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Elizabeth Woodworth: Forget resolutions, just change your habits two at a time

By Elizabeth Woodworth
Contributing writer
updated: 1/9/2019 11:51 AM

Florists and grocery stores display flowering spring bulbs. Farm and garden seed normally reach retail outlets by today. Spring moves from New Orleans at a rate of about five miles per day or 1 degree Fahrenheit every four to five days. As the Moon enters second quarter, it remains weak, allowing the low-pressure system to create a welcome but deceptive thaw. (Countryside)

Jan. 12: Harrisburg Woman's Club organized, 1904. Jan. 14: Harrisburg Cumberland Presbyterian Church organized, 1884.

Dec. 26 airing of "Jeopardy." Category, State Stuff. Answer: "Four of its last 10 governors have spent time in federal prison." Question: "What is Illinois?" I thought I had gotten over a year of us being on the national news every day because we didn't have a budget. Never thought I would be embarrassed by an answer on "Jeopardy".

With all the state has going for it -- Lincoln Zoo, the Lincoln tomb, a Lincoln statue with a shiny nose, New Salem, wonderful state parks and the Shawnee National Forest, why could they only come up with political malfeasance? To give the devil his due, Gov. (Dan) Walker wasn't in prison for political crimes. But really, do we have to have such a negative image?

If you get paperwhite bulbs either to force or already in pots, a couple of hints. (I for one don't have them, don't like the smell.) Insufficient light can prompt leggy growth, so paperwhites grown in dim rooms may require staking. If those in light start to become too tall, stunt their growth by watering them with a mixture of 1 part vodka or gin to 7 parts water. White wine might work too. I imagine any alcohol will work, some will turn the water brown.

I have decided that when it comes to New Year's Eve, my parents and their friends were party animals compared to me. I spent the evening flipping between bowl games and the cooking shows. I had tea and popcorn. The last games ended a few minutes after 10 and I was on my way to bed. At midnight -- maybe, I didn't even turn over and look at the clock -- someone in the neighborhood set off a few firecrackers, in measure beat, and that was that. It's more than we have had in several years.

Did you know? Each can of Campbell's Condensed Chicken Noodle Soup contains about 32 feet of noodles.

Step one: Make over your to-do list. Most of us work from two lists, the "I will do" list and the "I should do" list. The "I will" may include getting up early, a trip to the grocery, laundry, dentist, etc. Then there's the other - exercise, walk, eat healthy, etc. While we typically do the things on the first, which won't really help us live longer, healthier, happier lives, we forgo most of the stuff on the second, which actually will.

Make your two lists. Then move two items from the "should" to the "will" list. For example, I will declutter one drawer/closet shelve each day/once a week, and I will exercise 15 minutes every day. When these get to be habits, move two other things from "should" to "will". The point? I need to redo myself physically and get my house in shape before I become a candidate for "My 600 Pound Life" and"Hoarders."

I can't be the only one who needs to do so, though I am sure that some of you are good in health and home. So, rules. It is cheating to make the day's list before you go to bed, just so you can cross all the items off. The list must be made the night before or the morning of the day. It's OK if, for a month or so, you can't cross off everything. Just like with food, our eyes think we can do more than our energy allows. If, like me, you are by nature a sloth, you will have to push yourself or nothing will get done.

Little things add up. Your family and friends might not know that your linen closet has been decluttered, the toothpaste you hate thrown out, the linens you will never use again donated. But you know. In fact, you will open the door and smile. Remember, this is not a New Year's resolution. It is a new way of life that will make us healthy and loving the skin and home we are in.

Researchers found that people who drank at least one cup of hot caffeinated tea a day were 74 percent less likely to have glaucoma, a disease that damages the eye's optic nerve and can result in blindness. There is no similar correlation with iced tea, decaf tea, soda and coffee. I'm good, have a cup almost every night before bedtime. Now, if I can just remember to eat an orange.

• "Cherish your daughters as much as your sons, and teach them both to stand up for what is right." (Ruth Bader Ginsburg)