Daily Habits 2023

January 10, 2023

I don’t change up my daily habits much. I tend to add and take away pretty slowly, or make a small variation on a theme.

Most of my habits are morning habits, but I definitely have more of a bedtime routine most days than I used to.

those letters: meditation, outside, reading, music, duolingo!

Here are the current habits I am practicing most days:

Reading: ~20 min of nonfiction in the morning (I skip this some weekends or if I need to sleep in!) + aiming for ~10% of a novel each day (adjusting if a novel is super long to a lower percentage!). Of course, I can always read more if I get sucked in!

I have gone back to paper books whenever possible but the kindle app on my phone as a stopgap measure, such as when I was stuck in a doctor’s waiting room (routine cheek up) for 2 hours earlier this week. Was grateful that I was able to instantly download the book I am reading for free!

side note, I LOVE the design of this cover!

Meditation: After years of using Headspace I decided to try the Waking Up app. (I’m on a trial and not sure if I will continue to a paid subscription, but it’s been good to sample – I think I get to keep it free until the end of January). Usually I aim for about ~10 min of meditation in the morning.

Outside: I have a checkbox for ‘outside’ on my little habit tracker. Generally this is accomplished with a morning run as I am currently running ~6x/week (and I avoid the treadmill when possible though at some point I may have to use it for some hill workouts). If I don’t run I try to take a walk, often during lunchtime at work. I am not specifically doing ’23 for 2023′ but I guess I tend to meet that metric most days anyway.

Music: I get a lot of joy and relaxation out of listening to music – almost any music. But it’s not always something I instinctively put on, so I added it to my list a couple of years ago and kept it on. Anything counts, really. I usually put on music during fast running intervals and on my commute home. Yesterday it was part of NPR All Songs Considered Top 100 Songs of 2022 list. (We use Apple Music these days – I like the interface a bit better than Spotify).

Duolingo: Duolingo is not perfect and I’ve had language professors dismayed about my use of this tool but . . . I enjoy it and I know more Spanish than I did before, so I am going to keep it up. Is it going to get me to conversational? No. But I am finding I understand more and will use a short phrase every once in a while (and I can tell patients appreciate that effort!) so I still think it’s better than nothing. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to practice in Spanish without an interpreter and I am at peace with that.

Planning!: Yep, every day I PLAN! I think this does count as a habit. Usually I go in this order: fill out 5 year journal, look at yearly goal planner to fill in daily screen time minutes, and then fill out my daily Hobonichi page to decide what the day’s priorities will be (a combo of reviewing my weekly goals + the day’s schedule).

Phone: I also track phone minutes and have been better about moving my phone to my room in the evenings. My goal is always under 100 minutes (1 hrs + 40 min).

Skincare: I don’t track this, but I do some kind of skincare almost every night and morning.

Workouts: Are workouts habits? I don’t really think of them in this category for whatever reason, but I do have a workout planned in most days. Actually, I plan to work out every day (one day no run, just strength) but allow myself a break whenever it feels needed.

Inbox cleanout: Every clinic day I empty my EPIC inbox + work email, and every week I do a full gmail cleanout (yep, all the way to inbox zero).

That’s about in in terms of what I track / think about on a daily basis. I obviously have plenty of autopilot-type habits (ie flossing, prepping my coffee for the next day). I also want to say that if you’re reading this and have either a) young kids or b) kids who are poor sleepers — there have been times when I had FAR less bandwidth to focus on these habits, and that’s ok. Your time will come!

There are also habits I’d love to work on cultivating/improving: decluttering/organizing and reducing waste/using fewer resources are two of those. I am embarking on more organizing this year but can’t call it a habit yet! Soon perhaps!!!


  • Reply Shelly January 10, 2023 at 7:21 am

    Where do you fit in reading and commenting on other blogs? I find this is enjoyable and can take up chunks of time in my morning that I really am wanting to shift to use for more planning.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 10, 2023 at 8:38 am

      I only read ~10-12 blogs regularly and do comment on each of them at times but not every day. This tends to be a downtime (ie, quick break) activity or while i’m eating lunch 🙂

      • Reply Jessica January 10, 2023 at 12:37 pm

        What blogs do you read? Always looking for more good ones 🙂

        • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 10, 2023 at 1:56 pm

          Many are commenters here 🙂 Lagliv, OMDG, Coco (New Journey Starts), A Healthy Slice of Life, Lisa’s Yarns, Grateful Kae, Elisabeth Frost, Something Remarkable, Not a Wasted Word, and of course Laura’s blog. Also recently enjoying Hungry Runner Girl with current running obsession and the two ‘random’ blogs I read are Feather Factor and (sometimes) Cup of Jo!

          • Sarah Hart-Unger January 10, 2023 at 1:57 pm

            (and yes I guess that’s slightly more than 8-10 but some of these post fairly infrequently!)

  • Reply Leneigh January 10, 2023 at 10:04 am

    Your habits inspire me! I have the same (or very similar) ones that I track but am much less consistent.

    This year I want to focus on quality sleep, exercise and reading. I find if I keep those three habits consistent and going my stress levels are much reduced.

