Choosing New Habits

I have been thinking a lot about habits these last few months. And as much as I believe that as humans we can be spontaneous, creative, and adventurous, I’m believing more and more that we are essentially creatures of habit. There is much written about this. One of my favorite bloggers, Leo Baboata writes about this often at ZenHabits. My husband has finished a fascinating read called 12 Brain Rules which attests to the grooves in our brain borne out of habits. As we educate our children, we lean heavily towards a Charlotte Mason philosophy which emphasizes the training of habits from a very early age. And as we consult with customers about their strengths, we often speak about “scripts” that we live out, which are ultimately years and years of personality habits and patterns.

So, why now? Why are habits top of mind for me now? Well, any time we are attempting something new, we choose to create a new habit. Now, this is different from say those one time experiences, like going sky diving or taking an exotic vacation.  When we desire real, deep, long-lasting change, vigilance is required to make it a habit. We must continually choose it.

For me, right now, there are a few habits I’m focused on:

1. Staying in shape – I’ve always been a very active person, but for the last several years, I’ve suffered from plantar fasciitis which has inhibited my running progress.  Running had always been my “weight control,” but now that it is limited, I have an extra number of pounds that are quite attached to my body.  So, recently, I’ve been working on strengthening my core in hopes that it will affect my ability to run. I have several exercises including planks, sit-ups, and lunges that I do every morning before I leave my room. In addition, I’ve been much more vigilant about icing my feet. And aside from these two daily rituals, I’ve just begun with a simple habit of drinking more water (with lemon) throughout the day and only snacking on fruits and veggies.  I must say that I was stellar at all of these habits for a whole  two weeks! I actually thought I had “mastered” these habits. But nope. I hit a dip for a couple days. I’m assuming all the research is correct.  You really have to stick with something for 28-30 days consistently for it to become automatic.

2. Social Media – I have always loved meeting new people and keeping in touch with people. Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest would have been “dreams” of mine in high school or college to stay connected with friends or scrapbook my favorite things. But now, with so many things pulling in different directions, I have neglected these technologies a bit. Because I haven’t “grown” with them, it now requires an intentional new habit to “tweet,” “post,” or “pin.”  While this is typically “fun” for me, I’m understanding more and more that this is necessary for staying connected in this new economy and growing a business.

3. Writing – When inspired, writing is quite fun and enjoyable. It is almost unstoppable, when a new idea or insight sparks, or when a unique experience takes place that just needs to be shared.  I’ve said this before, but those inspirations aren’t typically scheduled. I’m learning from my husband’s tried and true habits. When that lightbulb idea hits, have a way to capture it quickly and easily – tweet it, pin it, write it in Google Tasks, or start a draft of a post. Then, when the window of time opens up, you will have a handful of thoughts and ideas to pull from. As much as I am able, I will have a general regular time that I sit to write, and overall have a general aim to publish content more frequently.

What about you? What new habit are you trying to work towards? Which bad habit might you like to swap out with a better one?

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