Habits Die Hard

Can I just say that breaking a bad habit is extremely difficult? I mean, someone agrees with that… right? Well, I have developed a lot of bad habits. I say that out of honesty to myself and to you guys. As I was fasting last week, which I will share that experience with you in a post to come I realized something.  I have a lot of bad habits! But before I dive into that let me take you on a flashback.

Growing up I was a sports fanatic. I tried everything – running, basketball, softball, gymnastics, cheerleading, volleyball (which I am horrendous at), tennis. I stuck with Gymnastics for about 6-7 years and cheerleading for 13 years. During this times I had good habits, it was pre-Facebook/Instagram/Twittter/Snapchat time and I was not allowed to have a MySpace. I had a little 12-inch screen box TV, and my time was full spent doing extracurricular activities. I was physically active everyday, I never cared for TV or movies, and had no cell phone to spend time on. Eating habits were in the middle of good and bad but cafeteria food is not the best anyways. These were healthy habits.

Then came high school. I don’t remember how all of this went down but I got my first smartphone, the HTC Evo 3D and it has gone downhill from that. All of a sudden in my 3 years of high school, I had a smartphone (eventually upgrading to a Galaxy S3), a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, a new game system, a bigger TV, a Netflix account, and a growing collection of movies. Due to a knee injury I was no longer doing cheerleading and I rarely got exercise, even more so after I graduated. Now I find myself glued to the safety and warmness of my bed, my eyes fixated on a TV while occasionally playing on my Kindle and jumping onto social media. I get bored, I get on Facebook or play a phone game. I spend my extra time doing nothing. Even when classes are going on, I have to battle with myself to overcome my desire to binge watch some show on Netflix. It seems so fast that all of this happened, but the bad habits are easier. Good habits are hard. What happened?

Well, I could answer that questions a million ways, pinpointing excuses – electronics, the ease of access to TV shows, a constant growing list of must watches that friends recommended, and it goes on.  But I am the problem. I have grown to love my 32-inch screen more than a 360 view I encounter when I have to put the effort into doing something else. It is easier to just fix my eyes on something and stay in that state. So, how do you break old habits?

Well.. I am not a good person to ask because I have absolutely no idea but I am working on it. They have become addictions – my TV and Facebook. So that brings me to this: last week on my fast I gave up food, social media, and pointless TV. I watched the first part of The Bible series but that was all I watched. It was so much easier than expected when I took the shortcuts off of my home screen. Opening the Bible app became 2nd nature to me when I got bored. I replaced Facebook with the Bible and it was grand. Five days without Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, and I did it. It was easy. Until..

My fast ended.

On Saturday.

Just like that, I had access again.

“I am just going to check notifications, 5 minutes,” I tell myself. I click the little blue icon, check the 22 notifications and then what was probably 15-30 minutes later I get off after scrolling through my news feed. It is now Wednesday and I wish I could say I have had one day where I did not spend more then 1 hour on Facebook, but I can’t say that. So, again I ask, what happened?

I happened. Me. It was so easy to go back to reading pointless posts, articles shared, comedic or serious videos that filter through my news feed. It was easy to fall back into the habit I had developed long before the fast. So here I go again, trying to defeat a habit. I could make it simple, delete Facebook. But I do like to keep my long distance family and friends updated with my life and stay up to date with theirs. Now I explore how to break away from the grips that I have found myself in.

Then I come to the TV. Saturday was a lazy day for me, so I played Pitfall on the GameCube and watched A.D. The Bible Continues since I had not watched it yet. Sunday I went to church, came home and continued the series. Monday I finished the series. Tuesday night I had class and when I got home, did my devotional, etc. I did not turn on my TV because it was time for me to go to sleep. So that brings me to tonight. Tonight I have homework calling, so I test to see if I can stay away from the habit of switching my TV on and forgetting my responsibilities. We will see how well that works.

Next comes eating habits. I have ate more fruit since Saturday then I probably did in the entirety of last year, or I have come close to it. And I have been craving a pizza with extra cheese and meat topped with Parmesan. But I have yet to succumb to this, I have continued a healthy diet but what happens when I am back to normal as far as eating. Will the new habits stay? If I try I know I can do it, but I must battle my not so healthy cravings and replace them with healthier foods which is easier said.

I want to develop better habits like I once had. I want to eat healthier, exercise more, spend less time in front of a phone or TV screen. I want them enough to make attempts but not enough to avoid falling back into old habits. So I try to find a balance, a balance of a little bit absent and a little bit present, mixing old and new. I will figure out a way to do this, and once (and if) I do, I will be more than happy to share that with you. In the meantime, any advice on breaking old habits that die hard?

