How do you know if you have a habit? Sounds simple enough. Yet this week has me questioning whether my habits are really habits. Having dropped several routines considered habits, I discovered how easy it is to slip out of my routines. And the impact has been noticeable.
My start each day routine normally includes prayer and reading, exercise, daily written affirmations, appreciation journal, 3×5 daily to do list, blogging, and calendar checking. I don’t know if it’s due to having Good Friday off, readying a condo for re-rental, or the full moon, but I found myself going days without my written affirmations, daily to do’s and blogging. The prayer and reading remained primarily due their timing. They pre-cede my workouts. Exercise is a 40+ year habit, deeply rooted in my subconscious mind.
Our Easter pot luck found me gouging out on my bad habit of desert eating. By Sunday night I noticed my energy level was down and my irritation level was up. What amazed me was how easily I rationalized dropping these habits once I identified them as the source of my state of being. Rushing out the door on Monday without my daily 3×5 to do list left me wondering how did I forget something I had done daily for over a year?
Habits require more than just 21 straight days to become firmly rooted. Like a tree or any long-lived plant, they need on-going nurturing, and some luck to make become firmly rooted in your routines. Trees need a helping hand initially to make it through the lightning storms, summer pests, and hurricanes of our area. My new habits need some TLC and fertilizer.
So to avoid backsliding on my habits, I am going to fertilize the new ones. This month will be Daily To Do celebration month. I will write out the benefits of the habit and put the list by my monitor. At the end of April I will throw a Daily To List party and invite all the cards to parade around my desk. I will put a daily reminder on my smart phone to insure I stay focused. June will be positive affirmation month. And the daily cards will be invited as well. July will be Sugar Free month and August will be my Blog-a-thon.
Backsliding happens. What you do when you realize you backslid makes all the difference.