Pleasant little habits

I bought a new car a few months ago, and I grew fond of it fairly quickly. It’s one of those things I’ll end up using a lot, so I like the idea of making it feel more meaningful and personal to me. I named it Hopper because when I first got it, I often noticed grasshoppers hanging out on its exterior.

One thing I like to have available in the car when I go places is hand sanitizer. I got in the habit of using it when I would go anywhere during the pandemic. So I got one of those little bottles with a nice smell. That way I could build up a pleasant smell memory when I got into the car.

A little grasshopper car buddy my parents got me for Hopper

At some point, I got a tin of wintergreen mints. Eventually I developed a habit where any time I got in the car after being out somewhere, I would apply the hand sanitizer and have a mint. It turned out to be a great way of making my car a comfortable place for me. The sensory familiarity was kind of a little reset for my mood.

People sometimes refer to these kinds of habits as “rituals”, but to me, that term places too much weight on them. I considered calling them “ritules”, as in little rituals, but I thought that sounded a little dumb and was still a lot like “rituals”. Also, if I did that, people would see the title and think I just misspelled “rituals”.

Anyway, I think habits like this seem useful and nice to have. You can use them to make something mundane a little more meaningful, or help shift your mindset. I’d like to maybe add some more to my life.

But I don’t know if I can just decide to do them and implement them “from the top down”, so to speak. The mint and hand sanitizer habit just developed naturally, and I still only do it when I feel like doing it. It seems like when it comes to developing meaningful and pleasant small habits, it’s a better idea to just try some things that seem nice and see what sticks.

Do you have any pleasant little habits or rituals? Did you start them “top-down”, or did they develop naturally? Have you named your car (or bike, jacket, house, computer, etc.)? Let me know your thoughts at my Ctrl-C email: gome ​@ ​