Friday, July 25, 2014
Twenty-One Days Does a Habit Make by Debra H. Goldstein
Twenty-one Days Does a Habit MakeExercise has always been an anathema to me. I hate the idea of glistening, smelling, or messing up my hair. My idea of joy tends to be sedentary: reading, writing, talking or watching a show. Unfortunately, recently I was forced to embrace the concept of exercise. I shuddered at the thought and then wondered if I should buy some cute clothing to make it palatable.I rejected the idea of spending a penny on something I knew would be a temporary activity. Instead, I went to a shoe sale at my favorite store that carries a wide selection of 6.5 Ns and spent my clothing budget on something I would enjoy. You may recall, in my earlier blogs, I have admitted my “I’m not going to buy anything” resolve slips for two things: shoes and books. Nothing I purchased resembled a sneaker. My logic was simple – why waste money on something that would soon be relegated to a back shelf. For twenty-one gym sessions, I groaned, made jokes, and thought about ways to avoid the treadmill, free weights, and recumbent bicycle, but on the twenty-second day something funny happened. I woke up looking forward to wasting my time at the gym. By the thirtieth day, a Sunday, I felt something was lacking when rain forced me to cancel my plans to take a long walk. Who would have thought I would be the poster child for “do something twenty-one times and you’ll develop a habit?” Not me. The reality is that I think exercise has become a habit. The problem is that it is encroaching on other elements in my life.Exercising and allowing for recovery from it cuts into my “hit and miss when the mood moves me” writing style. This type of writing style requires waiting for the muse to strike. There is no predictability of what project will be undertaken or when. Excuses and other activities leave few hours for writing, but there are even fewer available because of the amount of time taken up by exercising.What to do? The answer seems simple enough. If twenty-one days produced a desire to exercise consistently then, perhaps, the same method can be used to make my writing efforts more balanced. I’m three days into the experiment and so far, I’ve finished a novel (keep your fingers crossed), wrote and submitted a short story, and tackled this blog. I don’t expect years of work habits to be discarded overnight, but I have a funny feeling that eighteen days from now I will be boasting two new habits. If so, expect me to report that I’ve bought a pair of real exercise pants (and maybe a new pair of sneakers) plus written something I’m pleased with. In the meantime, I’m curious. What have you done for twenty-one days that has resulted in a sustained new behavior? Do you think I’ll make it?