P.S. The GameCube is pretty much my favorite system. I have a N64, a PS2, and an X-Box 360, but The GameCube will always be my favorite.

Last Week of Freedom

This is my last week of freedom. Freedom from school to be more specific! And along with that comes freedom from assignments, forced reading, mandatory nights that I have to show up to class. I have had a total of 5 weeks off of school and I have enjoyed what I have been able to do when I am not in class. Such as reading, writing, and enjoying less stressful days. I went back to work last week but my schedule will soon be:

Monday-Friday: Work from 8-5

Monday: Class from 7-10

Tuesday: Class from 5:40-6:55

Thursday: Class from 5:40-6:55

Friday: Errand night – grocery shopping, and any errands that need to be done

This doesn’t include church events and Sundays, as well as an abundance of homework. Not to mention I want to fit in a discipleship group somewhere in the midst of that schedule. But I only have 4 semesters left til I graduate so *YAY*

If you are wondering what classes I am taking, I am taking Biology and Biology lab (I put science off until the last minute, I am not a science person), Public Messages, Dark Side of Communications (I am super excited for this one), and my senior seminar.

I am spending this week, my last week of freedom, doing a church-wide fast. My first fast ever and I am on day 2 out of 5 and so far so good. Not only am I doing a fast from food, I am also doing a fast from social media and spending the week listening to only Christian music and I am watching The Bible series just to have a week filled with Jesus. I do this to not only spend the week in prayer for my church, pastor, Every Nation, but I also do this for some Spiritual renewal. After the hectic-ness of last year I am enjoying this time to just breathe and be surrounded by God’s peace and presence so that I can get my mind clear and ready for what’s to come this year.

So this goes out to my last week of a school-free life because I won’t have another break until December. College is great and all, but I have to admit I am so TIRED of school. School for 13 years, then higher education for 4 years, and that does not include time to get Masters/Doctors/etc. I plan to get my masters but I am taking a year off before I do that. I also don’t plan on going further than my masters but plans change so we will see. So to all of those college kids out there, I wish you the best on the semester(s) to come, and if you are near to graduation just keep pushing through.

Moolah and Materials

Money, money, money. Let’s get real, most of us are either great with handling money or we aren’t and I have met very few people in the middle ground of being somewhat good and somewhat bad with money. Me? Yeah I am in that middle ground. I go on streaks where I am great, I pay my bills with almost no extra spending. I don’t make much anyways so I don’t have a lot of money. Then I have times where my money is gone before I even get it because sometimes I buy very useless items that in the long run bring me no value or special meaning whatsoever. But I HAVE TO HAVE IT!

DONT spend money.

SPEND money.

I NEED that

I WANT that.

SALES! Well, now I HAVE to get it.

If you ask me what I think of money, it is just green paper. I mean I have green paper at the office I work at and it isn’t that special. At the same time I know how important money is – to pay bills, eat, and keep a roof on your head – it almost becomes a necessity, right?

Nonetheless, as a 20 year old I try to find the sweet spot – not spending too much but still allowing myself to buy a new book, or a movie, or a soft blanket. Just something small that I can enjoy. Sounds easy, but for some reason if I aim to buy 1 book I buy 14 (I speak out of my experience last weekend) and if I am to buy 1 shirt it turns into 4 (also out of my experience last weekend). And then I go two or three weeks without spending anything. I see the receipt and because of sales I saved $84.00 dollars and *BOOM* my spending is justified.

My theory is when I die, I won’t die rich or poor because of the amount in my bank account or the materials I possess in my house. I will die rich or poor based on the things I did, the love I shared, and the people I helped and influenced. I am rich in God’s love and to me that is the best form of payment. This theory is partially why, at times I can be irresponsible with money because it is just money. At the same time I have had this thought for the longest time and still keep buying stuff.  So this year, I am going to spend less and do more.

I tried getting the spending out of my system. On the last day of December I bought 14 books (happily so a gift card paid for half of those) and I bought some new workout clothes (all paid for by a gift card except $2.00). Point being though I am going to spend my money to go on mission trips and travel and to touch other peoples lives. I have, somewhere along the line, become lazy and too materialistic and it happens to a lot of us. It’s fine to read a book and watch a movie or TV show but it should not be what a person does all night and every night all year, which is what I started doing aside from grocery shopping on Friday night.

