Some people says it takes 21 days to make a habit, others say 90 days are required to form a habit. The four-footed one says it takes as long as it takes, and that may be dependent upon a number of things such as the environment and the feedback she is receiving.
For example, if she receives a nice reward in the form of food each time she does something, and the food continues to be a favorite item to consume, she can learn the habit in less than 21 days. (Yes I know she is a dog, but stick with me.) If she receives praise for what she is doing without any food reward she may never learn the habit because she isn’t getting enough back in return for what she is being asked to do.
The past 2 weeks she has created her own morning habits. After she has gotten out of bed and taken care of the call of nature she seeks out her breakfast. These are all things she has done for a year now. The new habit is that after breakfast is finished, she wants to be picked up and snuggled for an hour or so (depends upon the weather and how much real estate of the bed she managed to acquire at night) while she catches a morning nap.
This habit of hers just started the one day when she approached a chair I was sitting in and put her front paws on my legs. Once I picked her up she settled down into my lap and snuggled in for warmth. (It was a bit chilly in the house.) And she promptly fell asleep for roughly an hour. The next few days were repeats of that first day. After that she’d switch it up with Beloved being the morning snuggler now and then, but by 14 days she had found her new morning habit or ritual. And to be honest, it isn’t one I’m all that inclined to break.
I once worked in a singularly dull office, from the drab beige colored walls to the different shade of beige on the doors. There was no pop of color other than what one could see outside the window and since over half the building faced a brick warehouse that’s not saying much.
One of the things management decided to do in this drab office was to bring in plants. Greenery would create pops of color here and there and most certainly boost productivity. So, a third-party company that supplies drab offices everywhere with plants was brought in. This third-party company would take care of the plants from watering them to replacing any that may not enjoy the environment if it came to that.
Once a week the plants would get watered by a person wearing beige pants and a green polo shirt. The watering can was green. You knew it was happening because there was a pop of green moving amongst the sea of bland colors in the office. (Most of the staff dressed in muted browns or blacks, some daring to wear a grey only to be reprimanded if it wasn’t in keeping with the company’s image. Yes, the image of drab was clearly their goal.)
At least once a month, two carts would be brought in, one with fresh green office plants to be set out and the other to remove those who had succumbed to being drabbed to death. It wasn’t the fault of the plants, nor was it the fault of the people who took care of the plants. The plants simply adapted too adeptly to their drab surroundings. So they would get replaced and the cycle would just continue.
What made me think about this place (it hasn’t crossed my mind in years) was a conversation I overheard while riding an elevator with two strangers. Clearly these strangers knew each other and didn’t seem to care about what they said in front of me. Both of them were talking about their jobs and how they hated going to them, they hated every minute they were at their jobs. Basically these two people lived for quitting time and any time that wasn’t spent in their working environments. On of the people went so far as to say that her Sundays are ruined just by the mere fact that the next day she must go back to her job.
Sometimes when things get too drab or too whatever for you, you need to find a new location. If you don’t you may find yourself like those poor plants, being replaced once you’ve become all shriveled up and dead. I wanted to tell these strangers that time is precious and spending so much of it hating something that passionately must lead to a drab existence. I wanted to tell them it’s no worth the energy and effort they spend in being unhappy, instead they should channel that energy into something else, something that brings that some pep and a pop of color. Life is far too short to be angry and bitter, besides we all have enough negative things to deal with now and then, why have more of it in your life?
The four-footed one decided today was good for nothing more than resting. She wasn’t really interested in going for any of her usual walks, playing with her toys or seeking out a new adventure. It may be because she has found a favorite blanket.
Yesterday I was given a nice, micro fleece blanket as a gift. I brought my gift home and tossed it on a chair, planning to move it later on. The four-footed one had other plans. First she sniffed the new item. After a few sniffs she planned on testing it. For softness and comfort. And somehow that testing plan resulted in a whole day of quality control work on her part.
Yes it’s true dear friends, my four-footed friend, in the name of ensuring I’d have maximum comfort sacrificed a whole day to rigorously testing out my new blanket. The one I haven’t been able to touch since putting it on the chair. Which I guess is the sacrifice I made. Which in light of all she has given up today (walks, playing with her toys, adventures, running around the house and barking at anyone who dares to come near the house) seems like nothing. Except it’s my blanket and I haven’t even got to use it yet!
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark according to Marcellus in Hamlet’s First Act, Scene 4. And while I cannot speak about the state of Denmark specifically, it would appear that something is wrong in the state of my house. Oh not the house itself. It appears to be holding up just fine. However, there is something very strange afoot within the structure. And I cannot put my finger on exactly how the rot is happening. You see dear friends, I try to never run out of coffee in the house. Being out of coffee is a bit like a disaster on the most global of scales for me. (Let’s face it, I don’t even like myself when I don’t have coffee.)
