What do you do when you're trying to change something about yourself?
I'm trying to cut back on the amount of time I spent in front of the computer. I asked Superman what he thought and if he had any suggestions for me and he said he'd think about it. He hasn't gotten back to me. He is generally in the "well if you know what's wrong then just CHANGE it" camp when it comes to things like this. Problem = A. Solution = B. Do B. Yes, that is logical. I tend to think that way too and then berate myself when I lack the strength or will-power or awareness to always always ALWAYS do B.
I tried that with computer time. I find it's more complicated. Computer time is my "me time" too - it's part of how I relax and refuel. This website is a good example of that. However, there needs to be a better balance because what I'm doing now sure isn't working to my advantage. There are days when I don't really need the computer at all and there are days when I'm using it literally every hour - but for legitimate non-time-wasting things. It's the time-wasting I'm wanting to cut back on. It's a deeply ingrained habit that I'm not always conscious I'm doing. I'll sit down at the computer to pay a bill or to Google something (what ever DID our parents do without all-knowing Google?! Talk to people?!? Like in real life?!?) and before I know it I've also checked Twitter, replied to someone on Twitter, read my email, sent a long reply to one or more people, see if anyone's left me notes, scanned my Facebook home page to see if there are any new pictures or statuses to comment on, read through my RSS feed and then - boom - nap time is completely used up. There went all my time to be ultra-productive without a little person needing me or following me around 'helping.' There also usually goes my good attitude. I spend the rest of the day being grouchy and mad at myself. I'm rushing, trying to catch up and not spending as much time with my daughter as I would have liked and certainly not with the attitude I want to exemplify for her.
I understand everyone has days that don't go well but this should not be the norm. Many days of having an irritated, impatient mother will add up to a memory of a mother who was always irritated and impatient. I do not want K to have that memory. I've nailed superfluous computer time as the culprit. I've recently caught myself looking for even MORE ways to waste time after all the usual avenues have been exhausted. I think this might have something to do with the fact that I'm going to have a baby next month and moving around is becoming more and more physically uncomfortable and exhausting. Sit for a few hours with my feet up? Yes please! Still, I know there are better ways to spend my time and I'm working towards that end.
The only way I know how to change a habit of mine is to make rules for myself that I know will work and then follow them. Easy. This is only marginally successful because I have to REALLY want to change before I make myself follow the rules. If I'm not whole-hearted in my effort I'm the first (and in this case only!) one to break the rule. I made the rule so I should get to break it, right? Told you my self-control is pathetic. Accountability seems to be a big key to changing things, too. That's when someone ELSE holds you to following through with the rule and you're not free to just shrug and break it, unless you're also cool with shrugging to your accountability partner in which case they would probably shrug right back at you and tell you to call them when you're ready to be serious. Regardless of who I'm shrugging to, shrugging seems to indicate a person that's unwilling to change, doesn't it?
Imagining K with a memory of a mother who spent too much time staring at a computer screen while she grew up is enough motivation for me to just close the laptop already. I've been doing a lot better over the past few weeks and it shows in all the other things I've been able to accomplish. I'm bad at balance and moderation. I think having kids has helped me learn to be better about those things. I am by nature an extremist. A perfectionist. Either I do it perfectly or it doesn't get done or I do it imperfectly and therefore FAIL. Wouldn't you know that you can't "do" kids perfectly?!?! Nor do children care one iota about your perfect plan, whether or not it even includes them. Parenting has been eyeopening to say the least. I do know that no amount of computer time can make up for being there for this:
What ways have you found to effectively bring about permanent (emphasis on permanent, or at least mostly so) change in your life? Have you broken any bad habits? How did you do it? Were there steps? A process? What was the most difficult part for you?
I'm all ears.