Verbatim Column

What are some new habits you want to develop?

Are there optimal times to develop new habits? Certainly, at the beginning of a new year is a traditional time to set a resolution to change elements of our lives that we deem need improvement. During the past year-plus, I’ve heard from many friends and colleagues that they took the unknown stretch of time of the pandemic to polish up some areas of their lives. As the heating season puts many of our lives into overdrive, what do our colleagues say about habits they want to adopt?

In this column, adopted from the familiar “Heard on the Street” format, we offer our responders a chance to answer the question posed in the title. These are their replies reported verbatim.



Measure twice – cut once!! This is an age old saying in the trade field used for making good decisions and avoiding mistakes. I would like to repurpose this for myself.

I would say a new habit I would like to start is ‘consider twice – speak once”.  In this time in history with the attacks on our industry and political challenges we face, sometimes I have a tendency to speak before I think. (Right Eric Kuster, LOL) I am however, Italian, so I’m not sure keeping my opinions to myself is really in my wheelhouse.

Judy Taranovich

Proctor Gas

Proctor, Vermont


New habits I want to develop:

  1. Meditation daily
  2. Gratitude journal daily
  3. A walk outside daily
  4. Reading 30 minutes a day the myriads of business books I have with the goal of reading them all!

That is my habit stack!

Laurie Irish-Jones

Irish Propane

Buffalo, New York


Some habits I would like to implement or improve on are…casual conversation with every team, having intentional one on one time with each of my kids, scheduled think time, and drinking the recommended amount of water every day.

Lauren Clark


Toledo, Ohio


I’d like to develop the habit of being present in the “now”…not distracted by thoughts of reliving the past or anticipating the future. Unless, of course, the time is right for doing that.

Bruce Swiecicki

National Propane Gas Association

Tinley Park, Illinois


I would say active listening and being 100% engaged in a conversation.  I have a tendency to multi-task through conversations which leads to assumptions and misunderstandings.  On a personal level it hinders a meaningful relationship and in a business setting it erodes both team cohesion and trust. The good news is active listening can be acquired and developed with practice.  If I can master this very important skillset, the results will be tremendous and the rewards bountiful!

Hayley Karicofe


Churchville, Virginia



New Habits I’d like to develop:

I’ve spent so many years working long hours that I’d like to get a better balance in my life.  I’d like to get back to doing Yoga.  I’m trying to get in a habit of getting more sleep.  I just learned how to play pickleball, so I hope to play that more and work less as I near retirement!

Susan Peterson

Rural Computer Consultants

Bird Island, Minnesota


I really need to improve my exercise habits. When I go to the gym regularly I feel better physically and I am able to be more productive.

Jason Soulon

Westmor Industries

Shawnee, Kansas



Like many people, we live busy, hectic, and sometimes stressful lives!  One of the habits I need to develop is to remind myself to take time to enjoy the little opportunities life offers. For instance, I received a nice note from a friend the other day just to let me know she is thinking of me.  It was so kind of her but made me think that I need to send more notes like that!  It is easy to forget that while those little things don’t necessarily have to take that much extra time, they brighten someone’s day.  And the rewards received in return are countless!

Rosie Buschur

McMahan’s Bottle Gas

Dayton, Ohio


In my efforts to continually improve my business life, I would like to improve on my management of people and clear communications to my staff and customers. In my personal life, I am always trying to be the best person I can be. One habit to improve is a more positive outlook on life. Also making more time for my family. I have six grandchildren and I try to visit with them one on one as often as I can. We share stories and talk about anything they want. I try to help them become great people.

Ed Varney

Rego Products

 McKinney, Texas


When I think of the word habit, and its meaning to me, automatically my immediate thought process indicates that it is something “bad”, too much of, or too little of. The inference is lack of discipline. A few examples would be procrastination, eating too much fast food on the run, or not enough visits to Planet Fitness to workout.   There are numerous definitions of habit that makes sense to me; A recurrent, often unconscious pattern of behavior that is acquired through frequent repetition (Park in empty spots so my car doesn’t get dinged) something that you do often and regularly, sometimes without knowing that you are doing it (Look both ways before you cross a street), or a customary practice (Getting Up early).

I am trying to work on developing and maintaining new habits that will contribute to self-improvement and harmony

  1. Do a better job of connecting and fostering relationships, with relatives, friends, and business associates
  2. Focus on eating healthier foods and exercise
  3. Explore ways to find time to “chillax”-relax and spend more quality time with my immediate family

Jerry Schimmel

P3 Propane Safety

Cumberland, Rhode Island


I would like to be more intentional about spending quiet time in reflection.  When I reflect at the end of the day, I remember the person’s facial expressions during a conversation that I had missed at the time.  I notice if I was too abrupt or confusing when it comes to my communication style.  Reflection teaches me things I missed in the moment like a smile or a smell.  After reading a book or hearing a presentation reflection teaches me how I can apply the new knowledge to problems and/or circumstances in my life. Our world is so fast-paced, we all need to slow down, get quiet and reflect.

Julie Johnson

Ted Johnson Propane

Baldwin Park, California



Although there’s an effort made here to sort these replies, there is an overlapping reality that many of the habits we might take on affect all three of these areas of our lives. Isn’t it true (or possible) that a game of pickleball can lift the spirits, add to fitness, and create better mental acuity?

I tapped into a few blogs on making/breaking/keeping habits. From the behavioral experts, the collective wisdom is that new habits we want to tackle have the best chance for success if we begin small. The idea is to make it so simple that we have no excuse not to do the new habit. A couple examples that resonated were (1) making an increase in weights during workouts very slowly to give the body a chance to adapt and strengthen and (2) rather than setting a goal of 10 minutes a day to meditate, begin with one minute. A strategy to start small feels easy—it takes away the excuses of not starting and eliminates the need to wait for that lightning bolt of motivation.

Another blog suggested tying in a new habit to an existing habit. This involves looking for patterns in our days and thinking about how we can create new, positive ones. Many of us have morning routines that are our strongest routines, so the experts suggest that is a great place to “stack on a new habit.” They say the key to habit developing is to make tiny commitments and focus on small wins. The old-fashioned approach of incremental progress is the current day recommendation. Dedicated commitment is still what has proven to lead to change.


Nancy Coop, Cetane Associates


This column was first published in the November 2021 issue of Butane-Propane News.

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