Importance of Habit
How frequency and consistency will make your life more productive
Sometimes I feel like a topic is so simple that I don’t need to elaborate on it. Then I run through a season in my own life that I need a bit of a pep-talk or reinforcement of the most obvious things! Habit is one of those topics that keeps coming up in my circles. How do we start them? How do we break them? How do we make it manageable? How can we stick with it when life is so chaotic? All great questions, and hopefully we can find some clarity in them!
The first thing we must realize about habits are they are a thing of repetition. I know, big revelation, right? Being comfortable with this fact is the key to success in creating or breaking them though! I know the biggest set-back in adjusting my habits is the one day where nothing goes according to plan. I feel as if I have failed, all my work was for nothing and that I may never get it right. I forget about the five days or five weeks that I got it right! When we realize that repetition is a daily thing (and that we get a brand NEW day , EVERY day) we can focus on the positive and rather than attacking ourselves, learn from the situation and know that we get another chance to be better tomorrow!
The second thing to understand with habits is the idea of frequency. If we are trying to create a habit of weekly cleaning, that may prove more difficult than a daily touch up since the majority of the time it is not part of our routine. Now, things that don’t happen daily are just as important as things that do – if I want my living room plants to live, they need water once a week – but having a habit or daily routines is more beneficial to creating lasting success. Even if we start with the simplest of exercises, making the bed in the morning, we are creating the habit of productivity, making it easier to add to our list of tasks! While simple and meaningless on the surface, the manageable, quick and easy task of making the bed jump starts our habit machine brain into a state of “I set out to do something today, and the first thing I did was accomplish it!”
The third thing to understand with habits is the idea of consistency. Experts claim that habits are made or broken with three weeks of consistency, and there is some truth to that. If you’ve ever set out with the big idea of reinventing your routine, the first week is usually pretty easy because you are excited about the changes you’re making! If you’re anything like me, however, that second week usually falls apart. As excitement wanes and old patterns take over, we fall back to our old, worn in rut and often don’t make the changes we want. Take the habit that we stick with over time; somewhere around a month in we don’t even think about it as part of our routine, it just IS a part of our routine. We don’t have to force it, it comes naturally as breathing. A great example of this for me is my morning reading; every day I start my mind on God’s word before I let anything else enter my mind. Even on mornings I sleep in, miss the gym or get everything right, it is second nature to open an app on my phone, digest the verse of the day and then get down to business. Did I stumble the first few weeks? Yes! When I started the habit it actually took me two years to finally finish a one year reading plan, I was so discombobulated. But now that it is truly habit, I almost never miss a day, and it makes a difference.
Whatever your relationship with habits, be they intentional and desired or unconsciousness and disliked, you have the power to change them. Sure, it takes a bit of time, effort and attention, but with a true desire and a willing heart we can accomplish just about anything we set out to do. Especially forming our daily lives and habits to our wishes. Even when we miss the mark, we get the chance to catch up and start over the next day.
The place this shows up for me every day is taking care of families in the office. Those that carve time out of their schedule, even if it is only once a week, get the most out of care and achieve better health quicker. Make sure in this season of summer and vacation to take ten minutes out of your week to keep your head on straight, and when folks are amazed at how easy it is for you to relax and be healthy let them know your secret habit: chiropractic!
In the words of Churchill, never, never, never give up!