21 days (plus 344 more)

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If you read my last post, you might think I'm an avid runner. (But now you're questioning it because there is a cake as the lead photo so who knows....) You might even scoff because don't we all love those posts that show up in our social media feed-- 

Just ran 10 miles today. #startsmall

Or

Just finished a small jog today in this beautiful spring weather. #15milesofblessings

#kickme (and a handful of you might laugh at this inside joke quote)

Ok, I get it. So let me go back about a year ago when I first started running again.

I had always heard that it takes 21 days to form a habit and that if you evaluate your life and see an area that needs improvement, give it 21 days of solid commitment and it becomes a habit. 

I literally must be much slower than everyone else in life because when it came to running, that 21 day rule didn't apply-- I didn't want to keep running. Running had always been something I would do routinely.... for a few months and then, nothing. It was either too hot or too cold. How about 6 months later? Still didn't want to run. Too hot or too early in the morning or too late in the evening. This is not enjoyable-- let's go do something to intentionally wind myself and pant like a dog?! 

But then one year later of disciplined/forced habit formation-- Ahhhh. Hey, maybe this is enjoyable. Look at my recovery time, much better. One year later, and running is now a part of my weekly schedule. I look forward to my jogs and spend much of that time thinking (when the neighborhood dogs aren't chasing me during such time I am looking like a goof sweet talking 15 pound jaws of death). Running isn't just a habit-- it's a vital part of my week. 

During one such a run, I started thinking about this one year concept-- and started asking myself what were some things that were hard, I did them for a year, and they were either habits or truly worth every second in the end. I'm nearing one year of writing down 3 points of gratitude each day-- now a habit and now something I crave to start my day with. I truly have a foggy, ungrateful mindset when I don't. One year of doing a Jen Wilkin Bible study. She requires you to do a lot of homework, thinking, and question asking. It's hard work to fit it in each day. Totally worth it-- I think I've learned more in a year about the Bible by studying this way. And sad to say, these were pain points in my day at first-- an extra thing to do. It took a year-- a year of complaining internally, a year of learning how to fit things in the day. But now they are habits and I notice a difference when I do not have these moments built into my day. 

So I'm starting to think about habits in yearly terms. I wonder if this might be a more helpful approach as young professionals as we focus on habit creation in our lives? Listen, you're probably much quicker in life than I am so maybe it's a 6 month criteria. Because sometimes we need some time to struggle, force the habit, still hate it, force it again, and then eventually, maybe after months down the road, see the fruit of the effort. 

What is a habit you are working on forming? Can you commit a year to this?