This is a hard habit to break but as I take on the challenge of doing things that scare me, part of that challenge includes to stop doing nothing and start doing something, anything. So as I enter the year, I hope to spend less on materials, except my Friday night dinner with my brother and my Sunday lunch with friends after church. These are wonderful memories I make. But I will spend less on movies and books, I will stop saying “I HAVE to have that” because in reality I don’t. Instead I hope to say, “That would be great to have, but I have lived and can live without it” and that money will be best put to other things.

I try this knowing that I will struggle greatly with it. I try this knowing I will fail a few times but I will try again, and again, and again.

 

New Year, Old Year

Okay guys… let me be the first to say… I FAILED at blogging last year. Ha! I could make excuses like I got caught up in schoolwork or personal stuff but I am not going to do that. In light of being honest, I kept putting it off and then I never got around to that. So here I go.. I am trying for round 2 of this! I will probable fail again but I am going to keep attempting because I want to blog regularly. So lets try this again…

So here is my 2016 in review:

  • My dad died January 20th. It made for some tough holidays but I can’t believe its almost been a year since his passing.
  • My lawyer for my dads estate died sometime in February.
  • My parents truck got repoed and they almost got evicted… twice.
  • Our water heater broke….
  • Our faucet broke so thanksgiving we used paper plates, huzzah! P.S. sorry environment…
  • My Dad’s Estate has been a pain to take care of.
  • I finished another 3 semesters of college and was in school for 48 weeks straight before I had a break. Boy was I ready for that break.
  • I got engaged to my boyfriend of 3 years in November
  • In December I called off the engagement and ended the relationship. Do you know how sometimes you just realize something isn’t meant to be? Yeah, I had that realization.

So with all of that being said, I have to say I am a big fan of resolutions, but for me they are more like goals. I am not a “new year, new me” person but more like new goals for a new year and to strive for more things and try to be a better person because I can always improve on myself. In light of that let me share my 2017 goals with all of you.

  • First and foremost, I will read the entire Bible this year since there is a handful of books I have not read. It is important to note that this has been my goal for 3 years now and I have yet to accomplish it. The first year I tried, I couldn’t get through parts of the Old Testament so I gave up. The next year I kept up with it until about April. Last year I did well up until July. This year I have a new way to go into it so lets see if that works. So far I am on day 3 and I am loving it! This also goes to say I plan on doing a lot of spiritual growth this year.
  • Secondly, I am going to do things that scare me. Which almost seems to be everything. I miss being a kid when I dived headfirst without worry about everything else. So I am going to learn to be alone, I am also going to learn to be a part of new groups. I applied for a mission trip, I applied for a summer job in Minnesota (note that I live in Texas), and I am just going to go headfirst into this year and get out of my head.
  • Thirdly, I am going to read more. Last year, I read NO books for my pleasure but I read around 10 500-600 page college textbooks. But that is not leisurely, trust me. I read a post that said, “You are thrown into the world of the last book you read, would you survive?” The last book I read was Crisis Communication and Intro to Geology
  • Fourth, I am going to attempt to blog more. Easier said than done, but it is a goal.
  • Fifthly, I want to be healthier. Gyms scare me to be honest, so I am going to take baby steps to getting to this point. Since I work for 9 hours and in a couple of weeks have night classes 3 days a week I am going to try to fit in some workout time in the mornings. In light of this I am spending this week and next week getting my sleep schedule adjusted – which is hard for an insomniac. So bedtime at 10 and wake up at 6. Today I woke up at 6:15 not too shabby, but I also went to sleep at 11:30 after lying in bed for an hour and a half. I gave in and took my medicine which  I try to avoid doing but I was desperate and just wanted to go to sleep. After this couple of weeks I will start easy with some in-home yoga and workouts and I will build up to going to the gym as well as eating healthier after my church-wide fast next week.
  • And for some smaller things I plan on doing:
    • Write more, just some short stories, nothing big or overwhelming
    • Be a better listener, friend, and daughter
    • Learn to crochet
    • Finish unfinished projects
    • Start learning another language
    • Join a Discipleship group or Bible Study.

This are the biggies. I am taking baby steps. I have learned the hard way to not overwhelm myself by just jumping right into everything. I just give up when I do that so I am building up to them and they don’t all have to begin this month. Some of them I won’t get around to until later parts of the year and that’s okay. So I start this year with a clear mind, open to all the possibilities around me. Here is to 2017.