This Week

So it’s been a solid three weeks since I last did this, but I don’t intend to just give it up after two habit-testing attempts, so here it comes back again. The intervening three weeks have really been more about survival: I had to finish the school year, I had to grade, I had to sleep, I had to keep my spirits up. So that’s the habit I’ve been trying to maintain every week for the last three weeks: sleep, work, live.

I’d like to report that I stuck with all three things every day for the last three weeks. I suck at sleeping — which is not news —  but it’s not a question of habit, it’s a question of stress; when I wake up at 2 or 3am, when I’m stressed, I start thinking about the thing that is worrying me. Believe me, if I could break that habit, I would; now that it is summer, the habit will be broken for me, which is nice, but kind of not the point of these posts, these attempts. I am good at the habitual grading of papers every single day; but that’s not a habit I want to maintain — and it too has been ended for me this past week. Living and keeping my spirits up? Sure, that’s a thing I want to keep doing. I’m sure it will be quite a bit easier now.

So I’m moving on to new ideas.

If you recall, three weeks ago I decided to give up snacking, particularly gum, per my wife’s suggestion. I did it for the week, and it wasn’t terrible: though I admit I cheated a time or two, once because I honestly forgot that I was doing it for the week, and I grabbed some chips at Costco and snacked on them; once at school because I wanted the snack and I said, “Screw it.” I also ate donuts at school because donuts were available — it was Teacher Appreciation week, when we don’t get a raise and people don’t treat us any better, but they do bring us food and shit — along with cake and a few other gift-snacks. So it wasn’t  a perfect abstention from snacking.

I never chewed gum, though. Not once. So, success.

Really, the main point was not to munch on my salty snacks once I got home. They’re my main food vice, and there are times when I get out the bag of Cheez-its and forget that I’m eating them until I’ve downed way more than I should have; that’s the habit I was looking to break, really. And that I did not do.

But like the video game stoppage the week before, it didn’t really amount to much. I didn’t feel healthier, I didn’t feel better, I didn’t lose weight — but I also wasn’t miserable, and I didn’t fall asleep at 8pm, which is one reason I do snack sometimes, because it keeps me awake. Basically I proved to myself that I don’t need to snack, but that I am a bit happier when I do.

The last week or two has actually been something of a better test: because I really haven’t snacked unless I’ve been hungry or craving something; and more than once, I decided to avoid snacks because I didn’t want to ruin my dinner. And that has been — just fine. So maybe because of the week without evening snacking, and maybe just because I’m steadily growing more aware of what I eat and how I eat it, I think I’ve actually got a pretty good handle on my snacking.  So again, success.

This week I think I’m going to go with exercise. I go to the gym, and I ride my bike; but in both cases I’m very on-again, off-again. A little bit because my wife likes going to the gym with me, and she hurt her wrist pretty seriously back in January and has been recovering ever since (It’s her drawing wrist, so we’ve been taking it very seriously), so she hasn’t been able to do much gym time, which often means I don’t go, as well. But I’ve also come to understand that I can go without her and it doesn’t actually bother either of us too much, so I have to give up that excuse. Again, it’s been rough trying to survive for the last month, so I haven’t really gone, and now that the school year’s over I want to get back into the habit. I also want to spend some of this summer getting into better biking shape because I’d like to get myself to work like that as much as I can next year.

So that will be this week: every day I will either go to the gym, or I will ride my bike. I will probably give myself an exception this coming Saturday, as we are going to move starting that day, so my “exercise” will be cleaning and/or lifting heavy things. But we’ll see. Between now and then, it’s every day workouts for me. (Yes, I already did one today. It hurt a lot. Part of the reason I want to get back into the habit more.)

I will report back next Sunday. Hopefully.

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