Tick. A swooping, satisfying, drag-your-pen-all-over-the-page tick. I smile as I look down at the neat little habit-tracker I’ve created for myself, smug in my two consecutive days of waking up at 6:30am to meditate. The day continues beautifully because I, Beanna Olding, am finally sticking to the habits I’ve been meaning to establish for years.
Fast forward a week and I’m snoring till way past 9, catching flies with my mouth hanging open, holding absolutely no intention of setting aside some time for meditation. My reaction to my slobbiness will vary depending on how my self-esteem is fairing, yet no matter whether I’m angry with myself or forgiving, one thing has always remained the same; I feel, deep down, like I’m incapable of sticking to a single good habit.
That kind of thinking is crushing because my intentions are so good and honest. Each time, I really do believe that this time, this time, will be the one. But by going about building a habit this way, I can honestly tell you that I don’t think I’ve ever stuck to a goal for longer than a month. After 20 years of this (well, maybe baby Bea was sticking to some awesome routines, I can’t say for certain), it makes you feel pretty damn despondent.
But the thing is, I bet if you analyse your time closely, you’ll notice that there are so many habits you have built over the years and have entirely forgotten about, so entrenched into your day-to-day lives that it’s just, well… habit! I only really picked up on this recently when I noticed that every morning, I drink a glass of water. After that, I started to recall more and more routines that I have established over a long period of time. Not drinking coffee past 7:30pm, making sure I get outside whenever it’s sunny, cutting my hair when the split ends get too much. Heck, even making sure you always have clean socks is a successful (yet little praised) habit! And it’s not only the little things, there are bigger success stories too. I may not practise yoga every single day of the year, but I have created the intention, which is such a vital stepping-stone and means that if I go without doing it for a week, I know something needs to change.
The acknowledgement of the sheer multitude of habits that I routinely stick to without even noticing has helped me break through that wall of “I can’t do it, no matter how many times I try I cannot stick to any of my goals”. If I can build a habit of walking somewhere every day, slowly I can maintain my goal of hitting the gym three times a week, every week. By no means does this mean that now I possess a superhuman ability of sustaining every new habit that I endeavour to keep, but I do have a refreshed positivity. And unlike my plan to wake up at 6:30am every morning to meditate, this positivity is sticking around for good.