Habits life

Feeling Better

February 28, 2024

I had a stressful meeting today that went well and while many of the things I wrote about yesterday remain unresolved, I feel better. Thank you ALL for your thoughts and kindness yesterday.

One commenter (Jessica) wrote:

“I would be interested in learning more about how you keep sticking with your systems when you have hard things taking up your brain space. It is something I really struggle with. When my people are all doing well, I am quite productive and live my life intentionally. When I have emotional stress, I fall into bad habits (nothing dangerous- I just tend to eat more ice cream, scroll more, procrastinate bedtime, etc). I have had a hard month too with lots of extended family drama and a big health issue with a very close friend. And I can tell by looking at my exercise and reading that I didn’t handle it well (although some of my time was spent supporting my loved ones, lots was spent ruminating).”

I want to say that I 100% understand and I struggle with the same things.

Things that have not been recently an issue/impacted:

  • Running
  • Eating habits (still feel good about how I have been eating/fueling my training lately)
  • Daily habits – mostly intact
  • Planning. I could see how this could be tough with extremely emotional situations but I still get up each morning wanting to think through my day.

Things that have most definitely been a struggle this month:

  • Reading dumb things online (particularly reddit + too many email checks)
  • Biting my nails (THEY WERE AMAZING heading into Feb. Therefore I know they can be amazing again. But they are not now.)
  • Strength training. Oops!
  • Generally being distracted and unfocused — I only read ~65 pages of my novel over the past week despite really liking it (I also kept falling asleep because #tired)

So, there you go. I think the things I struggle with less are things that are truly on autopilot mode. I also always feel like negative habit goals are so much tougher than positive ones. You can take 5 minutes and remember to do your Duolingo, but it takes all day brute force not to scroll for some of us sometimes (ie, me in times of stress).

I will tell myself what I would tell any listener which is — it’s okay. We get to start over and try again all the time, whether it’s a new day / week / month / year. We can keep working on making things better without expecting them to be perfect. Rather than stressing over ‘missed’ habits and such during hard times we can try to observe + learn from them.

Some interesting new products in the planning world:

1- Full Focus LifeFocus – their new life planning system/conference that comes with aesthetically pleasing cards. Having now run my own planning conference, I am now especially curious what others are doing (but I also want to be careful because I never want to take others’ material!).

2- Atoms – James Clear’s new habit tracking app. I am going to try it for review purposes. Trying to decide what to track . . .


  • Reply Amy February 28, 2024 at 3:43 pm

    Jessica’s comments hit me in the feels .. and before I get into why, let me preface by saying that one of the guiding principles I strive to live by is “Most people are doing the best they can with the skills they have.” That sentiment leaves room for personal growth while acknowledging the reality of today. When I start getting judgy about other people – whether it’s the choices they make or priorities in decision making – I come back to this principle as a reminder to extend grace and acceptance and get back to living my own life.

    Ok – so – Jessica’s comments hit home with me because I’ve noticed that when feeling lots of stress and am struggling with my own daily routines or general disposition, it starts to show up in my family in their routines and/ or disposition. The observation that my stress is starting to bleed over to others and make *their* quality of life worse becomes one MORE layer of stress for me. I end up feeling bad / guilty and it can become a vicious cycle.

    That’s where I try to remind myself “I’m doing the best I can with the skills I have”. Extending that same grace to myself takes the pressure off. If I take a few extra minutes to reflect on how I handle stress better today than I did several years ago, I feel more confident in my ability to keep learning new skills or refining the skills I already have.

    Sarah – I’m glad you’re feeling better today!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 29, 2024 at 4:21 pm

      oh I 100% know what you are saying! I feel like my kids absolutely absorb any angst that is coming out of my pores. 100% get it. We ARE doing the best we can!!

  • Reply Suzanne February 29, 2024 at 10:04 am

    Glad you are feeling better today. Those parenting stresses are SO hard.

    Love your observation that negative habits are harder to keep up in times of stress than positive ones. That rings true for me, too.

  • Reply Laura March 1, 2024 at 8:50 am

    My favorite yoga teacher always says, “As long as there is breath in the body, we can always begin again.” ❤️

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger March 1, 2024 at 10:50 am

      love it!!

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