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I want my habits back

I'm crushed to look at my calendar today and see that I skipped a whole week of exercise. When I gave up both my day job and my unhealthy long-term relationship, I promised myself that I'd get back in touch with me. I'd keep my mood and creativity up with daily exercise and naps, and start watching what I ate both to get rid of excess weight and to feel better.

I was in a really good routine. Then Wis Con came up and it feels like I might as well have done nothing at all.

I did exercise today (yay) was unable to nap (boo) and strayed minimally from healthy food last weekend despite unlimited and free candy, pop, booze, hot dogs, pizza, donuts, etc. at the con. There were definitely healthy options like yogurt, fruit, water and tea...but something about free baked goods pushes my gourmand buttons. I did have one donut and was pondering another when I saw a young lady who probably weighed close to double my weight having one, and that was enough to sober me up really fast. In the face of unimited and free, I was happy I stopped at the single donut.

On productivity blogs, they often say, "Do something X number of times and it will be a habit," but that seemed anecdotal and not particularly scientific to me, so I poked around and found this article on Psyblog. Sixty-six days is the average, it seems. But of course it depends on lots of variables. If you're interested in that kind of thing, do check out Psyblog. They even have a graph :-)



( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 2nd, 2010 05:48 pm (UTC)
It may take 66 days to form a habit, but I think it takes about 6 to break it. Your body (and brain) is very quick to say "Oh really? I don't have to do that anymore? Yay me! Pass the donuts." Good luck getting back in the groove.
Jun. 2nd, 2010 09:03 pm (UTC)
With free donuts it feels like about six minutes will do the trick!

"Free" hits half my triggers and "donuts" hits the other half.

I took a stab at doing all my habits today, and even though the nap didn't pan out, at least I showed up. Yay!
Jun. 3rd, 2010 02:01 am (UTC)
The problem with "habits"...
...is that not all are created equal. Some habits are easy to start; some are tough. Some are easy to keep going even with a lot of disruption of one's routine; some take a lot of concentration to maintain after only a little disruption. IMHO, anyway.

Also IMHO it SO depends on the person and their personality. The exercise-and-eat-healthier habits I developed, I did consistently from day 1 when I started it. (Yay, OCD.) I was 99% consistent for 6-9 months. But I started being less compulsive and dropped a day here and there, didn't pay as much attention to calories, and over the next 6ish months...stopped completely! Eek! Habit, shmabit. For ME, with some habits (like those), I have to be consistent and ever-vigilant, or else I just don't keep it going.

On the other paw, other habits take a bit more for me to get into but then are easier to keep going with little concentration. (I think it's things that don't involve blocking off a couple of hours and making special trips and counting calories. ;-)

Ramble, ramble, sorry. I'm just saying--it all depends on the habit and the person. Anyway, good luck to ya. :-)
Jun. 3rd, 2010 02:02 am (UTC)
Re: The problem with "habits"...
P.S. That was me.

Jun. 3rd, 2010 02:04 am (UTC)
Re: The problem with "habits"...
P.S. I'm a moron; I didn't read the whole article before commenting. It looks like they said some similar things. (blush)
Jun. 3rd, 2010 08:56 am (UTC)
Re: The problem with "habits"...
Ha ha ha, but doesn't it feel good that the "experts" said the same thing? It depends what the habit is, it depends what your personality is like, it depends it depends it depends. Their example of the glass of water was pretty funny.

That thing you mentioned, about missing a day here, a day there (that's reasonable, right? I would aspire to be someone who could miss a day here or there if need be) and suddenly, BOOM, you just completely stop. That's what frightens me.

I was really fit a few years ago and then I needed emergency gall bladder surgery, and after that it was a struggle to even walk for maybe 6 weeks. I suspect anesthesia and I aren't a good match. And after that, of course, the diet and exercise were old history.

Even writing is one of those things that can fall into the "habit" category for me, in that I expect a certain performance from myself and am disappointed if I take too much time off.
Jun. 8th, 2010 01:49 am (UTC)
Re: The problem with "habits"...
I *so* aspire to be someone who can miss a day here and there--who isn't all-or-nothing. :-)

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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