Powerful Habits

‘Ground Hog Day’ was a movie that dealt with the concept of repetition, waking up each day to the beginning of the same winter day, over and over. The main character began to notice this caught- in- a- loop dilema, and as a result made small changes in choices he made.

So, I’ve been thinking about the nature of repeating habits. Every morning is the same – coffee with reading funnies, stretching, teeth/skin/eye care, make bed, get dressed, plan for meals, quick check of emails, and in studio by 9 am. (probably). The only self imposed variation to this very ordered routine, is that some days I choose to lift the tiny weights over my head eight times and some days twelve times!

It is ridiculous how boring it all is, if I choose to look at it that way. Or, I can see the repeating order as safe, healthy, and wise. The daily habits are good for knee maintanance and also for doing artwork.

Showing up each day to the kitchen and to the studio, also make it possible to create artwork and home cooked meals. Things get done and I feel a sense of accomplishment.

Time Travel to the Park, $250

Even the less sexy tasks like  clipping toenails, and dusting under the bed are part of the necessary routines. Husband Felix is fabulous at keeping the driveway and walks shoveled in winter. I happen to be pretty good at staying abreast of dishes and laundry. I am not as reliable for habits relating to clearing paper piles, calling loved ones, or aerobic exercise.


Felix has recently set up a successful indoor soil sprout production habit. Each day he must water plants in the window, remove some from the dark cupboard, soak seeds for next day, keep his special soil mix supply ready, and plant seeds in mini loaf pans. He devotes about 30 minutes a day to this endeavor. His bible is: Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening by Peter Burke.

soil sprouts 1

I have the pleasure of harvesting the soil sprouts and preparing food with them. I am using salad mix, buckwheat, radish, sunflower, and peas in a variety of invented raw and cooked recipes. Yum. (I would enjoy sharing these, and am frustrated that my readers don’t have the ingredients! Oh Well.)

Soil Sprouts 2

Back to topic – Those boring and powerful habits. The bed time routine started in a timely manner, really does help me go to sleep. Cleaning the studio between projects, really does get me excited about the next project.

The next paragraph provides details about my stretch routine and is really long and boring, so you may choose to skip it.

My sympatico stretch routine has changed bit by bit over time, like that Ground Hog Day movie. It began with Viniyoga Therapy by Gary Kraftsow. Added to this are special strength and stretch exercises that my physical therapy daughter gave me to help my left knee.  Then I incorporated some exercises from Strong Women, Strong Bones by Miriam E. Nelson, PH.D. I modified some moves after reading Prevention & Treatment of Back Pain, Osteoporosis and the Postural Changes of Aging by Sara Meeks, PT, MS, GCS. I also use a rolling pin on my knee for one minute. Lastly, I now do the first 10 minutes of  on-my-back stretches with a warm rice pack over my eyes. This is followed by washing eyes and drops. (This has really helped with my dry old lady living in Wyoming eyes). The warm eye pack has provided a good deal of incentive to even BEGIN the routine. Yeah!

Tossing out the bad habits and introducing new good habits can be a challenge, but is do-able. I am currently trying to drink more water and read more. Pretty easy. Heart pumping, is harder. I may have to try out many incentives and different times of day, to find the perfect mid winter aerobic habit. I’m pretty sure it will all hinge on selecting Latin dance music. And dancing hinges on keeping my left knee working.

Being a productive happy human is far easier when we have powerful habits in place. I wish you well for practicing your music, making a clever grocery list, filling the bird feeder, or whatever you are currently working on!

Blue jeans Day 10.5 X 7 SOLD

Excellent Travel Snack Butternut Pancakes:  Cook 1/3 c. oats and let cool. Add 2 T. each of peanut oil and honey, 2 eggs, 1/2 c. yogurt or buttermilk, and 1 or more c. cooked butternut squash. Use mixer to combine. Add  dry ingredients and stir together – 3/4 c. oat flour, 1/2 t. each b.p., salt, cinnamon, and 1/2 c. of sunflower seeds. Make adjustments to texture by adding water or flour.  Batter is fairly gooey. Place spoonfuls on preheated griddle. Spread batter a little with spoon. Turn when edges start to look firm. Cook well. Enjoy hot or cold, plain or dressed.

3 Responses to Powerful Habits

Johanna Klein

I’ve been thinking a lot about habits and routine lately – little changes at the margin with habits can be very accretive over time. Very interesting post!

Patty Hawkins

Delightful and so wonderful to read! Thanks Joan!
NPR just yesterday talked of writing dowm just three things happening to “ you” or being aware of, also discussed onCBS This Morning, yesterday! Being conscieous of creating small habits as though they are a votr to being a better person! Not procrastinating!
Cheers to that!

Christy Gerrits

Fun insight into your day, so very different from my routine. Love your art work interspersed in it. Would love to try your pancakes, but too much work when packing up for a long trip. ;-(


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