Food is a touchy subject for most of us. We like what we like and we don’t want anyone telling us what we should or shouldn’t eat. This is how I am! I chose to change some of my eating habits based upon seemingly useful scientific research that I read through the years. The change has to come from your own desire. Changes that happen because someone else forced them on you rarely stick long enough to be useful or become a habit. The tips below are meant to be helpful with habits you’ve already chosen to create or change.

+To cut down on sweets: Identify what, how much, and when you’re eating. Choose alternatives that are less-sweet, or pack the sweets into serving sizes instead of eating directly out of the container. If you’re eating out of boredom, decide that you’ll do some other things first before resorting to the snack.

+To eat more vegetables: Prep a week’s worth of raw veggies, and store them in the fridge in an easy-to-grab container. If you decide that you’ll eat veggies with at least one meal a day, that makes it easier. Don’t make it optional. Try different dips (hummus, ranch, etc) to make them more palatable. If you hate the thought of Brussel sprouts because your mom boiled them to mush and didn’t season them, look for recipes that call for roasting or sauteing with different flavor combos. Sometimes you’ll have veggies that just never taste good to you no matter how they’re cooked or seasoned. Don’t force things down that gross you out no matter what, but keep trying others and see if your taste changes to appreciate them.

+To eat fewer snacks: Eat more volume at mealtime. I know when I get busy, it’s easy to just graze for a meal, and then I get hungry sooner and feel like I’m eating all day. With school, I need to focus for long periods without being distracted by hunger. When I plan my meals so I can sit down and have a plate of foods (with plenty of protein), I snack less.


Let me start by saying that I am NOT an expert at meal planning. I love the idea, but as is the case with many ideas, it’s easier said than done. That said, I have recently implemented a new technique that seems like it may work long-term!

+Make a list of your/your family’s favorite mealsResearch has shown that most people cycle through about ten different meals over and over.

+Choose a format to organize themYou may choose to write them in a notebook or planner, or create a table or calendar on the computer where you can change the dates each week.

+Decide which meals you’d like to eat each day of the weekAs an example, we usually eat pork chops for our Sunday dinner (lunch). I use a weekly calendar format , so I put pork chops on Sundays. As you choose which meals you want on each day, keep in mind the difficulty of preparation for each and potential activities that could interfere with cooking.

+Fill out each main dish with sidesTo help you get your mind around meal planning, add in typical side dishes you would eat with those main dishes. These sides are not hard-and-fast rules, but simply ideas (or placeholders).

+How to use the meal planIn the short amount of time I have used this type of plan, I have stuck closely to the main dish entries, but have changed the sides based on what I already had that needed to be eaten. For instance I roasted a pan of Brussel sprouts on Sunday, intending them to be enough for only two meals. There turned out to be enough for three meals, so today’s planned side dish of broccoli got moved to tomorrow’s meal. If you eat out, you can choose to move that skipped meal to the following day, or just move on to the next day’s planned meal and leave each meal on its specific day.

+Add notes to your planIf you’re anything like me, you often forget to remove food from the freezer so it has sufficient time to thaw before cooking. Make notes on your meal plan that remind you to remove frozen items far enough ahead of time. For example, I buy the six-pack of 1-lb chicken pieces from Costco, and freeze them. I do chicken on Tuesdays, so on Sunday I have a note to move a chicken pack from the freezer to the fridge.

+Make your meal plan work for you! After you’ve gotten in the habit of working through your weekly meal plan, you can start changing it up a bit each week to your preference. If you (or your kids) feel especially industrious in the kitchen, you could have one day per week marked as “new recipe day” or whatever suits you. The point of starting with the above plan is to help you get your mind into the habit of planning. I no longer feel anxiety over mealtimes, and am able to focus better on my daily tasks because of that!

Let me know if you use a meal plan, and how you made it work for you!

In my opinion, the bedroom should be your sanctuary. It should be a place where you can go to relax, feel safe, and have privacy. Clutter, by definition, is stress-inducing. It also collects dust, dirt, bugs, and pet hair. Here are a few tips to help you keep your bedroom peaceful and relaxing.

+Make your bedMake your bed every day without fail. A made bed adds a peaceful note to the entire bedroom, and sets the tone for your day. Do not use your bed as a dumping ground for “stuff” unless it’s just a very temporary spot for laundry or other things that you’re putting away.

+Keep knick-knacks to a minimumAs I’ve said before, I’m not a minimalist, but I appreciate some aspects of the practice. Knick-knacks are terrible dust collectors, and make the dusting process tedious and frustrating. Choose 3-4 favorite things and pack the rest away safely in a box. Every few months, rotate the decorations so you can enjoy the memories each piece brings.

