Gretchen Rubin, in her book ‘Better Than Before’ says the following about Foundation Habits –
‘From my observation, habits in four areas do most to boost feelings of self-control and in this way strengthen the Foundation of all our habits. We do well to begin by tackling the habits that help us:
- eat and drink right
Personally I agree with 3 out of the 4. The 4th Foundation habit, ‘unclutter’ is a bit of a strange one to me. However if it takes us 20 minutes each morning to clean the kitchen up before we can eat we less likely to make wise choices with food. The same goes for exercise (movement), if we need to clear the floor before we start, we are less likely to start in the first place.
However I am a pile-r. I make piles of books, papers, dirty dishes, laundry, both waiting to be washed and even the clean laundry. I know it is a bad thing, but I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have a pile of books at the side of my bed. I do put them away, but then another pile forms within a few days. I often tell myself that I won’t let the books pile up again, but my resolve doesn’t last long and the reason is it doesn’t last long is that to me it doesn’t matter.
The other Foundation Habits are much easier –
- sleep – be settled in bed by 10.30 – that is Habit, the reality can often awake at midnight reading another chapter of the latest book. I am working on it, as sleep is vital for me to be able to function at all during the following day. My disability often means i have broken sleep, but I have found that if I sleep earlier, I sleep better. You will also need to take into account whether you are an owl or an lark.
- movement – so far on this one, I haven’t found any correlation between how much movement I do and the amount of pain I am in, neither does the pain increase if I do more, no decreases if I do less. However I have found that if I push myself over a certain amount of movement I quickly become fatigued. I have also realised that my feet hurt all the time, walking or not, they hurt!
- eating and drinking right – drinking right is not normally a problem I have, I tend to drink water most of the time. I don’t drink tea, coffee or alcohol, so giving them up is not an issue. As for eating, I have come to the conclusion that to eat at all, I need to lower the bar, which for me means to make sure that I eat ‘food’ on most days I need to eat ready good quality ready made meals and easy snacks, fruit included.
I think for another Foundation Habit would be – Put God First.
It is important to me that I ‘Put God First’ and last in my day, but for others this will not be the case.
Although the book is useful in giving us some pointers on where to begin we need to remember that we are all different and what is right for someone else, may not be right for us – for you – for me. Take the time to think about what is important to you and what matters to you, which will help you to build better personal habits.