Saline Chronicles: 1 Can you floss just one tooth?

by on February 27, 2014
in general



I had what I thought was a brilliant idea that came to me in two parts this morning.

I’ve been having problems with motivating myself to write this blog.  Now let me assure you right now that I don’t think for one minute that what I write is so important that I need to inundate you daily in order to make the world a better place.  My motivation is much more selfish than that.

I like to write.  I feel good after I’ve written something and hit publish (usually).  It makes me happy to write.  At this age, I feel like I should do what makes me happy, because…you never know, right?  So I asked myself the same question I ask of my clients who want to start a new habit:  What is the first baby step that I can take to make writing a habit?

Clearly, I have a platform here already made.  Nobody reads it, but who cares?  The easiest thing in the world would be to write a short post regularly…and by regularly I mean nearly daily when I am not traveling.  Did you notice those two caveats that my subconscious mind slipped in there?   “Nearly” and “when I’m not traveling…”

Ok, daily.  Damn you, subconscious mind.  Already trying to sabotage my plan…

I’ve made this promise before and not kept it.  The write every day plan, I mean. But here is what I just figured out:  I DON’T HAVE TO HIT PUBLISH!

That was epiphany number one.

Epiphany number two came when I thought about something I read yesterday about how to create the very good habit of flossing one’s teeth on daily basis.  It is powerful in its simplicity:  commit to flossing one tooth.  Who can’t floss one tooth?  Seriously…you just wrap the stuff tightly around your finger, cutting off all circulation, and stand in front of a mirror.  Boom, you are done.

There is hidden magic in this technique, though.  In a few days, I will bet a million dollars that I don’t have that you are flossing more than one tooth.  In all likelihood, after a few weeks, all of your teeth are getting a daily scrubbing and your dentist and cardiologist are very happy with you.

Why does this happen?  Because you set yourself up for success by making it so easy you cannot fail.  There is no pressure. You are tricking your brain into getting over the mental inertia that presents the biggest obstacle to forming a habit.  You go through the first few motions…going into the bathroom, getting out the floss, and beginning…without a thought.  Then, while you are standing there, you just start to do more.  Why not?  It doesn’t hurt.  It’s easy. It’s a good chance to daydream.

My epiphany number two was to create the easiest way possible to blog.  As someone with CF, you all probably know the ritual that fills my morning:  long periods of treatments, inhaling stuff, shaking with the Vest, inhaling more stuff, taking pills, eating high fat stuff, taking more pills, dealing with the consequences of eating high fat stuff that didn’t necessarily digest well….and then doing the normal morning things that everyone does.  This takes time…a lot of it.

I usually entertain myself by getting drawn into the Black Hole of the Interwebs and hours pass by getting nothing of consequence done…other than “pulmonary toilette” as it is called in medspeak.

My “floss one tooth” idea is to write a short post while inhaling stuff.  And by “short” I mean, write at least a one paragraph post while inhaling 7% hypertonic saline, which I do without fail every…single…day.  Hence the name, “saline chronicles.”  I tried to do this before, but I got all freaked out, thinking “how can I possibly have something good to write every day?”  Enter epiphany number one,  DON’T HIT PUBLISH.

So here it is. This time I will hit publish.  I’m sorry.  But I feel that perhaps this will provide the accountability I need.  If both of you out there remind me occasionally about this idea, I will keep it up.  Thanks.  I am happy now.

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3 Responses to “Saline Chronicles: 1 Can you floss just one tooth?”
  1. Melony says:

    I’m reading what you’re writing 🙂 maybe a FB page for Sick & Happy?

  2. Julie Desch says:

    That’s a good idea. I have no idea how to do that:-(

  3. Kay says:

    Hey, I’m reading it too….not regularly…but when I see a post on fb I’m all about reading it. I too am wishing I could use vesting/nebulizing time more wisely. I waste time on Facebook, LinkedIn, job search, I should be doing productive graphic work but it’s not the ideal time for me to feel highly creative. And when I focus on mundane tasks like invoicing/bookeeping/paying bills I tend to forget all about coughing and fluttering, and deep breathes…and so I continue to be unproductive about 2 hours a day, ugg. Rethinking my habits. Thanks for the article.

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