Force of Habit

In March, I blogged every day as part of the Slice of Life Challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers. Every day. I didn’t do every day well, or thoroughly, or at the same time every day, but I did it.

Not going to lie, it felt amazing. My professional work and my own experience have taught me so much about the benefits of daily writing, but I had never been able to put it together quite so well until this March. All the benefits of writing came to me, more powerfully than ever. I noticed the world more. I noticed myself more. I felt more creative. I felt inspired to write other, more difficult things. I felt connected to the other people I was writing with and for. Right up until March 31, come what may! It was wonderful.

And then, the next day, I didn’t write. And I didn’t write the next day, or the next. And today when I opened this document with intention, it still took me two hours of farting around doing other things before I started typing.

What makes habits so hard to form? I have spent years reading, thinking, and even teaching about it (list of my favorites below!). Even in elementary school, I was making charts for myself to tick off. I’ve read the books, used the apps, listened to the podcasts, made the accountability groups. They all help. I’m getting better.

None of them has made me the kind of person who can just do all the things daily.

I made a list of the things I actually do every. single. day. without fail. It’s a short list:
1. Brush teeth
2. Use the bathroom
3. Eat food

That’s about it. Even on workdays, in the job I have held for 16 years… there’s nothing I do every single day. And how I have wanted there to be!

If I could be, I’d be the kind of person who does all kinds of things daily, with routines and habits that are nourishing and consistent and peaceful and intentional. Every day in my imaginary consistent, intentional life, I would practice the piano, do yoga, drink 70 oz. of water, take vitamins, write in my journal, make something, check my budget, meditate, tidy up before bed, floss, read a poem, work on my book, take a walk outside…. obviously I would need more than one day to do all of these daily things, daily. Also, I would be a completely different person.

The more I learn about habits, the better I get at developing them. However, it’s also true that the more I learn about myself, the more I am OK with my inconsistency. I do still want healthy habits, and I do still work on that. Yet I’m more self-compassionate about how hard it is for me, and I’m more realistic about what is truly important enough to do every single day.

On Sunday, I revised my blogging intentions from daily to each Tuesday. I began this post on Monday. I am now finishing it on Wednesday. So much for consistency, but hooray for persistence.

Love me as I am! That’s what I’m working on. ❤️

A few of my favorites on habits (and self-compassion because, for me, they’re partners):

2 thoughts on “Force of Habit

  1. That’s amazing that you maintained a daily habit for March. I myself think that the things that are good for us do tend to be hard to do—or we always feel like there are ‘funner’ things we should do. So I just embrace not wanting to do things, and do them anyway, mostly writing.

    I’m sure you felt the same during your March stint. And I believe that by overcoming that feeling, I get to overcome similar challenges in life too, so these habits may be more important than we think. Anyway, thanks for this post!

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