I had always imagined that when I was an adult I would have a rich life of leisure. That leisure time would include thoughtful conversations with friends, hiking, reading, cooking, sewing, art, and writing. Spending countless hours binge-watching Netflix, however, wasn’t what I aspired to. Many people may wonder who has time for cultivating a hobby or perfecting a new skill? Well, I definitely have the time and I know that sometimes it comes down to priorities. I want to spend time on activities that nourish my soul.
Since life doesn’t go as planned, I have spent more time than I would like to admit watching Netflix these past few months. I used it as a way to distract myself from my physical pain. But as my health started to return so did my mental clarity. I no longer felt weighed down all the time. Solving problems didn’t require immense effort and daily tasks became less burdensome as well. As I had mentioned in the post 5 Things I Learned Eating No Refined Sugar, I have been seriously reevaluating my relationship with food. These lessons I learned began to spill over into other areas of my life. Netflix was one of those areas. I believe it was just as vital for my well-being to replace my unhealthy television watching habit, as it was for me to cut out sugar. I would have never imagined the circumstances that would necessitate these lifestyle changes. But, I have found that every step I make towards building a healthier lifestyle has been based on forming new habits.
No matter how I was feeling during a given day I would prioritize prepping healthy meals. Every day I started watching less and less t.v. shows. I began replacing the shows with other things I enjoyed, like Podcasts that challenge me intellectually and listening to peaceful music. It’s amazing, not long after making these changes I was able to relish in the silence of my home and was able to enjoy having time on my own just to think.
Just as I learned what foods really supported my body, I learned what qualities to look for in what I was feeding myself on a daily basis. I try to find stories and articles that speak of beauty and listen to classical music. I’m able to cultivate a peaceful home in the physical space by de-cluttering and discovering what items really do add value to my life. I think about how each object brings beauty into my home or serves some purpose. All of these daily habits, are helping me to form virtues and become my best self. These habits challenge me to the core. It forces me to choose, in the little moments of the day, whether I’m going to move forward with my new habits or let them dwindle.
These habits not only affect how I live my life but also affect how I approach my husband. Now instead of watching Netflix in the evening with William, he helps me learn computer science, or we chat longer about our day or go on evening walks in our neighborhood. When we were engaged we had plans on how we would incorporate our faith into our daily life and Netflix winning out over the Rosary wasn’t even close to our best intentions. It took daily choosing to pray and making it a part of our daily routine that has made prayer a natural part of our life.
I remember the advice a professor who discussed how to form new habits. He said if you want to wake up early you don’t have to go from 9:00 am to 6:00 am in one leap. Set reasonable goals and each day just set your alarm a little earlier, then earlier still. Taking small steps towards forming my new habits was key. It sometimes took all I had in me to decide to do things differently. A bit of self-discipline, a schedule, some reflection, worthy goals and God’s grace has made these changes possible.