5 Simple Habits to Start Today

By Carolyn Shields, nursing a wounded knee that she just rammed into this tin couch

And check out 7 Simple Ways to Improve Your Week

1) Get in the Habit of Dressing Nice

My biggest complaint in the summer is how casual my seasonal wardrobe is because it is mostly made up of college and band shirts and sweat shorts. And that's cool. But I think it's important for us to look presentable if we know we are going out into public. Movie theaters, cafes, walks around town, the classroom...these are all public settings where we want to look respectable. As my best friend dramatically told me when we were thirteen, "You never know when you're going to meet your soul mate." And hey, I'm all for the casual hipster look, but just finding that balance of being mindful but not overly mindful of what you're wearing and where is a good thing to be aware of. At the very least, brush your teeth whenever you walk out the door.

2) The Room of Vanity

A la bathroom. The kind with mirrors. Think of a way to make someone's day as you spend fifteen seconds brushing your teeth in the morning. Figure out how many Hail Marys it takes for the perfect curl, not how many seconds. And always repeat this when you make eye contact with yourself: Lord, I want to look beautiful for You above all else and whoever else.

3) Commercials...Breaks from What?

Similarly, how much time do we waste watching commercials, knowing that half of the commercials out there are total crap, in which money-makers seek to sell their product by advertising the woman's body, because they know that it's the most beautiful thing out there? Why not try muting commercials to slip in a few extra minutes of prayer or simply enjoy the silence or to really savor that Ramen? *

4) You've Been Waiting for This One...

Cut down social media time. But wait! Here me out! I can actually vouch for this now since I've been doing it the past month. There's many great things that facebook can offer: connection with distant friends, little baby boosts from those little baby likes, and more. I don't have to list them. You know them. It's why you have a facebook and tweeter and pin-that, etc. But just be more aware of the pitfalls, how facebook can cause stress not by comparing yourself to others, not from constantly checking on his life status by stalking the heck out of him, but even in more subtle ways that we may not expect: a study claims that simply by having too many friends online we feel more stressed. Go cold turkey for a week. Or be realistic: three days. Or do as I did: no newsfeed, simply email and reading notifications but not responding to them. Or do another de-cluttering session and rid yourself of needless connections.

5) Have a Morning Prayer Routine

I don't know why ten minutes seem so daunting to me in the morning, and maybe I'm not the only one, but I'm going to make a huge effort to begin a morning routine. I can already taste the impact it will have on my day. It's totally important to say your rosary on your way to work, or say the night prayers you were taught by your parents before bed, but start things out on the right foot: if ten minutes seems a bit daunting to you too, then be realistic with yourself and start small: whenever you crawl out of your bed in the a.m, hit the ground with your knees and thank God that He's given you one more day.


P.S Please brush your teeth for more than fifteen seconds.

*Also, I never called Ramen Ramen until college. It was always Cup O' Noodle, but google just told me it's Cup Noodles. CUP NOODLES? That doesn't even make sense.