“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” ~ Aristotle
Habit: An acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary.
Routine: Habitual or mechanical performance of an established procedure. A routine consists of habits.
I’ve always struggled with routines… developing them and sticking with them. I can’t afford to do that anymore. Without good habits and an effective routine, I won’t reach my goals. I’m not being negative… just telling it like it is.
Since returning from AWAI’s Bootcamp (about five weeks ago), I’ve been focused on developing habits that, I believe, will lead me to a successful writing career. They’re done back-to-back, forming a routine that’s almost automatic. My morning routine consists of 3½ habits:
Habit #1: When I wake up, I go straight for the coffee. Nothing else happens before the rich dark aromatic liquid… my liquid energy… has passed through my lips and over my tongue, signaling my brain that it’s okay to be awake.
Habit #2: I meditate. Yes, jet fuel at my side… don’t judge me. It’s not always the same length of time, or the same guided meditation. Sometimes it’s to music. Or silence.
But over the past six months or so, I’ve made it a habit. After I fill my cup, it’s what I do.
It’s taken some effort to make meditation a habit. But I make myself do it every day, even when I feel like I don’t have time. A few minutes is better than none at all.
Quite honestly, now that I get up at 4:00 a.m. about four days a week, it’s made getting up early more bearable.
I’ve always had an aversion to early morning wake-ups. To convince myself to get up, I remember that I get to sip my freshly brewed “go juice” and zone out (i.e., meditate). When I’m finished it doesn’t feel so early, even though it’s still just 4:30 in the morning.
That prepares me for Habit #3: I sit down and write. Apparently early morning is when I’m most focused and alert… you could never have convinced me of that two months ago. It still boggles my mind.
The ½ Habit is yoga. I’ve had to put work (my writing career) before my yoga routine so I can write during my most productive time. It’s messed me up a bit, and I’m not getting to yoga every day at the moment because I keep writing too long…
… but, one step at a time.
After about five weeks of building these habits, they’re beginning to feel automatic. But how long does it actually take to form a habit?
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