Alyssa is a wife, mom, and coffee enthusiast who loves sharing her favorite lifestyle tips with the world.
Almost two decades ago, I was sitting in my boss' office for my first performance evaluation. Despite my confidence in my work ethic, I was a little nervous. This was a job I had wanted with my whole heart and I wanted a good score. Perfectionism runs in my blood stream and I pride myself on doing well in all areas of my life. While I can't recall the entire conversation, one piece sticks out distinctly in my mind: the disappointment I felt not receiving a perfect score and my boss' response. I was given only good feedback on my evaluation. Nothing I had been doing was wrong and I wasn't given any constructive criticism. The reason I missed one point from a perfect score? My boss said something that day that has stuck with me through the years:
"There's always room for improvement."
On that occasion, I was left confused and frustrated. How was I supposed to improve when I didn't receive any negative remarks or guidance? The only reason I didn't receive a perfect score was because she never gave a perfect score. It was her personal belief that there was always room for improvement, no matter how good the performance.
As the years went by, I started to better understand where she was coming from. While I don't agree with her method, I do agree with her sentiment.
We should all strive to be the best version of ourselves. Never stop learning, never stop growing, never stop trying to improve.
The genre of self-help is built on this concept. There is a plethora of articles and books on how to live your best life by breaking bad habits and developing good ones. Sometimes, however, what is perceived as a bad habit isn't actually that bad after all.
Below are four habits I have that may seem bad at first glance, but in reality are actually good. In my opinion, at least.
1. Drinking Diet Soda
Every month or so, without fail, a new food or beverage is deemed unhealthy. As time passes, opinions change and the food or beverage is declared healthy. Flip flops like these occur so often I'm surprised we don't all have chronic whiplash. Eggs are the food that first comes to mind when I think of this situation. One minute they're healthy, and the next we're supposed to stay away from them. A few years later, it turns out, eggs are good for you. Who knew?
I don't subscribe to a specific diet. To support my fitness goals and fuel my body, I pay attention to portion size and how the foods I consume make me feel. This is what works best for me and why fix what's not broken?
I went through stages in my life where I quit drinking soda altogether, and I even wrote an entire article discussing how to do it. Plenty of people set this as a goal and there's nothing wrong that.
Here's the thing, though. I just enjoy diet Mountain Dew. It's delicious and it gives me an extra boost of caffeine.
I mentioned the scenario above because diet soda is one of those contentious topics. A few years ago, people vehemently claimed that it caused cancer and contributed to weight gain. Nowadays experts say there's no credible evidence linking diet soda to cancer. The amounts of artificial sweetener and chemicals found in diet soda are perfectly safe for most people.
As for me, I'll keep drinking diet Mountain Dew. Most regular soda is too sweet for my stomach and I don't like drinking my calories. I drink plenty of plain water throughout the day, and sometimes I'll add MIO, but at this stage of my life, even Crystal Light doesn't settle well. After my coffee wears off, the diet Mountain Dew gives me that extra kick I need to get through the day. It's a beverage I'll keep enjoying.
I love words and increasing my vocabulary. Last year, I had a word-a-day calendar, and learning a new word each day was insightful and fun.
In my daily interactions, I'm always polite and respectful. However, I have no qualms about using more colorful language. It's all about knowing when and where such words are appropriate and acting accordingly.
While some find swearing uncouth and appalling, others don't bat an eye. It can be liberating, an expression of self, and a way to deal with circumstances that are beyond our own control. Sometimes a loud declaration of a four letter word is all that's needed to feel better.
3. Reading Before Bed
This might seem innocent enough. Reading is considered to be a good thing and there are countless articles that actually encourage people to read more. How could this be considered a bad habit?
If you had asked me my opinion on eBooks ten years ago, I would have wrinkled my nose and told you they weren't for me. There's nothing like the feel of a physical book in your hands, and the smell of the paper? It's pure heaven. However, life changes. For the past few years, I've taken advantage of the OverDrive app, and more recently, the Libby app.
In order to fit reading into my daily life, it's more convenient and efficient to use the app on my phone. There, I can easily check out books, place holds, and even request my libraries to purchase the titles I'm interested in. No longer do I need to worry about due dates or wrangle with a flashlight and a physical book. I just pull the app up on my phone and start reading.
According to numerous sources, using your phone before bed can disrupt your sleep cycle. It all has to do with the blue light emitted, and I would argue, what you're doing on your phone. For me, reading on my phone helps me wind down from the day. It allows me to relax and, I think, actually improves my quality of sleep. I'm not too worried about the blue light thing. I turn the brightness down on my phone and the Libby app is automatically tuned to dark mode. The only real issue is putting the phone down to sleep. It takes a lot of strength and discipline to hold myself accountable to the promise of one more chapter, but I usually don't have too much trouble.
4. Tracking Calories
Fitness trends come and go, but the past few years have given rise to an anti-diet movement. Much can be said about this topic, but that's not the focus of this article.
For some, tracking calories is seen as problematic. For others, it's essential to meet or maintain a fitness goal. I'm part of the latter group. Most people recognize me from my passion for fitness, and I haven't kept my struggles and methods of success a secret. I love to exercise and I also love food. For years, those two were at odds with each other. It wasn't until I got serious about how many calories I was consuming that I started to see progress.
Keeping track of my calories helped me reach my fitness goal, and it helps me maintain my hard work. When I stop paying attention and slack off, my body shows it. I know if I want to keep my figure, I need to stay on top of my diet. For me, this means tracking my calories using MyFitnessPal. It's that simple.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Alyssa