The habit of inhabiting new habits.

I am a creature of habit.

One of my habits is not keeping habits. Or, keeping only my worst habits. Every single time I clean my room, things end up back in their improper places by the end of the week. I could diagram it for you — piles of dirty clothes go (1) on the bathroom floor, (2) beside the bed, or (3) in the doorway to the closet (towels especially, here). Book towers inevitably form on the nightstand. If laundry has been done, it is still in its basket (six days later), where I select outfits from it like I’m suitcase-living on vacation. Outdated newspapers accumulate near the doorway, for whatever reason. I never descend into filth (you will NOT find moldy food or dishes anywhere in my room) but I have a set of patterns conforming to my daily routines. Clothes and papers go in piles, books stack into towers.

A brief sampling of habits I have tried to create that have yet to become a daily trend: taking my vitamins, reading the newspaper, taking the bus (in lieu of the car), checking the mail, flossing, keeping constant track of my money, applying to [X#] jobs, [etc].

Which is why, when I think (constantly) I’m going to start writing every day, I feel a sort of predisposed disappointment. I love to do it — it’s like fun work! — but without accountability, I have begun a trend of imagining grand things, imagining really grand things, getting incredibly excited, getting incredibly scared, slumping back, and inventing a “back burner” on to which many ideas are inevitably shelved to be forgotten, or remembered with a blow of excessive shame.

The key here is “without accountability.” I never quit jobs, or refuse to follow through on professional projects. But the erratic nature of the “job hunt” means I don’t live day-to-day, mentally. Instead, I inhabit this expansive space that encompasses the past and pending. Everything is speculative. I can invest in hours of work on applications, which I am supposed to do, and which I have seen result in barely any returns. Or, I could invest slightly less time in applications and set aside some time to invest in something personal (writing), which will always pay back. It is mystifying to me that I have not been doing this. Also mystifying that I feel a shiver of fear when I think about it.

I may go back to the self-helpy, yet oh-so-effective Pomodoro technique, which I used for a few weeks of blissful success in college (before habitually dumping a habit). My self-discipline is newly out of hibernation. Its legs are tingly with a lack of circulation.

And so, second post in a row, here’s to one more attempt at establishing a habit.

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One Response to The habit of inhabiting new habits.

  1. Your habits of piles and stacks and laundry baskets sound just like mine, utterly frustrating indeed.

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