I’ve written before about the impact the YourTurnChallenge had on me, making me realize that I could write, and do it every day. I’ve missed a few days, but I’ve been writing regularly for almost a month. I feel a drive to continue, and find myself frequently thinking about topics to explore. Those that study human behavior say that it takes a month or two to develop or change a habit, and some might say that my writing is an established habit.
But it’s not that simple. I once ran almost every day, worked myself up to marathon level training (20-30 miles/wk, 16+ mile long runs), registered for two marathons, and yet I don’t run at all today.
I went on Weight Watchers, lost almost 50 pounds, made “Life Member”, kept it off for about 3 years, and yet my weight is almost back to what it was before I started.
The lesson in this? You’re never done, until you’re gone. You don’t establish a habit, and then coast. Even actions that become truly automatic, seemingly requiring no thought to maintain, still need attention. Even habits that provide enormous positive rewards, like my weight loss and running, can fall by the wayside.
You’re never finished, you never reach perfection, because the world changes, and you change. The excitement of accomplishment becomes routine, priorities change, or situations that made a habit easy to maintain become less convenient. The best you can do is to keep striving, to keep working at it every day. When good habits can be so hard to establish, and bad habits so hard to break, it can be tempting to give up, but when you do that you’re making a choice to be less than you can be.
If you’ve developed good habits that you want to keep, or dropped habits that are bad for you, keep going until you’re gone.