Currently viewing the tag: "habit"

coffee mustache thursday

As he drank, little brown drops of coffee clung to his mustache like dew. Men will live like billy goats if they are let alone. –Charles Portis, True Grit

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write about a man’s habits from the point of view of a woman.

Journaling Prompt: What habit do you judge in your spouse, parent, or friend?

Art Prompt: Men and Billy Goats

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a humorous story about a bad habit you have.

Photo Credit: Neil Moralee on Flickr

Airman Daniel Silva, from Oxnard, Calif., throws a left hook during a boxing match.

Know your enemy if you want to defeat him. -Kate Elliott, Shadowgate

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story, scene, or poem about enemies.

Journaling Prompt: Imagine that one of your bad habits is your enemy. How much do you know about that bad habit? Is it enough to defeat it?

Art Prompt: Know your enemy.

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about how knowing your “enemy” can help your audience in their personal and professional lives.

Photo Credit: Official U.S. Navy Imagery on Flickr

Out of habit, out of respect, she cleared the stones, raked out the fire pit, and shifted such wood as was still usable into a new stack, splitting kindling. You had to leave things as you would hope to find them. -Kate Elliott, Shadowgate

Fiction Writing Prompt: Add to your character sketch. How does your character demonstrate respect in habitual ways?

Journaling Prompt: Write about a habit you developed to show respect.

Art Prompt: Habit and respect

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Inform your audience about a habit they can develop to pay it forward.

Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk on Flickr

old man

“I’ve kind of contracted a habit of enj’ying things,” he remarked once, when Anne had commented on his invariable cheerfulness. “It’s got so chronic that I believe I even enj’y the disagreeable things. It’s great fun thinking they can’t last. ‘Old rheumatiz,’ says I, when it grips me hard, ‘you’ve GOT to stop aching sometime. The worse you are the sooner you’ll stop, mebbe. I’m bound to get the better of you in the long run, whether in the body or out of the body.'” -L.M. Montgomery, Anne’s House of Dreams

Writing Prompt: Write a character description for someone who has an interesting habit.

Journaling Prompt: Write about an interesting habit you have.

Art Prompt: Habit of Enj’ying
Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Talk about the strength of habits and the importance of choosing your habits wisely.

Photo Credit: moyerphotos on Flickr

Thinking... please wait

Men may think about sex more often than women do, but a new study suggests that men also think about other biological needs, such as eating and sleep, more frequently than women do, as well.

And the research discredits the persistent stereotype that men think about sex every seven seconds, which would amount to more than 8,000 thoughts about sex in 16 waking hours. In the study, the median number of young men’s thought about sex stood at almost 19 times per day. Young women in the study reported a median of nearly 10 thoughts about sex per day.

As a group, the men also thought about food almost 18 times per day and sleep almost 11 times per day, compared to women’s median number of thoughts about eating and sleep, at nearly 15 times and about 8 1/2 times, respectively.

“Since we looked at those other types of need-related thoughts, we found that it appears that there’s not just a sex difference with regard to thoughts about sex, but also with regard to thoughts about sleep and food,” she said. “That’s very significant. This suggests males might be having more of these thoughts than women are or they have an easier time identifying the thoughts. It’s difficult to know, but what is clear is it’s not uniquely sex that they’re spending more time thinking about, but other issues related to their biological needs, as well.” –Science Daily

Writing Prompt: Write a scene from two points of view – male and female. Include inner monologue.

Journaling Prompt: How often do you find yourself thinking about basic needs? Which do you think about most frequently?

Art Prompt: What are you thinking about?

Photo Credit: karola riegler photography on Flickr

M&Ms Sorted by Color

We may joke about OCD, but we all have little ritualistic behaviors that we may not even be aware of doing. Why do we do them?

Almost every human and animal activity can be divided into three parts, Prof. Eilam explains — “preparatory,” “functional,” and “confirmatory.” The functional aspect is defined by the specific actions that must occur in order to complete a task. But the preparatory and confirmatory actions, dubbed “head” and “tail” actions by the researchers, are not strictly required in order to get the job done. We complete them both before and after the central task, but they are not necessarily related to it. Individuals complete different head and tail activities for every task.

During the course of their study, Prof. Eilam and his fellow researchers watched and analyzed videotapes of people completing common tasks, such as putting on a shirt, locking a car, or making coffee, as well as basketball players completing a free-throw. In the case of basketball players, explains Prof. Eilam, all they actually need to do to complete their action is throw the ball. So why the preceding ritualistic behavior, such as bouncing the ball precisely six times?

“The routine they perform in the moments before shooting the ball is a method to focus their full concentration and control their actions.” Prof. Eilam says. It’s also an essential part of sports psychology. If players feel that completing their repetitive actions will enhance their performance, they tend to be more successful. This could include anything from locker room antics to LeBron James’ infamous pre-game chalk toss. –Science Daily

Writing Prompt: Write a scene with a character using a ritualistic behavior they believe will help them be successful.

Journaling Prompt: What little habits do you use as rituals?

Art Prompt: Ritual

Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the power of setting daily rituals to create a change in your life.

Photo Credit: Mr. T in DC on Flickr


Create whatever this visual prompt inspires in you!

Photo by mugley.


ablution n. (usually ablutions) FORMAL or HUMOROUS an act of washing oneself: the women performed their ablutions.

Writing Prompt: Create a ritual or habit for your character that involves ablution.

Journaling Prompt: What is your morning routine? How long have you been following that routine? What happens when it’s interrupted?

Art Prompt: Ablutions
Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Use the word in your article or speech today.

Photo Credit: Ryan Vaarsi on Flickr

car accident

Do you ever drive and end up at your destination without knowing how you got there? Our minds get lost in rehashing the past or rehearsing the future. As it turns out, that could be very dangerous.

“Taking a trip down memory lane while you are driving could land you in a roadside ditch, new research indicates. Vanderbilt University psychologists have found that our visual perception can be contaminated by memories of what we have recently seen, impairing our ability to properly understand and act on what we are currently seeing.” –Science Daily

Writing Prompt: Write a scene about an accident that occurs because your protagonist was focused on something that happened in the past.

Journaling Prompt: Write about your experience of losing time because your mind was lost in memories.

Art Prompt: Crash

Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Talk to your audience about the dangers of distracted driving.

Photo Credit: Toronto History on Flickr

bearded old man

Humans are, by nature, superstitious beings. Our brain is always trying to make sense of the world, and what it can’t explain logically eventually becomes the basis for myth and superstition. Superstitions create anxiety, which requires the use of ritual for calming. Superstitions are not always individual manifestations. they are frequently cultural. And thus we arrive at today’s quote:

…milk was put every Saturday for Greogach, or ‘the Old Man with the Long Beard.’ Whether Greogach was courted as kind, or dreaded as terrible, whether they meant, by giving him the milk, to obtain good, or avert evil, I was not informed. -Samuel Johnson, Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland (free for your Kindle or Kindle software

Writing Prompt: Make a list of the irrational beliefs (superstitions) that each of your characters has. How do they affect their behavior?

Journaling Prompt: Write about a superstition that you have and how it affects your behavior.

Art Prompt: Superstition

Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a humorous story about a superstition that got you in trouble.

Photo Credit: medium as muse on Flickr