Saturday, December 4, 2010

Boondocking Habits

Ah — Saturday! My favorite day. . .although it’s cold and windy in Kansas City, and due to get colder (but stay dry) during the weekend.

This morning, I caught myself continuing some behaviors used when boondocking. I’ve started turning off lights when I’m leaving an area [don’t run down the trailer battery], not just a room. And I turned off the water while brushing my teeth last night [conserve fresh water and don’t fill up the gray tank], plus using a glass of water to rinse instead drinking from my hand with the water running. We’re still using a small space heater in the living room instead of turning on the whole-house furnace yet [conserve the propane]. I’ve even got a little electric blanket over me to turn on if my legs and feet feel chilly [don’t need to heat the whole space to be cozy]. Now I consider whether to use water on a reusable sponge [is the fresh water running low?] or use a non-reusable paper towel [how’s the paper towel supply, finances, and shopping probabilities?].

I feel good conserving energy and money. . .so I have more to use for the higher priority items. But habits intrigue me. Whether a person wants to stop a bad habit, establish a good habit, or just adjust an existing habit, it all comes down to having to feel good about it. If you don’t want to give up or start a habit, the change isn’t going to last long. Logic and should seldom have anything to do with habits. 

We all have behaviors we feel we should change (getting up earlier, going to bed earlier, not smoking, stop watching so much television, read more books, not drinking alcohol too much or too often, getting more exercise, eating healthy or staying away from too many desserts, calling our mothers more often, etc, etc).

And no one but ourselves can change a habit, regardless of consequences or threats. Change still has to be because we find something good, nice, or pleasant about stopping an old habit or starting a new habit. Without that positive feedback, it’s just not gona happen.

I’ve been most successful at giving up a bad habit by replacing it with a new, good habit. The replacement habit has to make you happier than the old, bad habit did.

Oh, any time is a good time to change — not just New Year’s Eve resolutions.

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