Creature of habit

“Habit simplifies our movements, makes them accurate, and diminishes fatigue.”

— William James, The Principles of Psychology

I am a creature of habit. It’s why I am trying to establish a routine; if I do something frequently enough that it becomes a habit, it gets done.

I take my contacts out every night, both to clean them and to give my eyes a rest. (I wear RGPs; soft contacts give me the willies.) I do this every single night, without fail. I would no sooner sleep in my contacts than I would sleep with a toothbrush in my mouth.

I brush my teeth each night. And floss and rinse with Listerine. The latter two were not always habit; I made them habit. Now they, too, are non-negotiable.

I have, for more than 20 years now, taken medicine at bedtime. It started with the Pill; I was a college student when I started taking that, and didn’t always get up at the same time each day. It was easier to remember to take it at the same time each night. So I set an alarm as a reminder. Over time, I stopped needing the reminder; it was second nature to take medicine in the evenings. And the habit persists to this day.

If only I could make other things habit. Cleaning the bathrooms. Exercising. Making the bed. Doing the dishes. These have been habits in the past, but those habits fell by the wayside. If I could just work them into the fabric of my mindless habits, they’d always get done.

I will keep trying. Self-improvement is also a habit.


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