- Bed-time Routine: I cannot go to bed without thoroughly washing my face and brushing my teeth. It is an annoyingly lengthy process and one that often keeps me up later than intended not because it takes so long but because I am procrastinating getting around to doing it. It involves: a) taking medication (1 pill + 1 inhaler, unless I'm having allergies, then I get a second pill), b) brushing my teeth with the Sonicare (which I love), c) flossing my teeth (I admit this is sometimes omitted when I'm too tired), d) gargling mouthwash, e) removing my contacts (although I do not scrub them), f) scrubbing my face with this fancy device - it has honestly saved my skin, g) removing eye make-up, h) apply toner (um, not the kind you put in your printer) to face, i) apply moisturizer and j) tweeze any unwanted facial hairs. Phew, I told you it is a lengthy process. But my mom trained me well and I don't even remember the last time I went to bed without washing my face and brushing my teeth - even if it is the trimmed down version of this process.
- Exercise: I hesitate to add this on my good list because I tend to focus on what I am not doing as far as exercise goes. But what I can say is that I manage to go to the gym at least once a week for pilates with my personal trainer. The gym has recently added a mat pilates class once a week and I am pretty consistent at attending that as well so at least twice a week I am making it to the gym, in the morning! I'm also lucky because, not only do I live in New York City, I live close enough to work that I can walk. Built-in, hard-to-avoid exercise! It is a 25 minute walk through mid-town that despite the varying extreme temperatures and weather, I consistently choose to walk. Some days I cheat and take the shuttle my building provides that cuts out about 10-15 minutes of the walk and there are the rare days when I take the bus the whole way and the even more rare days when I take a cab (because I am extremely late or hauling luggage with me), but the majority of work days I am on foot. I'm also pretty consistent with walking home unless I work really late, in which case I take the car service my firm provides. But even this I avoid as long as the weather is nice and it is before 10 pm. Finally, one last bit of exercise effort I make started about six months or so ago when I decided that I should take the stairs more often. I live on the sixth floor of my building and six floors are completely do-able. I am very good at not using the elevator to go down. I'm not as consistent at using the stairs to walk up because I have some caveats - I can skip the stairs and take the elevator if a) I'm carrying a lot of stuff (ie, groceries, packages, dry cleaning, etc.), b) it is late and I'm really tired, c) I am wearing heels or d) I am with people (because honestly, wouldn't you hate me if I told you we had to use the stairs to walk up 6 flights rather than the elevator?). The unofficial out is when I'm on the phone, because the cell service cuts out, unfortunately I rely on this one the most so I probably only walk up once or twice a week. But I'm good at going down - no excuses (other than guests, because again, my friends might hate me if I always made them walk down the stairs).
- Healthy Eating: Despite my love for baking and chocolate and eating baked goods and chocolate, especially chocolate baked goods, I am a fairly healthy eater. I genuinely prefer wheat and multi-grain breads over white and I don't really eat sugar cereals, I would much rather have Kashi or Grape Nuts. Every week day morning I eat the very same thing for breakfast - irish oatmeal with cinnamon and a little bit of brown sugar. It is healthy and delicious and fills me up for the morning. I also eat a salad for lunch nearly every day and I usually have yogurt or fruit as an afternoon snack and make a real effort to eat fresh vegetables and fruit every day.
- Returning Phone Calls/Emails: If you leave me a message that I do not return you can bet that I have either been abducted by aliens (or my job) or am out of the country (or perhaps I have deemed you toxic and have vowed not to return your calls, but even then I call back if you tell me you are shipping off to Iraq!). I am not as good as I used to be at returning emails but for the most part I respond immediately - especially if it is from a friend because those emails are so much more fun than work emails or spam.
- Cleaning As I Cook: As you have probably surmised if you have read this blog with any consistency, I enjoy cooking and more specifically - baking. But these kitchen endeavors can be quite messy, which is why I am very happy with my habit of cleaning as I go. I can probably trace this back to my mom lecturing me on pulling all the ingredients out and using far too many dishes (I liked pre-measuring ingredients in small bowls like they did on tv) and then just abandoning the whole project once the cookies or brownies were done (my early favorites). It is also a habit born of necessity since most of the apartments I have lived in over the past 14 years have had limited counter-top space so cleaning as I went along was a necessity - no room to leave ingredients and dishes strewn about. A dishwasher makes the clean-as-you-go process even more efficient. I'm a big proponent of this becasue at the end of the process, you not only have yummy food (barring disaster) but you have a clean kitchen!
- Organizing: Once I organize something, I am really good at the habit of maintaining. My sister might call it OCD, I call it a good habit, but one example is my bedroom closet. It is a pretty good size so that helps in organizing everything. First off, I only use plastic hangars (the wire ones bug me!). Second, I have everything categorized: dresses on the far left, then skirts, then pants on the main rack. Then shirts are divided between the split level rods. And here is the part that bugs my sister - I organize my hanging shirts, sweaters and blouses by color. The top rack is all colors starting with green (because it is my best color and I like it to be accessible), blue, brown, purple, red, pink and misc.; the bottom rack is black and white, the majority being black. My shoes are also organized on a rack with boots tucked to the side. I am really good at sticking with this system, although the shoes do have a tendency to stray since I also keep shoes in the hall closet and at the office.
- Driving: I don't do it often, what with the whole I-don't-own-a-car thing (or at least, I don't own a car that is parked within 2,000 miles of me), but when I do drive, I think I have at least one good habit: I always use my blinker. Always. Even if I am signaling that I am turning into my parents drive-way and there isn't another car in sight, I use my blinker. As a very brief aside, I have to note here that while I was living in Australia, I was highly entertained by their use of the word "indicator" in place of blinker. I think because it sounded so formal contrasted with the casual, slightly wacky sounding "blinker." I vividly remember cracking up and oft repeating this phrase (only works in an Aussie accent) I actually overheard someone say "the wanker has left his bloody indicator on!" (a very annoying habit!). You might not find it as funny as I did but it still makes me giggle for some reason. Probably since saying essentially the same thing in the US would be so un-funny: "the jacka** [or something to that effect] has left his f*@#ing blinker on!" Hmmm, a bit over the top for a slight annoyance, but very funny in Aussie terms! Oh, and before this list sounds like it is ending with a complaint I will add that I am obsessive about turning the indicator off after I no longer need it. A good habit.
Okay, it was harder to get to 7 good habits than I initially anticipated, especially since some of them seemed to overlap so much. I am hoping there are a whole slew I have left out because I take them for granted - like showering and washing my hands after using the restroom to name the basics. I also kept thinking of all my bad habits or avoided habits instead - for some reason I can think of plenty of those! But I will leave those for another Tuesday.
So now it is your turn, what are your good habits?