Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Establishing new habits

Good habits - doing things on a regular basis without needing to think a lot about it - are one of the keys to a healthy, happy life. But it's not necessarily easy to establish a new habit. Here's the story of how I started the habit of regularly taking fish oil.

The benefits of taking fish oil have been piling up, so I've been convinced for a while that it would be a good idea to take some regularly. I've tried pills, but they're just to big for me, and don't go down easily. Plus, you need to take multiple pills, and I also want to give my kids fish oil, and having them take a pill every morning would be a big pain. So, I researched liquid fish oil, and ended up buying Carlsons Lemon flavored fish oil on Amazon.com. This is not the nasty tasting cod liver oil from years ago, it has a light lemony taste. After thinking about it a while, here's how I established the habit:

1. I decided to make it a weekly thing instead of daily. It's lots easier that way, since you don't have the overhead of doing something every day. That's assuming you can remember to do it - usually daily habits are much easier to remember. There's no negatives to taking more once a week, rather than some every day.
2. For remembering - I have my palm Treo remind me every Sunday to give the kids some fish oil, and take some myself.
3. As soon as I get the reminder from my palm Treo, I put a small bowl with 3 spoons (one size for me, one for Peter, and one for Kenny) on the kitchen table so that it's visible the next time we eat there.
4. Before we eat, I'm reminded by the bowl with spoons that I need to get the fish oil out from the fridge and give us all a spoonful. This is critical - it puts an infallible reminder of the fish oil in a place where we're going to be very soon (kitchen table), and when we're all together and ready to eat.

Voila!

It does take some thought and planning to establish a solid new habit. And I wouldn't actually say this is solid yet - it's been about a month and a half. But so far, so good. And it's taught me some important lessons in establishing habits.

1 Comments:

Blogger Eve Foster said...

Sylvia, I am Deborah Eve Foster. First I'd like to thank you for the lovely images of my childhood home I have come across online from you. The Rock is a really beautiful place and I am happy that you and your husband were able to enjoy that experience with my dear Papa. I am the one whom "supposedly ran over the rock for exercise", quite the feat as I'm sure you are aware having done it (I don't believe I could do it now). It took me 35 minutes all the way over and I did it daily. Thanks again as it was a lovely change of pace from the surplus of media about my Papa's death. Eve

12:12 AM  

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