Intrigued by Habits

I’ve always found a person’s habits intriguing. So much of our personality is wrapped in the automated quirks of our daily lives. Whether a response to unpleasant stimuli or purposeful intent, they are there reminding us of past experiences, pre-defining our future behavior, and making us comfortable with the decisions we are about to make.

With that in mind, I invite you reader to diagnose 10 of my habits and what they say about me:

1. Addicted to seasonal candy. This is an odd one, for sure, but I am hoping I am not alone. Every season my tastebuds tire of last season’s sweets and yearns for the new crop of marketed goods. At the end of summer, I look forward to candy corn and peanuts. By the time Halloween rolled around this year, I had a bag of orange colored KitKats in the fridge. When Spring enters the stage, my mouth wants nothing less than the Whoppers Robin Eggs.

So I think what is going on here is a condition that has plagued mankind from the dawn of creation. Simply put, we crave what we can not have. My body is just preparing for this disappointment of not being able to have the temporary treat all year long.

2. I take showers in the dark. Ok, I admit this is weird. The reason I prefer the lights off is because I like to meditate and pray in the shower. I feel less distracted.

3. I associate drinks with the food I am eating. For instance, if I am going to eat pizza or a burrito, I want a soda to go with it. I almost always pass up a cookie if there is no milk (unless I’m really hungry). Tea and salads were made for each other.

The driving force behind this is digestion. I feel better when I drink a soda with pizza than if I were to have water, milk, or tea.

4. I love task lists. It’s more than just having things in order. It is about making sure I don’t miss something. Having a central location to gather my thoughts. It’s a journal of past accomplishments and an opportunity for miniature celebrations through out my day. The task list is a reference point for accountability. Was I productive? Did I focus? Did I manage my time wisely?

5. I clean when I argue with my wife. I’m not talking about breaking out the vacuum or going to town with the mop. Rather, I start picking up around the room, taking dishes to the sink, or straightening the items on the end table. Not sure why I do this.

6. I clean before I play. Unless I am really tired or my back is giving me problems, I will often pick up the room before I play with the kids. At first glance, this seems like a good habit. But, it’s a double edged sword. I can’t relax in a “dirty” room. If someone’s shoes are out or if there is a stuffed animal on the couch, I can’t relax.

This comes from some old wounds, baggage that I carried from my childhood. I was raised in poverty and often found my solitude in having a very clean room. This carried over into my adult life and can be troublesome at times.

7. It must be very cold for me to sleep. It’s the strangest thing, but if I lay on my back for any length of time, I become a living furnace. My body becomes so hot that I am miserable.

8. I take breaks at 3 PM. Not sure where this started, but every day at 3 PM, I feel the need to take a break from work. The feeling is so predictable that I can almost set my watch by it.

9. I’ve mastered the power nap. This has been going for as long as I can remember. When (read: if) I lay down for a nap, nine times out of ten, I only need about 20 minutes before I am up and recharged. No grogginess. Just pure ready-to-go-ness. Obviously, I don’t have this luxury at work and so I usually only have 2-3 days out of the week to put this habit into practice. But it works every time. Pretty sure there is something scientific going on here.

10. Facetime Family Time. Not sure that this classifies as either a quirk or a habit. When I am on a business trip, I immediately want to FaceTime the kids and give them a tour of the hotel. It’s one of those times when technology really does increase my quality of life.

So are you up for the challenge? What do these 10 habits say about me?

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2 thoughts on “Intrigued by Habits

  1. Hey Kevin!!

    That’s an interesting list :), I’ll throw one out there. Number five and number six might be connected. You say that you stress about mess, that may have spawned a habit of cleaning whenever you feel stressed in general. You’ve created an association in your mind between stress and the urge to clean. I think I have some habits like that.

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