From Resolution To Habit

I’ve read that it takes eighteen days for a behavior to become a habit. Or is it twenty-one days? Whichever it is, if you have been diligent in following your New Year’s resolution(s), you are only hours away from having a shiny new addition to your daily routine.

My main 2016 goal is to throw something out every day. And I don’t mean things that are thrown out in the course of a typical day, like the scrap paper I used to make my shopping list. On day seventeen of the new year, I’m proud to say I’m keeping to my resolution. I don’t know if I’ll come up with 366 items to discard, but I’m going to ride this wave as long as I can.

Since January 1, I’ve tidied two drawers, thrown out a stack of old VHS tapes (am I the only one who still has them?), and started piles of clothes and books to donate to the church thrift shop and the local library. I’ve taken a few trips down memory lane after finding souvenirs from long-ago vacations, letters from pen pals I had when I was in high school, and a box of my college notebooks. Other discoveries make me shake my head.

For example, my recipes’ folders. I’ve amassed quite a collection of recipes from websites, cookbooks, and friends for appetizers, entrées, and desserts. I have repeatedly stuck the sheet of paper I just printed into the folder and never looked at it again. Going through one folder last week, I discovered I had more than a dozen Irish soda bread recipes (for both the inauthentic version that’s loaded with sugar, caraway seeds, and raisins and the traditional soda bread my maternal grandmother learned to bake when she was growing up in Kiltimagh, County Mayo). I kept one recipe and dumped the rest in the garbage can, along with all the recipes for chocolate chip cookies, pound cake, beef bourguignon, and shrimp scampi.

When I set this resolution, I thought it would be a difficult task. Instead, it’s wonderfully fulfilling to clear out and clean up. The kitchen cabinet looks so much better now that I’ve thrown out the baggie filled with Box Tops for Education markers meant for a school that closed two years ago, the town bulk pickup schedule from 2014, and the spray nozzle from a since-replaced kitchen faucet. Plus I found house key duplicates I didn’t know we had during my cleaning session.

I’ve learned that I need to be more mindful of what I tuck on the shelf or stash in the closet. I need to ask myself: Will I watch this dvd again? Is this a book I’ll remember and want to re-read? And do I really need this list of military alphabet codes? Because you know, Jeanne, you can find it on the internet anytime you like.

By the way, have you noticed there are now links at the top of this page for pre-ordering Murder, by George? Just asking.

Have a great week, everyone!

 

I

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