The past few days I have “restocked” the kitchen with coffee from the pantry only to find that by the next morning the entire restock needs to be, well, replenished. Again. The four-footed one does not drink coffee, although not for lack of trying on her part. That leaves only two humans in the house, Beloved and I. I have one cup of coffee in the morning before I head out. When I’m out of the house I will have more coffee, but that’s out and not using the supplies in the house. If Beloved is out he does the same thing. If I am home I will have another one or two cups in the morning followed by one or two cups in the afternoon. I typically have a cup of coffee after my evening meal as well. Beloved swears he doesn’t consume as much coffee throughout the day as I do. So, over the past few days he is the only one home all day and yet, and yet, the coffee supply has been depleted more than if I had been home all day.
For the record Beloved also states that he does not touch the coffee supply, as in he does not put things back in the pantry if he feels we have too much in the kitchen. (If he were doing so, it should be noted that he is not placing it back in the original location.) So something seriously rotten is afoot within my abode. And I do not like it. Not one little bit.. I am, in fact, close to throwing a fit! I am tempted, yes tempted indeed, to set up little cameras and see what is happening with my coffee supplies. Beloved, of course, has decided the action I wish to take is crazy. He also thinks I am forgetting what day I actually replenished the coffee. In other words he thinks I am imagining this whole thing. Except there is that minor detail. Just a small one really. About the missing coffee that is not being found anywhere else in the house.
So if anyone can spare some time to find what is rotten and afoot within my house I would greatly appreciate it. After this is solved I will send the person(s) back to dealing with the state of Denmark for Marcellus. And yes, in case you are wondering, this coffee thing is a major offense, and the ultimate punishment should be inflicted upon the offender.
We humans are creatures of habits. We like consistency or at least routine. Even those of us who claim we don’t, we do. Want the proof, simply take away a standard routine in your day and see what happens.
Allow me to share, every Monday I receive a motivating and/or uplifting practice to try. Yep believe it or I do try to add positivity and motivation into my life; having an unrelenting chronic illness can leave you feeling negative and unmotivated. Anyway every Monday I get one of these emails in my inbox. I look forward to these emails even if all I do sometimes is just read the email.
Yesterday I received an email stating that author of these wonderful things is taking a break for four months. Of course she is entitled to a break, but suddenly I’m unhappy. Not because she is taking a break and not because I am applying everything in each email. Nope that is not what makes me unhappy, instead it is this sense of being set adrift with no directions to follow.
My routine, those moments I spend reading the email and contemplating applying the information, is suddenly been messed with. It’s not a big deal and I’m already over it, but let’s face it, when someone takes our usual parking spot, it darkens our day a little. You have a favorite spot for your yoga mat and someone else takes it, well even if you won’t admit it to anyone else, it sucks. Why because your routine, those moments of consistency and dependable results are somehow soothing.
The four-footed one has changed up her routine. Not because of anything we have done, this is all her. Unfortunately the routine she is altering up is her pre-bedtime routine. We use to have calm time before we went to bed.
Now we have insane wild time and then impossible tasks such as settling down for sleep. Instead the bedroom has become a play place and bed seems to be where we go crazy rather than find a comfortable place to flop down and sleep.
Speaking of sleep, who needs a rooster with the four-footed one around. She has decided getting up an hour before sunrise is ideal. And as for falling asleep, let’s not do that before midnight. Of course she naps during the day and for whatever while she is a light sleeper at night, during the day a bomb could go off and it wouldn’t wake her up.
She will, no doubt, change this routine again. Hopefully soon. And hopefully back to sleeping during the night because there is only so much you can ignore when it comes to being smacked with a paw before you have to get out of bed and deal with it. And once you get out of bed for some reason she thinks this means chase throughout the house.
How on earth do parents deal with messed up baby sleeping patterns for months on end? And the four-footed one is only one small dog.
Five or six mornings a week I go for a long walk around sunrise. The four-footed one was less than thrilled when I started this routine, but she seems to enjoy the different smells that are present this time of day. I secretly think she enjoys the fact that the birds are a bit more sluggish and therefore easier to chase at this early hour!
I enjoy the stillness of human activity while we walk. A lot of mornings the only sounds and beings we encounter comes in the form of birds, squirrels and such. People on bikes or driving cars form the last part of the scene, the portion where we are almost home. This sudden onslaught of people reminds me just how noisy humans are.
Most mornings I look forward to reaching certain points on our walk so I can take pictures of what nature generously shares with me. However some mornings I don’t look forward to these pauses the same way.
Some mornings I see each of these stopping points as a goal to reach. On these mornings I don’t measure the walk as whole, instead break it up into se stopping points and remind myself that if I really cannot do it, I only have from the stopping point to home rather than the full walk. I try to not have too many of these mornings because they mean pain, stiffness, exhaustion and all the other fun things that come with a case of flaring lupus.
On a few of these lupus mornings, I cannot even enjoy what nature provides, I can only focus on one foot in front of the other. Thankfully those morning are few and far between. Unfortunately the mornings where I can ignore my health and focus solely on nature are never as many as I wish for. But each morning is a new opportunity.