Breaking habits and changing routines


Have I mentioned that the schools are closed this week for winter break?

Did you know that it’s currently snowing once again and I have an undetermined number of middle school boys (which means more than two but let’s not tell mommy in advance so she doesn’t start to freak) coming to the house today?

Oh, and did I tell you that modern technology is going to make actually speaking to people, even the people in your family who are in the next room, obsolete?


At least he asks for oatmeal for breakfast. I have done something right in life.

To tell you the truth, I am fine with these breaks from school.

I don’t mind deviating from the daily routine, not having to get my son up and out for school, no homework to deal with or after school activities.

Routine is a good thing most of the time. We raise our children with a routine which helps them understand time, structure and even gain some comfort from knowing what comes next.

We like that comfort even now as adults, don’t we?

I like knowing that I wake up early, my cup of coffee is waiting for me and that it’s pre-run breakfast time.


I like Pure Barre and running to happen right after I eat, showering as soon as I am done and eating (again) immediately after that.

I swear I could call it a day after my favorite morning routine is complete and it’s barely 9:00 am.

The thing about routine though is that it is directly related to forming habits and sometimes those habits need to be broken or adjusted.

habits and routines

For example, and this a bit personal but I like talking personal, when I first went through my divorce, I had a routine that needing breaking.

My husband always left for work super early in the morning so he would call me around 7:30 am during my English-muffin-with-peanut-butter-while-reading-the-newspaper breakfast time to catch up and chat.

Obviously we stopped chatting all sweet each morning because HELLO DIVORCE and that was really hard for me.

I was so used to the phone ringing while I was biting into the english muffin and flipping the pages of the sports section that suddenly breakfast time was making me really sad and that was just not okay.

I LOVE breakfast and I HATE being sad!

I realized I needed to adjust my morning routine immediately so I would stop looking for the phone to ring while eating breakfast.

I began eating breakfast on the couch (same english muffin with peanut butter because no one was about to ruin that experience) in our den while watching Noggin (I think it’s Nick Jr. now?) with my son.

I stopped reading the newspaper in the morning and saved it for later in the day. I was behind on the news yes, but that was okay.

It really helped. I broke the routine, changed things just enough that I got over that situation and habit real quick.

Right now I have determined that I have a new routine that needs to be changed.

extra confetti cake pop

It’s not just the gum chewing habit that’s the problem. It’s that I have come to expect to chew SOMETHING while browsing my phone in the evening or even using the computer.

I am on my computer all day long and all day long I am either drinking coffee, water or tea, eating oatmeal or lunch in front of the screen and sometimes snacks too.

I don’t want to sit there mindlessly feeling the need to move my jaw but if I am looking at the computer even after I have eaten in the evening, I start looking for food. Or gum.

I subconsciously associating using the computer or perusing my phone with needing to eat or chew.

One piece leads to two, then three…then the pack is gone.

Bad habit. Bad routine. Needs to change!

Do you have any routines or habits you feel you need to change?

Are you good about realizing it AND changing it?

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  1. says

    There are a couple of habits/routines that I am stuck in right now, and that I want to change, but I will be doing so after the marathon (a lot of them pertain to food, and I need the calories now in taper). Mostly it’s the going hog wild on anything and everything in front of me. Which is fine right now, but not when you aren’t marathon training….
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…Yoga Clinic: Sun Salutation B SequenceMy Profile

  2. says

    I’m almost always snacking or chewing on gum when I’m on the computer… Partially because writing/working make me super snacky, partially because it’s hard not to get hungry when you’re looking at and talking about food, and partially because it’s just become a habit. It’s not a horrible one, but things can definitely get a little out of hand if I add stress to the mix 😆
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  3. says

    The only bad habit I have left (the worst, anyway) that I’d really love to see go is my nail biting! It’s not just nail biting, it’s disgusting, trust me on this. I’ve been doing this since I’ve been a kid but I’ve noticed it’s especially bad when I’m “relaxing” on the couch at night and also when driving. I have no clue how to stop this at this point and mostly think I’ll do it forever!
    Michele @ paleorunningmomma recently posted…Running and Anxiety Part II – Crossing the LineMy Profile

    • says

      That’s a tough one because your fingers are always on you! Ha. My friend in high school had that habit.She would put stuff on the tips of her fingers to make it taste bad but I can’t remember if it worked. The worst part about the habit is that you probably aren’t even conscious of doing it most of the time. Ugh, wish I knew what to say to help. Habits are really hard to break!

