3: on habits.

Habits are the small decisions you make and actions you perform every day. According to researchers at Duke University, habits account for about 40 percent of our behaviors on any given day. 

Your life today is essentially the sum of your habits. How in shape or out of shape you are? A result of your habits. How happy or unhappy you are? A result of your habits. How successful or unsuccessful you are? A result of your habits.

What you repeatedly do (i.e. what you spend time thinking about and doing each day) ultimately forms the person you are, the things you believe, and the personality that you portray. 

James Clear,

Atomic Habits by James Clear is one of the books that have changed my life.

My life today is the sum of my habits.

I have written a lot about habits, routine, and consistency over the years. As I re-read those posts, it’s fun to see how I adapted them based on my needs in that phase of life and on my identity – the person I wanted to be.

Ten years ago, I wrote about my morning rituals. I still have my early mornings. Back then, the ritual spanned 2 hours before the children aged 15, 10, 8, 6, and 4 woke up. Today my morning ritual is 4 hours long beginning at 4:00am and I have one 14 year old at home that sleeps in until 5 minutes before we have to leave for class. I still journal, read, and train and have two mugs filled with different things. One of them is still coffee while the other is filled with my pre-workout snack (nonfat Greek yogurt and granola). Now I have dogs that need walking and 24 students that need lesson planning.

In January 2023, I made the decision to get stronger. For real. I committed to training and lifting heavier and never missed a session. I committed to eating more steadily as I increased my training volume. I committed to eating more protein each day. Over a year later, I am at my lightest and strongest I have ever been and my identity as an athlete has emerged.

One thing I have learned over the last few weeks is how I maintain habits when life gets too much. Because of the years that I have sustained habits, they are a default. When I had to leave the house at 6:00am for multiple days, I still woke up early, had my pre-workout meal, my coffee, my greens, and trained. I shortened some sets and lightened the weight as it was early for my body but I still showed up because I know how important this is for my body and my mind. There isn’t much resistance to it anymore because I know how this sets the course for my day in a positive direction. It just takes a little planning when schedules change. My habits prepare me for these occasions of uncertainty and added stress.

The question of what a healthy and strong person would choose has been a guiding prompt. This has led to restructuring my life to give up alcohol, go to bed early, stay home on Sundays, track my macros, and move every day. I struggled writing this prompt because my life on repeat seems boring to write about. But I love it so much. I love where I am, what I do, how my body feels, and the clarity and grace of my thoughts.


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