  • Reply Lily January 10, 2023 at 12:30 pm

    I’m curious what you use the five tick boxes at the top of a hobonichi daily page for, if you’re creating your own boxes for ‘mormd’? I usually use the hobonichi boxes for daily habits – helpful to limit it to 5!
    I didn’t bring my hobo on our 2 week vacation that started on 30 Dec – I really don’t want the vacation to end but it will be good to get my planner started for the year!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 10, 2023 at 12:37 pm

      I only use 1-2 of those top boxes for workouts (run + strength or one of those)

  • Reply Lily January 10, 2023 at 12:34 pm

    Also – I love Duolingo and would love to hear more about why professors don’t like it if anyone has info/links? I don’t think it’s a stand alone path to fluency (and they don’t claim to be that either) but it’s been a great tool to learn vocab and phrases, and encourage consistency

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns January 10, 2023 at 12:49 pm

    I use Duolingo, too. I remember some comments on here probably a year+ ago about it being problematic, but it has been very helpful for me. I’ve been doing it for about 200 days and it has really helped me have some very basic conversations with our toddler’s teachers. Our kids go to Spanish Immersion daycare and usually one teacher in each classroom is fluent/pretty fluent in English but neither of our toddler’s teachers are. Which is fine! My husband speaks Spanish (lost his fluency from lack of use but can understand everything and make conversation) and they bring in an interpreter for conferences. But it’s really nice to be able to have basic conversations with them. I wouldn’t be able to without Duolingo. And I know they really appreciate being able to tell me basic things. They keep it very simple and are word things very very basically for me. But it’s nice to ask about his day or tell them he’s been sick or tired or has to go to the doctor.

    I’m impressed that you read for 20 minutes in the morning and do long/hard workouts!! Wow!

    My daily habits are go outside for 23 minutes, get to genius status on Spelling Bee, wordle, and reading. Although it is weird to list reading as a daily habit because it’s almost like eating – I do it without thinking about it and can’t imagine a day going by without reading!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 10, 2023 at 1:00 pm

      Usually my morning workouts are an hour or less! Unless I have a later start day and can run while Josh is dropping off. I have made exceptions for random 8 milers or longer intervals though . . .

      • Reply Lisa of Lisa’s Yarns January 10, 2023 at 4:08 pm

        I think I also forget that other people aren’t leaving their house at 6:45 like we do! Ideally we need to have our butts in our seats at 7:30 when we go into the office. But I think you leave probably an hour or maybe more later than that. I have debated trying to get up at 5 to workout but fear I would run myself into the ground since I seem to have higher sleep needs! I assumed your workouts took more than an hour since you sometimes run and strength train and some of your longer runs stood out in my mind!!

        • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 10, 2023 at 4:50 pm

          I leave at 7:35 to take the kids to school 4 days/week; the other day I get a later start (Josh drives)!

  • Reply ndppeds January 10, 2023 at 1:51 pm

    Love this! Also appreciate the shout-out to those of us with young kids–I must say it did make me feel better looking back in the archives to your younger kid days/medical training days–we’re in those years right now and I look forward to hopefully one day getting in more of these self-care/reading habits. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Anne January 10, 2023 at 2:30 pm

    A good introduction to reducing waste is to compost your kitchen scraps. 😊 It’s pretty easy to implement and lots of new services will do home pick up.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 10, 2023 at 4:51 pm

      that is something I should be capable of doing – will look into it!

  • Reply Amanda January 10, 2023 at 3:34 pm

    This is a great list! How much time do you typically have to yourself in the morning before your kids are up?

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 10, 2023 at 4:51 pm

      I get up at ~4:40 and usually try to start my workout by 6. Kids usually need to be woken up ~6:50-7 am.

      • Reply Leneigh January 11, 2023 at 2:34 pm

        Curious what time you go to bed Sarah?

        • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 11, 2023 at 3:15 pm

          9:30-10 generally but last night 9:20!

  • Reply alexis January 10, 2023 at 8:45 pm

    So awesome to see you tracking habits! I love it. My tracking is more like metrics (BP, temp, reading, exercise) 🙂

  • Reply coco January 10, 2023 at 8:59 pm

    I used wake app for a month and decided it was not for me because I don’t enjoy his voice much. maybe I should try other instructors. I love Tara Brach the most, I try to do her 20 min meditation everyday or most of days. I can track via oura to see how effective she is to calm my mind with her soothing voice and sometimes poems at the end of the session.

    6 days a week you run? wooo! how do you avoid burn out? I do 4-5 times a week and mostly 4. I’ll start my training cycle soon (longer time to go sub-4).

    in term of to do list? do you add more later in the day if you have free time? do you put a limit of how many to do you add in a day?

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 11, 2023 at 1:04 pm

      Yep currently doing 6 days- really want to get faster and I know I respond to higher mileage. This is how I used to run pre kids 🙂

      I sometimes go back to my weekly list if I have more time but I’d say usually I just relax and celebrate being done by reading or doing whatever!!

  • Reply Coree January 11, 2023 at 10:35 am

    I don’t track daily but just add a point to the Counter app on my phone. This year’s returning goals – mileage, outside time, books read to T and new goals – focused time with kiddo (defined as 10-15 minutes in which we are both fully immersed in play or conversation), War and Peace chapters, and things I’ve gotten rid of.

  • Reply Mackenzie Jervis January 20, 2023 at 3:22 pm

    It’s so interesting to see other people’s habits. Mine are pretty similar to yours and I love that you have a habit to plan. Sometimes it feels like planning should just fit into life but like anything else, if you don’t make time to do it regularly it usually fails to happen.

  • Reply Kelsi Perttula October 3, 2023 at 4:49 pm

    I wouldn’t discount the Duolingo. I’ve used it exclusively to learn Spanish (that and communicating with our part-time nanny, when we had her for 3 years). I’ve continued to Duolingo, and I find myself able to converse more and more 🙂

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