make sure that what you’re trying to change is something YOU really want to do, not something you feel you SHOULD do,” Whelan imparts.

And writing here is something I definitely want. Move over Netflix suggested queue, you’re now back burner material.