  4. says

    Ah yes habits are hard though! I think it is important to replace your habit with something else. Maybe instead of chewing gum you think about drinking lots of water! Maybe even add lemon or something to your water since that makes it taste funny with the gum (; I have had the same gum chewing problem!
    Hayley@healthyregards recently posted…Weekly Training Recap 2.9 – 2.15My Profile

  5. says

    I feel like I always need to do something else while I am eating. I am either on my computer or scrolling through my phone during each meal. Its really tough to break habits like that! Especially in our society where everything is go-go-go and we never take time to just stop and relax. In fact if I’m not multi-tasking I feel like I’m not being productive.
    Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine recently posted…Adventures in Physical Therapy Week 2: Hip Exercises and Simple Running DrillsMy Profile

  6. says

    I love how you are self-aware enough to know to change up the breakfast routine to make yourself happy. You’re a strong woman! The thing that popped into my head, oddly enough, is that when I’m running with a friend, I have to run to their left side. It just *feels* right. So, to stretch my brain, from time to time I will force myself to run on their right so that I don’t get all fixated and stuck. I figure this practice translates over to other aspects of “real” life, which is why I practice it with something so frivolous as running on the left.
    Suzy recently posted…Shades of Brown: DarkMy Profile

  7. says

    What a gerat post Meredith! I love my morning routine as well.

    I was a compulsive gum chewer about two years ago. So bad that I was going through a pack or two a day. After I had an emergency root canal that had nothing to do with my gum chewing, but I associate it, I quit chewing gum cold turkey. Recently I have noticed my self inching back into the habit – yesterday I bought a pack of gum and it was gone in the matter of hours. I seem to chew it while I am on the computer as well because it keeps my mouth busy – it is an anxious habit. Best way not to done a pack a day – don’t buy it! Let is what I have told myself and am going to try and stick to that.

    • says

      That’s just it – I have to NOT buy it! Would solve a big part of the problem. I go through phases where I chew much less and then it creeps back up just like you. I would save a lot of money if I stopped buying it every week.

  8. says

    I have gotten into the habit of snacking before bed. I used to do this and got rid of the bad habit but now it snuck back into my life. I crashed this habit before by having a protein shake before bed if I was hungry…some nights I wouldn’t even want it, but on the days I did, I was happy because I knew I was feeding my muscles right before a fast. So, I intend to start this tomorrow (Lent) again and hopefully not fall back into this mindless snacking routine!
    Stacy @ Sweating Tulipz recently posted…Workout with GraceMy Profile

  9. says

    I think I suffer from the same chewing/eating/drinking something in front of the computer habit. I’m not sure why this came about, but I definitely feel that being online makes me feel like I need to be chewing on something as well. Maybe because I follow a lot of food blogs and they all show delicious-looking food? Congrats to you for figuring this out and deciding to change it!
    Meg recently posted…Chocolate Bourbon Bundt Cake | For CAKE&WHISKEY MagazineMy Profile

  10. says

    I tend to thrive on routines…luckily most of them are pretty healthy 🙂
    I am super jealous that you guys are on winter break – wish we were here!
    Lish recently posted…Big weekend!My Profile

  11. says

    This is going to sound silly, but I need to get out of the feeling that I NEED to stay in bed until it’s warm enough for me to get out. If that’s the case I will be un bed for another couple months. Although that doesn’t sound horrible, I don’t think anyone here would appreciate it 😉 I also am always doing something while I am eating (on the computer, scrolling through my phone, etc)- I HAVE made it a point to not do that when I’m at the table with the kids though. No electronics at the table.
    AJ @ NutriFitMama recently posted…Snowed In and Fried Tofu for Meat LoversMy Profile

  12. says

    Well, you wouldn’t believe how timely this post was for me and just how much I can relate. I’ll give you a hint: very! There are numerous routines I need to break because they’re messing with my sleep/ productivity /life. The funny thing is that I’m awfully good at pointing them out exactly – but have yet to successfully change them. Fingers crossed I’ll take your post as further fuel and actively work on breaking free from the bad habits.
    As weird as it sounds I feel you deserve it: kudos on how you modified your morning routine to break free from your grievance. I’m sure that was even harder than it sounds.
    Miss Polkadot recently posted…The Power of FrustrationMy Profile

    • says

      Aw thanks. Yeah, it was hard but definitely helped me right away to switch up my routine to get out of the habit. We all have the power to change our habits, it’s just being strong enough to do it.

  13. says

    I’m the worst when it comes to gum & mints. I almost always have one or the other in my mouth as well. I cut the habit a few months back by going cold turkey, but about a month ago randomly started back up when I was low on energy. My husband actually purchases the gum & mints on base (i’m not allowed there), so perhaps I just need to tell him to stop for now.