+Minimize clothing volumeMost people have a lot more clothing than they need, and often more than they will ever wear. Make a practice of going through your clothing each time the seasons change and donating things you haven’t worn in a long time. I just went through some of my older clothing today and pulled out things that I either hadn’t worn in awhile, or that I didn’t really like for some reason. Do the same for your kids, and teach them this habit while they’re young.

+Keep your bedside table cleanThere is nothing more frustrating than trying to find something in the clutter on your bedside table in dim light or darkness. You either end up knocking things off and making a racket that disturbs others, or you have to turn the light on and then your spouse gets awakened. Keep the bedside table restricted to a light source of some kind, phone charger if you need it, and maybe some water and lip balm. One book you’re currently reading is fine too, but don’t stack books. It is very reassuring to me to know where everything is on my bedside table, and I can grab it without turning a light on.

+Keep the bathroom neatIf you have a lot of makeup or hair “stuff” you need to use, make use of some type of organizing container or drawer organizers. Don’t spread all of your things all over the bathroom countertop and then leave them there. That’s a recipe for stress! Take out only what you need for the day, and then put it away when you’re done. Decide whether you need all those different kinds of makeup and/or hair items, and at least go through everything every few months and get rid of what you haven’t used or don’t like. For the shower, you can get organizers that hang around the neck of the shower head and hold soap and shampoo. Keeping those things off the sides of the tub and shower will ensure your bathing area is free from tripping hazards and that it’s easy to grab the things you need while in the shower.

+Laundry tipsConsider how often you do laundry. Can you change some of your habits and do it less-often? Bathing towels don’t need to be washed after every use: you’ve just bathed when you used them, right? The same goes for hand towels. If you’re washing your hands with soap, they’re clean when you dry them. I realize that if you have children, they make all kids of messes and may not always bathe or wash their hands like they’re supposed to. In that case, you do what you need to do! Jeans don’t need to be washed often unless you’re doing farm work every day. If your laundry load isn’t very heavy, consider choosing one day per week to do laundry so you can get it out of the way all at once.

Whether forgetfulness has been a lifelong issue, or if it’s just a bad habit you learned at some point, it’s very frustrating when you try to work your way out of it. Here are a few tips I have learned that are helping me as I work my way around my lifelong forgetfulness.

+Sticky NotesKeep sticky notes and a pencil on your desk, bedside table, or even in your bathroom. These are invaluable for jotting down quick notes when you’re busy. Don’t always try to make notes on your phone – the act of actually writing the note helps your memory. My mind wanders terribly while I’m studying, because literally anything else is more interesting! I grab a sticky note, write down the word or sentence I want to remember, then go right back to studies. It frees my mind to continue learning to focus on what’s important at the moment.

+Timers and StopwatchesWhen I have a task I need to do, my mind often wanders before I realize it, and the task ends up taking a lot longer than it should. I will often set a timer for X amount of time and tell myself “You must do this (usually study) for this amount of time.” Other times I will say “See how many tasks (usually housework) you can do in X amount of time.” These cues make the tasks a little more fun because then I have a goal to focus on (beating the clock). Occasionally I will reward myself at the end with something I enjoy if the task is especially noxious to me. 🙂

+Don’t MultitaskMultitasking has been repeatedly shown to reduce productivity in the workplace and in students. If you are doing something mindless (such as exercise or folding laundry), then definitely listen to music or a podcast to help pass the time. However, with tasks that require memory or comprehension, it is best to keep things quiet. While it may be tempting to use the TV as background noise, it’s probably doing more harm than good while you or your child study. Some people say they can focus better with certain types of music – this is debatable, so use it judiciously and be willing to shut off all potential distractions if needed.

+Tidy Your HouseKeep your home neat and clean, and be sure that important things have their own dedicated space. A cluttered house makes it easy to lose things. If you’re always losing your keys, make a little place for them in a safe, yet memorable location.

Exercise is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Most people, young and old, sit too much every day, and current health statistics reflect this negative habit. I am certainly not an expert on exercise, but in keeping with my desire to create good habits in my life, I have learned a few tricks to help me be consistent with it. This post is not about different types of exercise, but simply about creating the habit of exercising.

+Exercise at the same time every day: Consistency is key when implementing habits. When first starting out with your personal exercise program, try doing it at different times of day (around your regular schedule) to see what works best. A note of caution: I discovered the hard way that cardio hypes me up. I exercised one evening and couldn’t fall asleep for several hours afterward.

