CAROLE MANDI: Twelve good routines to improve well-being

Saturday January 2 2016

Here’s the thing. I have this one quirky habit

Here’s the thing. I have this one quirky habit that I’m not about to give up. I’ve tried explaining it to my family but they just shake their heads. Photo/FILE 

By CAROLE MANDI
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Here’s the thing. I have this one quirky habit that I’m not about to give up. I’ve tried explaining it to my family but they just shake their heads.

You see, I dunk my toothbrush in a cup of hot water everyday before brushing my teeth. The toothpaste doesn’t go on that toothbrush if it hasn’t hit the cup. Where did that come from, you may wonder.

Well, like most unexplainable behaviour, from watching too much TV.  There was this show about how flushing toilets eject unseen germs into the air. And since I prefer to keep my toothbrush in the

bathroom, completely covered thanks to that show, I didn’t need any convincing after that. The hot cup of water is just extra insurance.

According to researchers, about 40 per cent of our daily activity is habitual. This means we go to sleep at around the same time, use the same route to school or work and engage in some ritualistic activity like brushing our teeth in much the same way. If life is habitual, predictable even, then perhaps so is success and failure. To have a great life, we need to figure out some great habits. Here’s my list of 12  good habits for 2016, one for each month of the year.

Get into the habit of being active. Notice I didn’t say exercising, because exercise can seem like a dirty word, and in reality, it is only one aspect of an active life.

Exercise is something you do three times a week but an activity life is something you do everyday, something as small as taking the stairs instead of the lift, walking instead of using a matatu or doing a house chore like cleaning the floor yourself.

Get into the habit of eating wholesome food, that is eating food that is as close to it’s natural state as possible. Food that doesn’t have additives and hasn’t travelled many miles to land on your table.

Eat fruit in season and vegetables lightly steamed. If in doubt, eat like your grandmother did. And while at it, get into the habit of feeding your mind and soul with inspiring books, great music and beautiful art or scenery.

Get into the habit of thinking positive. Two people can look at one circumstance and walk away with different thoughts on it. The circumstance isn’t different, their perspective is. Life will give each of us

numerous opportunities for negativity. In those moments, may you choose to look up and look on the bright side. And while you are at it, find something to make you laugh at least once every day.

Watch a comedy or follow a comedian. A merry heart is good medicine.

Get into the habit of being more loving. This is not just a warm fuzzy feeling you have inside but something you do to express love for someone else in a way they understand.

Call your mother and thank her for raising you. Listen to your child. Speak your partners love language. Love is as love does.

Get into the habit of investing in people. Go out of your way to meet and get to know people you ordinarily wouldn’t. Here’s a hint — look for people from a different language, culture or faith. Let your

attitude to all people be, “what I can do to make your day or life better?” And while at it, get into the habit of giving back. Your time, money or advice.

Get into the habit of planning. Plan your day, your weekend, your month, your life. Accidents just happen. A life that tickles your soul doesn’t.

Get into the habit of being more organised. Enough said.

Get into the habit of working hard at the job, school or towards your goals. Show up everyday and give that day your best shot.

Get into the habit of being good with money. If you don’t know how, learn, learn, learn. Get into the habit of practicing your faith. Sometimes God can seem so far away but Norman Vincent Peale wrote, “If you return to a practice of faith, faith will return to you”.

Finally, get into the habit of having fun and get into the habit of resting.

Whatever else you do in 2016, get some good habits. Some habits make sense. Some just make you happy. Some