I’ve just finished reading this nice little article about how to break bad habits. I have lots of bad habits. I can’t stop biting my nails, I have an ongoing smoking addiction which even writing my own version of Zeno’s Conscience didn’t fix (even though I wrote about 60,000 words), but by far my worst habit is procrastination.
The trouble with bad habits is we confuse them with things that make up who we are. I would not really be a better person if I had longer nails, and since most smoking is done in secret these days it’s not the glamorous and mysterious thing I thought it was when I started almost 20 years ago. (Argh.)
The big question is though, would I be a better person if I stopped procrastinating? Bearing in mind that it isn’t necessarily procrastination that is the bad habit (although I am sure I hang onto this for a reason), it’s being more disciplined about the things I procrastinate over.
I could get up and go for a swim every morning and still be at my desk for 8.30. I could stop refreshing Twitter and reading other people’s articles and write more of my own. I could do my ironing more regularly so that every month I don’t discover clothes I had forgotten I had (perhaps a sign that I have too many clothes.) I could do more home improvements, starting even with sorting out one of the Troublesome Cupboards.
But I don’t.
What I like about the article is that it takes quite a strategic approach to Being a Better Person. A better me wouldn’t be an olympic-level athlete with an extremely tidy home, she would just feel a bit more in control of her time and feel more like she had a good work-life balance. Recognising that isn’t being too hard on myself. I think it’s a pretty good goal.
Whether I can get up on a regular basis to go to the pool remains to be seen, however.