Have a cup o’ tea (behavioral change)

I am not sure how the week flies by so quickly. It seems like yesterday that I was posting about the perfect cornbread casserole, but it turns out that that was on Sunday night (!), already three days ago.

Sunday night before I posted Bobby and I went out to a Vietnamese place with our friend down in Chinatown thanks to a blogger rec and it was delicious. That post will have to wait until I upload the pictures though.

Wednesday Thoughts.

In the meantime, I wanted to share some insights from a really interesting conversation I had last night. My friend gave me some really important advice about making or breaking habits. There is so much more that I want to say, but I will not go into it all at once. For now, here is what I have to say (and if none of this makes sense, I apologize – skip down to pictures of yummy food!).

  • If you have a cup of tea, just enjoy your cup of tea. Savor it. Smell it. Feel its warmth. Focus on your breathing. How do you feel? What are you thinking? Are you enjoying the tea, or is it simply background noise to something else you are doing? Was that what you had intended?
  • We base our anxieties and worries on our own histories. Just because something happened yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that, and … – does not mean that it has to happen today.
  • When we are building new habits and destroying old (bad) ones, it can be problematic to create deadlines/timelines. Habits do not abide by time limits. Instead, try to focus on doing your new habit XX times in a week (day? month?). Then slowly increase the number of times you practice your new habit and decrease the number of times you practice the old one.
  • Behavior is physical and chemical and it CAN BE CHANGED.

Next time I want to talk about starters/initiators vs. maintainers. More to come!

Onto food.

Heather posted today about her standard dinners. Mine are actually quite similar! Here is one:

jan 30 2010 006

I usually have a nice base of veggies and I top it with fatty things that are healthy. This was (as far as I can recall)…

  • stirfry of leeks and broccoli (in butter)
  • then I tossed in 2 chopped tomatoes
  • the toppings were probably nutritional yeast, parmesan, and maple syrup

My favorite veggies that are almost in these big bowls are Brussels sprouts and broccoli.

Yum! Also yum:

jan 30 2010 001

This is roasted kabocha (possibly from the same night). It was an unripe kabocha, but I have discovered that the best way to salvage these (they just aren’t as sweet) is to roast them in the oven at about 375F for 30-40 minutes. There is something wonderful about my current oven (maybe because it’s gas?) and the kabocha comes out deliciously starchy and good.

I am off to eat some oatmeal for dessert. I am catching up on last night’s Biggest Loser as well (I was on the phone and missed most of it).

What habit do you wish you could change?

23 Replies to “Have a cup o’ tea (behavioral change)”

  1. Maggie,
    Ahh, I wish we were neighbors as I think I could dine with you every night and be happy. 🙂 Love all your veggie stir-fry bowls. Actually thought of you while I was writing my post today. Oh, and CD requested kabocha fries tonight, and it ours was not ripe either! But you’re so right. Roasting the squashes does help, and I LOVE my gas oven. Never went another electric one.

    Your friend sounds like a wise old soul. 🙂

  2. mm you make me want to boil some tea to enjoy. I am the way about standard dinners. I have roasted veggies pretty much every night

  3. Totally understand your thoughts on making changes to your behavior. One day at a time is a good way to think about making changes- it’s not so daunting! Love your blog as I think it takes guts to make such candid comments publicly.

  4. I really like the one about not setting deadline to change habits, instead focus on do once more the new habit. I want to be more open and connect more with my friends, every time I talk to them I feel enlightened, loved and all the stories that I make in my mind go away! 🙂
    After I saw Heather’s post, I made that for dinner! 🙂
    Found an unripped kabocha, i’ll roast it tonight! 🙂

  5. Don’t even open up that can of “what behavior do you need to change” with me, as you know! I love the advice though, and your friend sounds like a guru of sorts. I realized that I am rarely in the moment when I’m drinking my tea, eating a meal, etc. as I’m distracted by the computer, work, planning ahead, etc. I think I need to set aside some time–15 minutes for my tea or my meal–and just enjoy that time for what it is.

  6. Maggie, I never comment on your blog, but I read it frequently! I just wanted to say those.. affirmations? I guess? Really meant a LOT to me. I actually sat and hand-wrote them out, so maybe they’d sink in a little for me, too. I’ve been struggling with changing habits that I have and, as type-A would have it, I have imposed many hard-and-fast deadlines on myself. Sometimes you just need to focus on the present, on each day, and be optimistic that a good day CAN be followed by another one. Sometimes it feels like I’m just waiting to screw it up, counting the days till I blow it. But it really doesn’t have to be that way!

    Thanks again for the post. I think everyone can take something from it.

  7. Great words of wisdom. Behavior is physical and chemical and it can be changed — I love this one. It’s not an easy process, especially the chemical part. I feel like my brain gets used to certain habits and change really does feel “wrong.” After a while though, it starts to feel “right.” I love what you said about savoring too. I get so caught up in fretting about what’s next that I lose the present moment completely. It’s difficult for me to enjoy without worrying. My brain is constantly on alert.
    Have a great day!

  8. man, I wish I could still find kabocha here, ripe OR unripe 🙂 I miss it!

    Your stirfry dinner looks great, and reminds me I need some leeks.

    I love this post – thanks for sharing 🙂

  9. I always smile when I see you have your beloved kobacha!

    I liked what you said about enjoying your cup of tea – too often we are stuck in the past or worried about the future and don’t concentrate on the NOW.

    Great post Maggie!

  10. Oh that’s so true with chaning the habit. I am easily get defeated if we didn’t completely overhaul the old habit….as you said, set up goals like having new habit several times a week might be a good idea!!! like my coffee addictions developed this winter….

  11. I LOVE what you said about tea. So important to just sit down and stop for a few minutes everyday. I’m working on not snacking after dinner right now 🙂

  12. ahhh, thank you for sharing your thoughts of the day. I totally understand them, and think they are wise words!! Great start to my day. Your roasted kabocha looks wonderful, and I agree–gas ovens are the best!

    take care, and when you drink your tea fill yourself with happiness 😀

  13. Great and wonerful words of wisdom. I wish I could let go of my habits on over stuffing my day. I always have too much to do and get so stressed out and never really take time for myself. Im working on it though day by day. 🙂

  14. What wonderful words to think about — “Habits do not abide by time limits” … that’s one to really take to heart. I’ll try to remember these words today 🙂

    I’ve never thought of how to deal with an unripe kabocha. I’ll have to try your roasting trick!

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