Day 21: I’m a habitual…

Happy three week anniversary. Three weeks. Twenty-one posts, twenty-one thought bubbles, twenty-one days of writing. It’s been said that it takes 21 days to develop and form a habit, for better or worse. So often we think of habits in terms of “bad habits” or even addictions. But it is the good habits we set in place that break the ties on the bad ones. What I have not highly advertised is that I also decided to invoke a few other challenges during this 30 day time frame involving habits, mostly out of sheer curiosity.

Running in the background of this 30 day blog challenge were goals of doing other things consistently for 30 days, some of which I have stuck to and others…well, not so much. I decided to track some of the little habits that in my mind I thought I had under control or in order, but found out that when actually tracking by tick marks and calendar dates discovered are not all that habitual. Little things, like taking my vitamins, flossing, drinking 60-80 ounces of water daily, and walking. The focus on walking was mostly to set aside time each day to relax and enjoy this wonderful mountain scenery I’m so blessed to live in for the moment–and to get my beefy dog Scottie out and in shape for a trail I want to tackle in a few weeks. The longest walk I’ve taken him on so far is 3 1/2 miles. We’ve got some work to do.

So how am I doing on my various challenges so far? Writing? Check. Walking. Check and check. (Although there was a two day period when I got sick with the Mexican blarney or some type of food poisoning where I was lucky to be able to walk to the park across the street and back. Blech blech.) Water consumption? Some days are better than others depending on my activities, but I’m a water junkie so I didn’t think this one would be that hard. Surprisingly, I wasn’t as consistent as I thought and found myself having to put a little more focus and effort behind raising a glass and not being parched. Vitamins? Ok, this is where I started falling apart. I forgot to pack them on my week-long adventure to Denver, so on that I can’t claim consistency on. And the flossing? I know how often I’m supposed to be doing it, and yet even when I try and make an effort towards it I’m good at avoiding that too. *sigh* Can’t win ’em all.

My point being, we all know the basics of good health and yet when it really comes down to it, how often are we really consistently practicing the good habits that we know to do? Before this little experiment I had in my head that I was better at doing these things than what I really was. Interesting. Good intentions don’t make good habits. As disappointing as it was to discover that part of myself, on a positive note, I do know that by consciously tracking these little habits I have become more aware and eventually more consistent at doing them.

Why put focus behind such little things like this? Because I believe that it is the little things that we do on a daily basis that create the building blocks for the bigger habits that affect us on a larger scale. If we are consistent and diligent on the little things, the bigger things will fall into place and be easier in the long run. Details do make a difference. Little things do matter. A lot.

For me, even something as little as making the bed in the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. Something that takes as little as 90 seconds can change the entire demeanor of a room and make me feel like I did something productive to start the day. I laugh because my mom owns and runs a bed & breakfast–I think it’s in my DNA to desire a made bed with a million pillows. It’s been ingrained in me. This is not a habit I have to struggle with, but I do notice that if for some reason it doesn’t get done, something feels “off.” I read somewhere that people who make their bed in the morning tend to be more productive and successful in life. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I’ll take it!

So over the next 30 days I’m choosing to take notice of the little things, the little choices, and the little habits. I’m sure some I will develop and set into concrete as I continue to focus and put effort behind them, others I’m sure will fade into the background as I set other priorities. And that’s what it really boils down to anyways…priorities. When we take a little bit of time to notice where our priorities lie, we can adjust as necessary to start heading in the direction we really want to go. And there are two directions I want to go…positive and forward.

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QUOTABLE QUOTES FROM PEOPLE MUCH SMARTER THAN I:

Webster’s Dictionary Definition:

hab·it

1 /ˈhabɪt/ Show Spelled [hab-it] noun

1.) an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary: the habit of looking both ways before crossing the street.
2.) customary practice or use: Daily bathing is an American habit.
3.) a particular practice, custom, or usage: the habit of shaking hands.
4.) a dominant or regular disposition or tendency; prevailing character or quality: She has a habit of looking at the bright side of things.
5.) addiction, especially to narcotics

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