A dozen habits that work for me
I keep an open bag of baby carrots on my kitchen counter. I snack on them constantly throughout the day without even trying. After a couple of days, it’ll be down to the last 10 or so, and they’re all dried out, so I throw them away. My snacking impulse is strong and I hope to overcome it one day, but in the meantime I’m going through at least half a pound of raw carrots per day. Fiber.
It isn’t the Dark Ages anymore so I use a toilet stool and those wet, flushable buttwipes. (I like Cottonelle™ but I’m still trying out different brands.)
I minimize media exposure. The wall of TVs at the gym sure is enticing...all those news headlines and talking heads and flashy advertisements and other attention bait… But it’s just so very costly in subtle and pernicious ways. And I regard Twitter the way Odysseus regards the Sirens—willpower is not enough, I have to maintain distance and/or mastbinding. I could say a lot more, but this stuff deserves its own post.
I maintain a list of ways I disagree with the public thinkers I follow. I also write down my most controversial beliefs on paper and then burn the paper. I find that this makes me moderately better at thinking for myself.
I try to buy deserts that have built-in delays of gratification. Mostly this means frozen pastries and cookie dough (I never developed the taste for raw cookie dough). Also, I only bake 2 or 3 at a time. If I really want more than that, I can bake a couple more.
I go out for walks a lot. It’s just good.
I try to think verbally about something for a few minutes every day, and for 30+ minutes at least once per week. Sometimes this is journaling, but usually it’s thinking out loud (especially when out for a walk). I’ll do Leverage-style belief reporting, or just a stream of consciousness monologue. Indispensable for relieving mental constipation.
I keep chewing gum on hand and I chew it after eating something sugary.
I set a really low bar for my meditation practice.
If I don’t think I’ll need my phone for something, I don’t bring it with me. This has backfired a couple of times, but so far the freedom feels worthwhile overall (especially when out for a walk).
I was persuaded by The Checklist Manifesto. I consult a checklist every time I do laundry, go to work, leave work, or go to the gym.
I have found that nasal strips and comfortable earplugs increase my sleep quality more than anything else I can easily control.