Monday, September 10, 2012

Habits

This is the first of four blog posts coming this week to make up for my missing one last week. And darn it, if I didn't blog three times a week like I said I was going to, I will at least have blogged an average of three times a week for the month. And that's just fine with me.

So, I'd like to talk about habits today. Funny little thing, habits. They can be the best thing in the world or your worst enemies.

For instance, it's generally habit to brush your teeth and comb your hair in the morning. Awesome habit so that you don't look and smell like a hobo. That's a good thing. But when you're trying to break a bad habit like biting your fingernails or picking your nose, oh lord can they suck!

This means for me, a person with an addictive personality, I'm constantly picking up bad habits. They're easy to form. Instant gratification always outweighs the long-term happiness of something.

For instance, I haven't been writing for months. Lots of months. Probably not really hard since last year's NaNoWriMo. And that's a sad thing to admit, but true. So after months of not sitting down and grappling with my writing, it's my habit to just ignore it.

But I'm trying to change that. This month, as I've told you, I've pledged to write every day. And so far I have. Some days it's really hard. Some days I'm tired and I want to go to bed, but I've been doing it anyway. Getting my words in whether or not I feel like writing.

Research says it takes 66 days to make something a habit to a point where it's just automatic for you to do whatever it is you're trying to do. Cool huh? The payoff of forcing yourself through all this pain is it becomes easier! Hurray!

The downside of this is, just like you can break bad habits, you can break good ones too.

For almost an entire year, all I did was work and write. When I was done with work, I'd go write for three or four hours. On the weekends, I'd spend both days at my favorite coffee shops, writing. Hours upon hours of writing. It was so easy.

But I (obviously) broke that habit. And other good habits can also be broken the same way bad habits can be broken (but with surprisingly less work).

So, whatever it is you have in your hearts to do, do it. Do it every day. Don't make excuses. Just do it.