Habits: It’s all or nothing


I’ve been reading Gretchen Rubin’s book ‘Happier at Home’ in little snippets whenever I can find pockets of time enough to accommodate a paragraph or two. The book is generally a very easy read and I glossed over some parts but something that caught my eye was this:

““I’m not tempted by things I’ve decided are off-limits, but once I’ve started something, I have trouble stopping. If I never do something, it requires no self-control for me; if I do something sometimes, it requires enormous self-control.”

She either does something consistently, or doesn’t do it at all. She offers an example of junk food: she just chooses not to eat it. Deciding cut-off points and limits is just too burdensome a decision for her. Another example that she gives is exercise: carving out a schedule of working out a few days a week is a sure recipe for inconsistency, and therefore, failure. What is almost foolproof is simply committing to exercising every single day, preferably setting a routine to do an activity (such as walking) daily, preferably at the same time and in the same way.

I get it.

How many times have I whipped out my calendar and set up timetables for exercising, meditating, drinking water, writing, etc etc, all for them to fail within a week of two? I always feel terrible about not sticking to my timetables.  On the other hand, I have been walking my kids to school (and back) everyday for the past few months without penciling in ‘exercise’ into my calendar. This is just something that I do routinely everyday.  I don’t have to think about it as exercise (even though it is) and I don’t have this cloud of guilt hanging over my head for a task not accomplished. Walking is not a chore anymore, it’s a habit. I feel better now than I have felt in a long time, all from a simple act of consistency.

What about you…..What do you want to do consistently to develop it into a habit?

 

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