Years ago I saw someone on a talk show talking about forming good habits. I think it was Deepak Chopra, maybe on Oprah but I am not sure.
The basic idea was that it took 21 days to form a habit. It makes sense you do something everyday for 21 days in a row and it’s likely that you will keep doing it. You wake up every morning for work at 6:15 and it’s likely after a month or so that you are going to be waking up at that early every morning even on the weekends.
I guess the real trick is staying with the non essential tasks for the three weeks. It’s easy to stick with the things you have to do, like going to work, feeding the dog and cooking dinner. The other stuff like exercising, relaxing and eating right is a little harder to start and keeping going.
I’ve tried it before and I’ve had mixed results. I’ve exercised every day until Day 20, something happens and I never get back to it. I’ve tried to give up Dr Pepper and never got past a few days.
Here is my story of success, and honestly, only a parent will understand this. My success story is showering every day. When I was working I would shower in the morning like most everybody else in the free world. After Boo was born and I was home everyday things changed. If was difficult to shower first thing since Boo would get up early. Most days I would shower during her nap, some days though it would be after I did a specific chore like working in the garage or cleaning the kitty box. The day would be crazy and I would be showering right before dinner, or right after or I’d be lying in bed thinking, ‘oh crap, I never showered today.’ On really bad days, I’d have missed the shower the day before and still didn’t get around to it until dinner time of the second day. I hated that, it would happen though.
Back in November during National Novel Writing Month (NaNo) I started showering at night. It would hit 9:00 and I would go jump in the shower and then sit down at my desk to write. I did that fairly consistently through November and now it’s something I do every night. So, I know it can be done.
I am hoping that I can parlay that success into my exercising and eating better.