Monday, August 06, 2012

The Problem With Habits

Habits are tough to develop. You can't just think about them for 21 days and suddenly it's a habit. No, it's not that easy. You have to do them. Over and over, actively doing this new thing. And even then it's easy to be derailed. One of Cheryl's daily habits is seen in the photo of her sweeping our pool. She is proud of our sparkling pool. We use it almost daily. You don't see it here, but last weekend it suddenly turned green. Full blown algae bloom. Total surprise to us because we really pay attention to the pool every day, keeping it brushed, the chemicals in balance. BUT LIFE HAPPENS, and there is one of the big problems with developing habits.

Yesterday morning when I logged on to MyFitnessPal I was greeted with encouragement that I had done so 440 days in a row. If it had not been for that one day in May of 2011 the number would have been about 530. What happened you ask? Cheryl and I had been with our Realtor looking for a new home in advance of our move to South Florida We looked at eight properties that day, the first one being the one with the pool Cheryl is cleaning. It was a busy day that did not follow anything resembling our daily routine. By the time I got around to logging what I had eaten it was after midnight and my streak was broken. My resolve to maintain the habit had not been shaken, so I smiled again at hitting the 440 day mark, and then scanned further down the page.  I noticed that a couple of other folks who had "friended" me had not logged in for over two weeks. I was disappointed. Knowing they had could not have reached their goals yet, I sent them gentle notes of encouragement to get back on track. Both started out full of vim and vigor about losing weight and getting in shape. Then for whatever reason they quit. It is possible they found a new tool - I hope - but I don't think so.

Then a little further down the page I noticed that Bill had logged in for 40 days in a row. He is a new friend that I met in person a few months ago, and he is doing great. He has shared some details with me and given me permission to share with you which I will do in the near future.

What does this have to do with Cheryl, me and our pool? It was a lesson for both of us that our daily habits have to be constantly tweaked. Life happens. In our case, it was a lot of rain and very hot sunny days that taught us we needed to ramp up our knowledge about pool maintenance. We didn't get discouraged and quit maintaining the pool. We sought out professional advice and yesterday morning our pool was sparkling clean and we resumed our daily swimming. Cue. Routine. Reward. Read about it in this post at LifeHack: The Amazing Secret Behind All Habits.

How are you doing on your resolutions this year? What habit are you struggling to develop? Or get rid of?

Be sure to eat some breakfast, and take a Clif Bar with you.

Eat Right. Exercise. Get Plenty of Rest.
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