Habit: a behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition or physiologic exposure that shows itself in regularity or increased facility of performance. The takeaway: habits are awesome, if they're GOOD habits. Habits are the result of doing the same thing over and over again, until you naturally do it without thinking about it very much. When setting a lifelong goal, habit will naturally come with enough practice.
When you first try do to anything new repetitively, i.e. work out 4x per week; it is VERY HARD in the beginning. Why? Because you're replacing an old habit that previously took up that time space, and are attempting to replace it with a new one. If you're like most people, your days often look nearly the same day after day. You have a morning routine, even if it's a rushed one. This routine consists of a group of habits you've formed. First, coffee. Of course. Then, browsing social media or the news. Then, once time has sped past you, you're rushing into the shower and considering if you really need to eat breakfast. You dress, top off your coffee, and fly out the door. Or maybe you're an early riser and have already accomplished quite a few tasks, fit in a work out, and you leisurely keep the speed limit on your way to work. Both people in this little narrative have habits. Because of the habits these people have formed, their lives are going similar, better, or worse than yours. Although they are hard to form and to break, you're going to have habits either way. It they're not good habits, they're likely bad or less-than-ideal ones. But I have some great news: forming new habits does not take very long. 30-90 days. That's it. In the grand scheme of your life, what is 1-3 months of trying very hard to change it for the rest of your life? It's nothing, right? That's the mindset. That's the thing that you can keep reminding yourself of while you're in the habit-forming stage.
Things to keep in mind when deciding to form a new habit:
What am I replacing with this new habit?
Why am I trying to form this new habit?
What are some obstacles (link) that might get in the way of me accomplishing this change?
The same thinking can be applied to replacing old habits. The beautiful thing, is that every day you follow your plan, it's easier to do it the next time. You are slowly and steadily rewiring your own brain pathways. Take it one day, week, and month at a time, and before you know it, you'll be looking back saying, “Well, that wasn't so bad.”
Thank you for investing in your health!
Jenna Reddish NT Contributor