Developing Habits

It’s a bit odd, isn’t it, how our brain works, and habits become habits? You know the whole New Years resolution bit?  I will A, B, C…  I will give up chocolate…  I will try harder on the vegan bit…  (And yes, those two work together, clever huh?  Two birds, one stone…)  I will procrastinate less, I will save more…  You know the deal.  And by the 10th of Jan – sorry, what resolution?  Did I make one?

of course I have given up on chocolate…
Of course I have given up on chocolate…

I decided, 2018, it would be my year of buying nothing.  Well, within reason.  On my allowed list – groceries – you got to keep up with essentials, like coffee and marmite, you know; Toiletries – yes, I do still brush my teeth… travel / plane tickets – yup, my life does kind of need these… and, well that is about it really…  “Stuff” is off the list – clothes, electronics, odds and ends, the whole detritus of living, which, when I am packing, means I need a suitcase size hand bag to drag all the useless extras around the world.

Yup, trying out the Bamboo Toothbrush…
Yup, trying out the Bamboo Toothbrush…

 

And, from Jan 1st until Feb 20th, I did not buy anything more than a new toothbrush.  And actually it was easy and pretty liberating – no need to wander the airport looking at the vastly inflated special deals, since I wasn’t buying anyway.  No need to just stop in at the mall on the way home.  Saving time, saving money, but mainly changing how I use the earth’s resourse’s with less frivolous abandon…

And then, the worst happened.  My poor mobile / cell / hand phones have a tough life, I manage to kill them quite fast, and though my current phone is alive and well, one morning last week I woke up thinking, must be time to get going soon – how long until my alarm goes off DING?  Looked at my phone – and it was about 10 minutes after DING time – but alas alack, my phone had refused to DING…  Luckily my internal alarm decided to step in.  Had I hit the snooze button?  Had I turned the alarm off in my sleep?  When it happened three mornings in a row, and I had fortunately woken up on my own brain power, I decided this was a tad dangerous when I had appointments to keep with ponies and their humans in indoor arenas in the early mornings.  So, after much internal debate, I trotted off to the mall and bought myself an alarm clock.  I did consider buying a new phone, but other than the alarm, all is good with the old one.  I stood in the shop in a real dithering frozen moment – I didn’t want to buy it, but was there a choice?  Not really, I wasn’t about to enlist someone else to phone me every morning.  I put the clock on the cashier’s desk, and reluctantly handed over my hard earned cash.  I didn’t want to do this…

it’s kinda cute, right?
it’s kinda cute, right?

A couple of days later, I saw a ridiculous coffee cup while buying my coffee and marmite allowance in the supermarket, picked it up and marched off to the check out.  It was crazy – the body of the mug painted like a pony, with four little stubby feet on it’s base, and the handle extending out to the side to form the pony’s head and neck.  I was only buying it for the ridiculous factor, nothing more.  Before I got there, I woke up – hang on, I’m not buying anything – why am I doing this?  And put the crazy pony back into the crazy pony herd…

Yesterday, I was sitting at an airport – just for a change. They were handing out the immigration forms for the landing side of our journey, so I took one and started digging in my overloaded handbag for a pen – ahh, no pen, this is a problem.  I was about to get up and wander to find a shop for a hugely over priced pen, when I thought hang on, this is the year of no buying, I already have SO many pens, somewhere.  Looked around – happened to be sitting next to my pilot, who was awaiting the same plane – an organised pilot who had a pen in his pocket…  Excuse me, please could I possibly borrow your pen Mr Pilot?  Of course – filled out my form, much thanks given…

For almost two months of this year, I bought nothing.  My brain had become adamant that this is what we are doing – it means something to me, and I haven’t missed buying stuff, haven’t regretted not adding to my overloaded suitcase…  And yet, at my first fall off the wagon – buying that ticking alarm clock – it opened the floodgate of consuming.  It’ll take a few more days, but I think I can get back on the wagon.

So, my question – what do you buy your horse that really doesn’t need buying?  Does he really NEED 36 different cooler rugs in 14 shades of pink?  Do you really NEED 49 pairs of socks?  (OK, bad example, of course you do NEED 49 pairs of socks, I think I probably have about 100 pairs…)  And what about your riding resolution?  Did you resolve not to use that gadget someone convinced you to put on your horse?  You didn’t use it for a month, and once it found its mouldy way out of the cupboard, it’s firmly back in place?  What would be a good new rule to put in place, and how long will you need to make it a better habit?

Happy Riding!

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