Habits

As I grow older, I become more and more aware of the importance of habits--and the struggle of establishing them. When I look back on the times of my life when I've been most productive, the major common thread I see is that of habit and, to a slightly lesser degree, structure. Even when my days weren't structured by work or school, I had my own structure, a structure dictated by habit.

I think of some of the habits I've cultivated over the years, habits I don't have now:
  • Exercising early
  • Exercising daily
  • Writing every day
  • Walking every day
  • Running/jogging regularly
  • Praying at set times
  • Reading every night
  • Practicing piano every day
  • Weekend mornings alone at the coffee shop--much-needed times for writing and reflection
Those are just a few, and I didn't have all of those habits at the same time. But I had them, and I kept them, many of them for years and years.

Today the only habit I seem to have is obsessively checking social media ... for what reason, I have no idea. It's not like I learn anything new there, and while I like seeing pictures of friends, their kids, and their cats, it's not something that should require dozens of daily interruptions to my life. And it's not something I particularly enjoy anyway. So why do I do it?

Habit.

I also have a habit of not moving. I sit down to work in the morning, and I barely move all day. Even if I get 4,000+ steps from morning exercise, I'll end the day with maybe 6,000.

Without question, I need to actively establish some habits again. At this point in my life, it should be easy; now that we've settled into our new home and Anne is at school, my days have some degree of structure. The focus now needs to be on (1) what habits I want to establish, and (2) where those habits should fit within the existing structure.

One hard thing is that I may not necessarily be able to do daily habits. I might have to practice piano every other day, or just three times a week. I might have to exercise only four times a week. This is hard for me because a daily schedule seems easier to stick to. Anything less makes me feel like I'm going to go adrift.

I'm already adrift. Right now I'm practicing piano once every couple of weeks. I have to remind myself that any improvement is good.

Habit. This will be the beginning of things getting better.

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