I have a theory that every person on the planet has at least one hygiene related bad habit, something that nobody but their SO (if they have an SO) knows about. For me, its that I’m awful at brushing my teeth. It’s the one daily habit that my mother never managed to impress upon me, so most days I just completely forget that its something I should do. My wife tries to remind me of it, but we both know that too much of that gets annoying, so sometimes I would go a week without remembering to brush.

Our house has two bathrooms, both identical. One sits directly outside our bedroom, the other sits directly outside my office and is closer to the utility room, placing its shower directly next to the water heater. Because of this, the office bathroom has always been the shower we use. We have not once used the shower by our bedroom. However, since it’s right there, we’ve always kept our toothbrushes in the bathroom by our bedroom.

Still with me now? I know that wasn’t exactly exciting reading.

Since our daughter was born, our bathroom habits have changed. The bathroom outside our bedroom door also sits directly outside our daughter’s bedroom door. The last thing any parent ever wants to do is wake up their child in the middle of the night, because that always ends in tears. Thus, we have completely stopped using that bathroom. If we wake in the middle of the night, we walk across the house to the second bathroom so that the noise of the toilet flushing isn’t possible audible to our child (plus the doors tend to stick and make a loud pop sound when you open them).

One night, when my daughter was sick and especially crabby, my wife moved the toothbrushes to the office bathroom. Since then, every time I step out of the shower, I see the brush sitting there and I remember to use it. Every night as I leave the office to go to bed, I walk past it and I remember to brush. The simple act of changing something that logically should have no impact, completely altered my behavior.