Wednesday, February 22, 2012


I am short on time lately.  I have no excuses, no full-time job I must rush to every day, and now, being an empty nester, no children at home to tend to.  And it's winter, so the biggest consumer of my time, the garden, is a hibernating giant right now.  So why can't I find time to fit in all the things I would love to do every day, like write and sew?

Hmmmm....good question.  I think my problem has to do with habits.  I have some really bad ones I'm trying to change.  Believe it or not, gasp, I was never the kind of person who made New Year's Resolutions.  Ever.  And my failure to do so wasn't because I thought I was perfection personified.  No, I've lived in this ever-expanding hide of mine for going on 54 years now, and I know me through and through.  Making a silly resolution won't work with me; I'm a tough cookie.  (Yum, cookies.....)   "In this New Year, I will never overeat or indulge in chocolate again."  Yeah, right.  Nothing like setting myself up to fail. 

Never is a Big Word. 

How long does it take to form a habit?  I read an article:  How Long to Form a Habit? PsyBlog which estimated anywhere from 18 to 254 days or beyond. (Unless chocolate is involved, which in my case, I would say about 1.6 seconds.)  See, I'm not alone in needing time to learn good habits.  Simply declaring on January 1 that I'll be good from here on out isn't going to do much for me. 

I know I can be trained to do things differently, especially if I'm forced to.   One of the best training sessions I had was a few years ago when I broke my right wrist.  The first night I was feeling trapped with the cast on my arm to my elbow.   I was nearly ready to gnaw it off.  I usually don't have problems with claustrophobia, but I really, Really wanted my arm out of there!   I finally calmed down when Carl assured me he could get it off of me if I truly couldn't take it anymore.  Just knowing there was a way out of the blasted thing was a relief and I got over the trapped feeling.  (I never said I was courageous.)

And, along with healing my broken wrist, the cast provided a good seven-week long training session. I learned to do many things left-handed, which is a good thing.  I'm far from ambidextrous, but the skill to be able to use my left hand reasonably well hasn't left me.  After the cast finally came off, I found there were things I even missed about it, such as the ability to sleep with my head cradled on my arm/cast (can't do that now or my arm would go numb) and how many times I found myself using the cast to stop doors from slamming shut and carrying heavy stuff.  The plaster trap came in handy a whole lot more than I envisioned it would.  (But I hope I never have to wear one again.)

So, in a way, falling down a flight of stairs on my ample derriere  in December was good for me.  Not being able to sit for very long forced me to do something else with my time, and since walking was the only thing that made me feel better during the acute phase, I simply kept taking mincing little steps which alleviated some of the ongoing pain.    But then it snowed.  Not much, but a little and with the snow and warmer temperatures here and there came ice.  Oh, ice is not my friend this year, just the thought of landing on my rear end one more time brings tears to my eyes. 
I have to exercise utmost caution on my snowblower trails.  If I hadn't fallen down in December, I wouldn't have found out about Leslie Sansone and her plethora of walking videos.  Now I'm free to walk in the house any time, in any weather.  No excuses.  (It's been 53 days now of 'Walk, Walk, Walk' without a break, it's almost a habit, I hope!)

Trying to keep track of my activity and what I'm consuming on a daily basis has been an eye-opener, too.  Being a couch potato is not a good thing.

 All too often in the past I would find myself just wanting to tear into a bag of my favorite snacks.

Eating straight from the bag is not a good idea.

Especially the jumbo-sized bags. 

I've been taking time to exercise the dogs more often, too.


How much time to form a habit?  In my case, my personality has everything to do with it.  I tend to obsessive-compulsive traits and there's just not enough time in the day to accomplish everything I would like to do.  We all have to sleep some time, right?   Actually, the hardest habit I am trying to break is my night-owl tendency.  That's a rough one, but I know I must.  Change comes slowly, but I'll do my best.

Baby steps to the pool, Bob. 

My apologies to Donna at Garden Walk, Garden Talk for this silly look at the Word for Wednesday:  Time.  Please take the time to read her amazing posts.  Always time well-spent!


