We all know that habits take time to develop. When we spend so much time using our willpower, we get exhausted. We're working too hard and we only have so much before willpower gives out. Once a habit is developed, you just go on automatic pilot.
I worked hard to develop a habit six months ago. My mornings have become my favorite part of the day, but they weren't always this way. I used to be the type of person who got up at the last minute to get ready for work and then it would be one big rush. I would get up around 6:00 in order to out the door by 7:15 or so. This year I decided I didn't want it to be this way. So, I decided that I wanted to get up early and get something accomplished for myself.
I started to develop a meditation practice over the summer and wanted to continue it. I figured this would be something I could do as part of my early morning routine. I also like to start my day with prayer and reflection. Add that to the list. I also started following Darren Hardy and subscribed to Darren Daily, a 5 minute daily mentoring program. Include a great breakfast and I was on my way to having a morning routine. However, it also meant getting up at 4:45 in the morning. 4:45?! That's an hour and 15 minutes earlier than what I'd done the previous year.
When I started in August, it was sheer willpower. I got up and had to concentrate on each step of my morning. One key was to make sure I got to bed by 10:30 each night (or earlier if possible). I won't lie though. It was tough, but I kept at it. Suddenly, without warning, I discovered I was no longer thinking about my routine. I was just doing it.
It has evolved to be my favorite part of the day, because I get to do something for myself as soon as I get back. And, it continues to evolve. I'm training for a half-marathon, and last week I did my first early morning run last week. I had to get up at 4:30 to do it. Just as I did in the beginning, I know that it's going to be willpower to get me to the point of running 2-3 mornings a week and add in yoga and abs on the other days. However, it's a process and I know that eventually it will become a habit as well as long as I stick to it.
I am so very proud of my sister, Sara! With a little over a week to go before her 30th birthday, she has met her initial goal of losing 50 pounds! She started this quest roughly one year ago, and she's done it the right way. She made healthy lifestyle choices in her eating, and she started an exercise routine. In fact, she's now a runner! She ran her first 5K in November, and she's going to run another one in April. I'm so proud of the way she's gone about losing weight, and she's taken ownership in the process. Sometimes I started to wonder who the life coach was, because she not only followed advice but she embraced the process to make it her own. She isn't stopping here, let me tell you!
Oy! I feel like it should be Wednesday, but alas, it is only Monday. It's only 8:30 in the evening, and I was tired an hour ago. I have no one to blame but myself for my current state though. I decided that I would start getting up 15 minutes earlier (at 4:30 a.m.), so that I can do a short run in the morning. Today was a rest day, but I got up at 4:30 anyway so that I can get my body used to it. What I didn't do was adjust the time I went to bed last night. In fact, I went to bed a little later than usual, and I didn't sleep all that well. Needless to say, I have no one to blame for being tired. So, I will rectify my behavior by going to bed earlier. I know that it will take awhile to get into the new routine, but I will be patient and get there. That is the key to everything new that we want to develop into a habit.
I've known this quote for many, many years. My high school p.e. teacher used to say it. He called it the five P's (each word of the phrase starts with 'p'). It held true then, and it holds true now. It's one of those phrases that is timeless. When you plan for greatness, the follow through comes more easily. For example, rather than try to plan for exercise on the day you want to fit it in, make appointments with yourself for the week and then don't cancel them. You wouldn't cancel a meeting, so don't cancel this meeting with yourself.
I follow Matt Frazier, the author of The No Meat Athlete. I was invited to take part in a closed Facebook group that writes and runs (or some type of cardio) everyday for 31 days (everyday in January). It has been an incredible experience. People from all over the world are taking part in this endeavor, and it has been awesome to see the pictures that people have posted. I'm in awe of people who go out and run in sub zero temps. I wish I had that determination, but I stick to my gym workouts until it's a little warmer. I have done at least some type of cardio and writing everyday, so that's good. In addition, today some asked how many people are either vegetarian and/or vegan. Two of us are newbies to being vegetarian, and most everyone else who has responded has been a long-time vegetarian or vegan. Again, I'm in awe of the commitment. I would like to think that I could give up dairy and eggs, but my reality is that I enjoy them too much. I think there's a part of all of us who would like to see this continue beyond January, because the support and encouragement have been incredible. We'll see!
I'm a lover of life, an eternal optimist, and I have an intense desire to add value through simple living and positive vibes.