I am a creature of habit. I like routine. At the same time, I embrace change and find it invigorating.
I am a walking paradox.
But today I’m talking about the habits. According to Wikipedia (yes, I go to the best sources), a person doesn’t have to think about a habit, they just do it. I’m a prime example of this.
Each night before bed, I do the same three things in the same order. I wash my face, brush my teeth, then put on my face cream. Every. Night. One night, for some strange reason, I brushed my teeth first. No big deal. (This is a habit, not a compulsion.) I moved on and washed my face. But then I brushed my teeth again, completely unaware of what I was doing until I’d finished.
These are the moments I worry about my sanity, but hey, my teeth were really clean.
Another example. I take the same route to work almost every day, but at times, I change the pattern. Why? I have no idea. Last week I realized I could revert to my former route, and skip a couple lights. At first, I had to remind myself not to take the first exit, but now it’s part of the mindless routine to keep on driving to the next one.
So what’s my point? (I do have one, promise.) I am in dire need of exercise. I have back and knee issues, a diet any doctor or nutritionist would find worrisome, to put it mildly, and like many people, I could stand to lose some weight.
Again, according to Wikipedia (and an article printed in the European Journal of Social Psychology in October 2010), an activity needs to be repeated for a minimum of 66 days on average to become a habit.
So, two months. I’d need to undertake some kind of exercise for two months before it becomes a habit. Something I do without thinking about it.
Hmmm… That sounds like a lot. I have exercised regularly in the past, with Pilates being my exercise of choice, but I had more time back them to fit one more activity into my day. In other words, I wasn’t writing, nor did I have deadlines.
Bottom line, I have to make a choice. Take action to turn exercise (other than walking the dog) into a habit, or continue to do nothing and suffer back and knee pain, and buy new pants. Sigh.
I’ll be honest and say I don’t see myself taking up exercise any time soon. But the will is there, and getting stronger. That’s something, right? (Lie if you have to.)
Do you exercise? Do you have to force yourself, or is it a habit you don’t even think about? Indoor or outdoor? Gym or no gym? Alone or with an exercise buddy? If you’re like me and don’t exercise beyond dragging the pooch around the neighborhood, have you thought about doing more?