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The Habit of Change

Kimberlee Leonard

Posted on January 30, 2019 00:33

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Ever stop to think exactly how a new habit creates other habits? Walk more and you might find yourself wanting to drink more water.

They say it takes 21 days to develop a new habit. To succeed, you have to intentionally perform the new habit with diligence every day. As you progress, your body starts to internalize it.

Makes me think about Kindergarten and tracing letters over and over again. Maybe it’s true. Everything we need to know we learn in Kindergarten, even forming habits.

I once had a tennis coach tell me that he’d rather see me practice one perfect stroke every day rather than the wrong stroke 1,000. As he explained, “practice makes permanent, not perfect.”

That stuck with me.

I’ve been going to the gym, diligently trying to strengthen my knee. What’s funny is the little habits that form naturally from doing one thing. The more I go and work out, the more I find myself wanting to drink more water and not reaching instinctively for a Coke. The more I workout, the better I eat.

It’s amazing to have one change trickle down into other areas that would otherwise require work to alter.

Since I’m not at the gym daily, it makes me wonder about the permanence of it. Is it a habit I’m forming or just an internal trigger saying working out will be easier if the other things change too?

It does make for an interesting hypothesis between the balance of daily habits and the unintended but beneficial other habits that are formed.  

Of course, motivation is the critical driving force behind this. No new habit can be done for 21 days without some internal or external motivation. And even if you make it 21 days, is there something that can trigger a regression into old habits?

After all, there have been times I've kicked the Coke habit (the soda one) and then had a period of stress where I just grabbed a soda. It's almost a comfort food for me and that seems to trigger the desire again. I guess that is why AA continues meetings for members forever.

There is always something that might trigger going back to an old habit no matter how much we know it is bad for us. 

The bottom line is if you really want to make a change in your life you need a motivating factor and the discipline to work on it every single day. Some habits are easier to break than others and sometimes a significant motivating force is all you need. 

Kimberlee Leonard

Posted on January 30, 2019 00:33

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Source: ESPN
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