Two weeks to build a habit

You know the pop-psych adage that says that it takes doing something for two week to make something a habit?  Well…

I was on a total roll before the holidays.  I’d up (around 7 AM), use the facilities, then pop water in the microwave for tea, and unload the dishwasher while it heated.  Then I’d pop my tea bag in and RE-load the dishwasher while it steeped, then put my sugar and milk in my tea and run a load of wash while it cooled down to a reasonable temperature.

Then I’d sit down with my cup of tea and my email and feel very smug that I’d gotten so much done in just the first ten minutes of my day.  Wanting to feel ever more self-congratulatory, I’d keep up the sprints of work and play all day long, and get one heck of a lot done.

If you followed that link (or know your geek memes), you’ll already know where this is going…

See, the thing is that I don’t GET to do that uber-productive ten minutes at the start of every day.   Some days I have a wicked headache first thing in the morning, or a kid pukes upon waking, or Buddy demands that I come back to bed for more ums, and my water sits cooling in the microwave until 10 AM or so. (Don’t even ask me about the two weeks we were away over the holidays.  Oi.)  Days that get off to a scattered start aren’t unrecoverable, but WOW is it a lot easier to power through my to-do list when I hit the ground running.

So here are the questions: How long do you have to do something for it to become a habit if your get thrown off track at least once every few days?  Can you take vacations (of any duration) without having to start all over again?  Are such vacations from routine important?  Since parenting (esp if you basically unschool) can be a pretty chaotic undertaking, is trying to form proactive daily habits a Sisyphean undertaking?  Is it worth it anyway?  When does trying to create and follow a routine counterproductive to a fluid family life?

What are some of your ideas?  What routines do you follow, and why?  Did you form them on purpose, and, if so, how long did it take you to do so?  Are there any downsides to having them?   Do you think that being mindful of your habits, deliberate and accidental, positive and negative, can help you make yourself a happier parent/partner/person?



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