+Change your mindset about exercise: If you’re like most people, you probably think of exercise as a necessary evil. Let me encourage you to think of it as an investment in yourself. The health benefits you will gain from consistent exercise will serve you long after you retire from that wonderful job you love, or your kids have left the nest. For myself , I had to decide that I would exercise every day. When I was exercising every other day, I would often talk myself out of exercising because I could “just do it the next day”. I had to stop making excuses for myself and decide I was just going to do it every day.

+Exercise should make you feel your muscles: One of the most important parts of exercising is strengthening your muscles. This doesn’t mean you want to be a bodybuilder, it just means you should feel your muscles after your exercise, and it’s OK if they ache a bit.

+Make the exercise session fun in some way: Listen to an audiobook, music, or a favorite podcast (my favorites are listed below) to keep your mind occupied, or turn on an interesting video. If you use a treadmill or exercise bicycle, face it towards a window if possible so you can have some natural light and maybe even see some scenery or wildlife.

+Tailor the exercise to your needs: If you hate the exercise you’re doing now, change it up. It’s not necessary to do the same thing every day. What you do isn’t as important as doing it.

+Favorite Podcasts: The World and Everything In It ( https://world.wng.org/radio/worldandeverything), and Renewing Your Mind (https://renewingyourmind.org/). I have others I listen to as well, but not regularly.

This blog isn’t about minimalism (though I think certain aspects of that idea can be helpful). Instead, I will give you some ideas for creating good housecleaning habits.

+Make a plan: Create a rough draft first. List the areas you want to clean regularly, and then note where you want to clean each day. Tailor the plan to your own home. If you have a guest bedroom that is only rarely used, you may choose to keep the door closed and only clean in there on an as-needed basis.

+Make sure the plan is realistic: Don’t plan to clean three different rooms in one day. You can do that in an emergency, but it just won’t work in day-to-day life. If your plan isn’t realistic, you won’t stick with it. I will put my housecleaning plan down below as an example.

+Follow the plan consistently: This will be difficult at first, especially if you are like me. I have been tempted every day to “just put that off” because I have lots of good reasons to not do it right then. I am still working on doing a chore on its assigned day, but I do get everything done at some point during the same week. You may think “this can’t be dirty…I JUST cleaned in here X days ago.” The level of dirt is not the point. The point is to get used to following a routine of housecleaning. Be as consistent as possible, and that will reap many rewards in the long run!

+Side note: If you have areas or items in your house that you despise cleaning because it takes so much time, try doing half one day and half on another. Or if you’re grossed out by how dirty something is, clean that item or area more often. Ceiling fans take two minutes to swipe with a microfiber cloth if you clean them every couple of months. Otherwise you will spend 45 minutes with dust flying in your eyes, hating every moment. If you have hairy pets, try to get a vacuum cleaner that works well for pet hair. Otherwise just get some lint rollers to help keep the mess to a minimum. There is nothing more frustrating than housecleaning tools that don’t work well for what you need.

+My housecleaning routine: Monday – Dust/vacuum bedroom. Tuesday – Dust/vacuum den. Wednesday – Dust/vacuum living room/dining room. Thursday – Bathrooms. Friday – Whatever needs doing. Saturday – Laundry [including folding/putting away].

Good Habits = Hard Work

Habits. Bad ones are easy to make and hard to break. Good habits are hard to make, but also hard to break! I’ve listed a few tips below that help me in my “creating good habits” journey. In no particular order:

+Make a list each evening for the next day: Don’t load your list with 37 huge tasks; you can’t do all that in a day. Instead, try to keep your list to five items or less. The list is not the point. The point is that you’re learning to follow through with what you wanted to do.

+Plan meals, even if it’s only a day or two ahead. I have had a terrible time being consistent with this, but it feels really good to have the plan in place. You could even add the next day’s meal(s) to the to-do list I mentioned above.

+Choose an area or two in your house to declutter and KEEP decluttered and clean. For me, my two areas are the bedroom and the kitchen. My husband and I both get up at the same time, so we make the bed as soon as we get up. I tidy the kitchen after each meal (which is just swiping crumbs and water drips off the countertops, and ALWAYS getting rid of dirty dishes in the sink). As you get in the habit of keeping those favorite areas organized, you can add other parts of the house.

+Figure out how to make onerous tasks easier. Think about why a particular task is difficult, and break it down to see what you can do to make it faster, easier, cleaner, etc.

+Take regular breaks from screens. Put your phone away for a period of time each day, or resolve not to touch it while a timer is running or whatever. Set special ring and text tones for people whose communications you need to answer immediately, and let the rest wait until later.

+This page is a work in progress, as am I. Personality-wise, I am an introvert who loves calm and quiet, yet I also have almost all the symptoms of ADD! While I’m not opposed to using medication to help, I want to try changing my habits first to see if that helps me be more organized.

Nothing much

Still just playing around with this!