Lately I’ve been thinking about the role of habits in my life. Without habits, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Back at the start of 2016, after extraordinary frustrations with my health, I decided it was time to take things into my own hands. If doctors couldn’t figure out what was going on, and I was still exhausted and uncomfortable, it was time to make a change.
I knew that the one area where I was, without a doubt, not maintaining a healthy lifestyle, was my exercise routine. I loved to dance, and I loved to walk, and I even loved yoga, but between financial limitations, a busy schedule, and just kinda being lazy about it, I never seemed to stick with an exercise routine with any regularity.
I knew that for me to stick with it, for good, I needed to make exercising super simple. So in mid-January, I woke up a half hour earlier than usual, and I did yoga poses and stretches for five minutes. I’d told myself that as long as I did something that qualified as exercising or stretching, it would count.
The next day, I did the same, for five minutes.
The pattern held. Perhaps five days in, on a weekend, I decided I could afford a longer workout. But I kept that five minute minimum in place.
With this simple habit in place, I started experimenting. I’d go for seven minutes, or ten minutes. Over time, since I was already showing up and dressed to exercises, I’d exercise for 15 minutes, and soon a half hour was more of the norm.
Eventually I raised the bar to 15 minutes. And I began waking up even earlier, so that most days, I’d exercise for at least a half hour. I started a Beachbody trial and began experimenting with different workout programs. Later I purchased a favorite one, with strength training, and as I hit the road in an RV, I started a daily walking habit. It stuck. I’ve been doing it ever since.
In early December, after realizing I didn’t even average 5,000 steps anymore (thanks, pandemic!), I decided I wanted to average at least 5,000 steps daily over the course of a week. With that knowledge and a bit of accountability in our Facebook group, I was there, and then averaging 7,500.
Now, in mid-March, I’m averaging more than 10,000 steps a day. I never would have thought it was possible, but the power of habits made it come to life. I made it easy, built on my existing walking habit, and I used a tracker and the accountability of my social media feed and my Facebook group.
Have you ever done this before? Have you successfully established a new habit? It’s something I’ve repeated many times.
I created a habit of batch cooking to help me successfully adapt the auto-immune protocol diet and lifestyle back in 2016, even living in an RV. I used habits to build a morning routine that lights me up in 2018, and over time used habit stacking to make it more and more fun and aligned for me. I’ve used habits to develop an evening routine too. And of course, my habit of making healthy eating choices the majority of the time continues to serve me well – established when I was a kid but improved upon many, many times over my life. (And yes, there’s a place for ice cream in a healthy diet!)
We talk habits in my group, where we focus on a different healthy habit each month. So far this year we’ve tackled “More Steps”, “Decluttering”, and are currently drinking less, or in a dry month, like me.
And in my new course, habits are a very important part of what we study, with an entire week of the eight week course devoted to habits exclusively.
Are you aware of the habits you have? Which ones serve you, and which habits would you like to get rid of? Are you working on any new habits this year?
Leave a comment and let me know – I’d love to hear any tips and support you in any struggles you’re having.
Thanks for reading, and have a great week!
P.S. If your habits include boondocking (staying in an RV without hookups), now is the time to purchase a Harvest Hosts membership! Support this blog by purchasing yours here, and you’ll enjoy a year full of stays at wineries, farms, museums, and other amazing sites across the U.S. and even into Canada. Some of our favorite stays have been at Harvest Hosts. It’s fun to meet new people, enjoy delicious food and drink or fun things like alpaca farms or ice cream and live music. Harvest Hosts NEW member prices are going up to $99/yr in April, 2021. If you buy a membership now, it’s only $67.15 a year after a 15% discount. This link will lock in this rate forever, regardless of how much the prices increase in the future. Save over $30 off the new price on a whole year of unlimited overnight stays!
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