Dandelion and Daisy said...

It helps to have a dog, or dogs, who can quilt you into a walk! Jack dog has forced the habit on me and I'm happy for that.

shannon i olson said...

I desperately need some new habits!!!! I love Leslie's videos and have a few...sitting somewhere.
I also have broken my tailbone and remember how very painful it was! Come on Spring!

Gardens at Waters East said...

I so enjoyed reading your post today. I haven't fallen on my ass (yet) but with less out door gardening to do, I have the same "lack of time". Don't know where it goes. Jack

Donna@GWGT said...

Habits, I wish I had time for them, ha ha. I was surprised to read there was research noting the time it takes to form habits. You have to wonder how they really determined the results. It seems so subjective and so easily impressionable. Karen, thanks for joining, but your link is not clickable. I am guessing your blog address is misspelled.

HolleyGarden said...

Good going on the walking. And your dog's picture of eating from the jumbo bag and being a couch potato made me laugh out loud! Here lately, it seems, I just can't seem to find enough time to get everything done that I need to do. I don't know why all of a sudden I'm very far behind in everything! I think I need some time management! ;) said...

You always bring a laugh for me! I relate so much to your way of thinking; I did away with New Year's Resolutions, about 11 years ago. I learned to really live day by day. Also, the info about habits is absolutely true. I often "self-talk" to myself about being more careful about allowing myself to settle into bad habits. I am definitely a person who likes some routine in my life, but when life interferes, it's weird how we can go so far off track and develop new bad habits. I find that it's sometimes hard to do things we love because we simply don't get started. Once we force ourselves to get started, then we keep going.

Anyway, the broken arm experience was a scary experience, I am sure. Breaking a bone is never pleasant! I've had a few bones removed (three ribs in separate surgeries) and it's NEVER easy to have anything happen to a bone...such deep pain. Stay inside and do your stained glass! Take pictures! I LOVE seeing your work.

Good job on the treadmill, keep us updated.


Anonymous said...

Dear Karen, You are so good with your walking. I'm flat on my back at the moment. :( had a miss hap with the vacuum cleaner... Do you know those things can seriously damage your health!
take care Hunnie walk with you again soon.

Shirley said...

Your post was very entertaining! I love the addition of the What About Bob video! Love this movie!

Shirley said...

I hope you have a quick recovery so you might enjoy some time in your garden while it is still asleep and all you have to do is enjoy (and snow blow, that is).

Beth said...

Hi Karen, What an entertaining post! I think you spend a lot of time exercising, and I think that's a good thing. Great for your health, Karen. Have a good rest of the week!

Sall's Country Life said...

I bet you are accomplishing more than you think! I just caught up on your posts...the stain glass work that you do has to be time consuming, your regular exercise is time well spent, and I bet your house is immaculate! You sound like me "there's never enough time!" But that's just because I want to do everything! No sense in letting life waste away! Just stay on your feet, girl, and enjoy the time you have!! And don't forget to spend some time on yourself once in awhile!

Andrea said...

I salute your positivism, where you can always see advantages and some fun in whatever "unwholesome" situation you are in. Take care because it is really not good for us to fell at this stages of our lives. Besides, i heard here that those types of pains are more painful in cold climes. It is good you can blog post again.

The Sage Butterfly said...

Like you, I create my own schedule for the most part. And it seems I have a hard time fitting everything in. Either I am doing too much--which is very possible--or I need to restructure my time. It is a constant challenge. You seem to be on the right track...hope everything heals and you are at your best very soon.

Indie said...

The videos are too funny!
I've found that since I have a habit of breaking all New Year's resolutions, the thing to do is to change the resolution as opposed to the habit. This year I WILL gain weight! And this year I will become lazier and eat way too much chocolate!
(Okay, maybe this technique didn't work for me quite as well as I hoped...)

Donna@Gardens Eye View said...

Oh Karen I have been away from your blog far too long...sorry to hear of your fall...we are the same age and experiencing the same night-owlish behavior...I knew we had a connection...I too have bad habits to break and am working on them...spring will be here before we know it so rest and recuperate a bit..