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Habit Inertia

The easiest thing to do is keep status quo. Change is hard (duh). Doing anything different is a pain in the butt, and unless it’s forced or I’m particularly motivated, I inevitably choose the path of less resistance. I think that’s human nature. And I’ve been struggling with my nature for the last few weeks.

Take, for example, my latest quest to engrain habits. You may recall my latest claim that I would:

  • Exercise for 45 minutes 3 times weekly
  • Go to bed by 10:30pm every week night

And this was on top of the other habits I felt I’d already engrained and/or wanted to further solidify:

  • Blog 2 times weekly
  • Drink 8 glasses of water daily
  • Eat salad daily
  • Floss daily
  • Go 1 day every week without TV
  • Take multivitamins daily. Finish all currently owned bottles of multivitamins

I confess that this process has been harder than I expected. You might think some of these habits would be easy to learn, but then you’d be overly optimistic and quite unaware of the level of laziness I am capable of. I’m not trying to make excuses… I’m just being realistic. I’ve dropped the ball and, though I’ve picked it back up a few times, like anyone having difficulty trying to get their head back in the game, I seem to keep fumbling.

Whoa that’s a lot of sports analogy, and I don’t even like most sports. But it works. Just go with it.

All of the goals I’ve set for myself this year require some level of effort, but I’m finding the habits the most difficult. Perhaps this is a lesson in the fact that habits cannot be forced. Perhaps I’ve taken on too many or set expectations too high. Perhaps what I thought I needed to make my life better or healthier wasn’t actually necessary. Maybe I’m just lazy. Maybe it’s a combination of all of the above.

Or maybe it’s that setting a goal to create a habit is, in itself, just way too broad. I’ve wondered for a few months now whether I might have more success if I assigned a timeline to these habits. The whole idea might seem more manageable if I’m only required to put forth the effort into a weekly or monthly challenge rather than an indefinite, and therefore seemingly impossible, one. So like I amended my goal to take multivitamins, I’ve decided to amend my other habit-based goals as follows:

  1. Blog 2 times weekly until my 31st birthday.
  2. Drink 8 glasses of water daily for 2 weeks straight.
  3. Eat dinner at the kitchen table every week night in December.
  4. Eat salad daily for 2 weeks straight.
  5. Exercise for 45 minutes 3 times weekly in November.
  6. Floss 4 times weekly until my 31st birthday.
  7. Go 1 day every week without TV in January.
  8. Go to bed by 10:30pm every week night in February.
  9. Keep a gratitude journal daily in November.
  10. Reduce alcohol intake to 5 drinks or less weekly.
  11. Take multivitamins daily. Finish all currently owned bottles of multivitamins.

I didn’t amend my goal around alcohol intake because since I made this goal I realized how little I normally drink anyways, and I’ve been pleased to discover that I meet this goal on a regular basis. I’m preparing to go without alcohol completely in a few months anyways, and I’m fairly confident I’ll have no trouble with this.

So for the rest of November I’m going to specifically focus on exercising and showing gratitude. I’m hoping that the increased endorphins combined with the positive reflection will create a winning atmosphere. Okay, where’s that ball… I think I’m ready to score now.

S

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2 comments on “Habit Inertia

  1. Love it 🙂 You have such a great way of making me laugh and inspiring me at the same time.

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