Creatures Of Habit

I wasn’t sure what I would blog about this morning until I read Tawna Fenske’s post about falling into patterns in life and in our writing.

It made me think about my own habits, past and present.

Years ago my husband and I opened our first fitness center.  It was one of those spontaneous decisions sparked by the good fortune of a deal on a gym going out of business.  We bought it and voila!  We were in business.

Now.  Those of you that don’t know me that well, and even those of you that do, are about to learn something wierd about me.

When I was thirteen – the summer of my eighth grade year to be exact – I got my hands on my first Flex magazine.  That was the summer we got cable too, (very small town in the middle of NOWHERE) and Bodyshaping with Cory Everson became my favorite show.

I didn’t want to be all muscly like her, (okay…maybe I did a little bit) but I wanted something more than my then 5’9″ 110lb. frame.  I was a skeleton with skin stretched over it and I was still growing.

There was a local gym in our little town at the time, but it was for men only, which now makes me angrier than it did then.  I decided however, that not being able to work out in a real gym wouldn’t stop me from the task at hand.

So…I bought my first set of dumbbells and found an old iron fencepost to use as a barbell and the love of weightlifting began.

However….twenty two years and two gym businesses later….the love dwindled.  Things like regular workouts and eating chicken and tuna and greens and protein bars and drinking egg whites are no longer habit.

Why?

I stopped doing it.  That simple

It happened over time but I eventually allowed my patterns to change.

The habit shifted to one of discipline to one of comfort

The same thing can happen with writing.

Writing regularly is tough.  I hear people say they make themselves write at least an hour a day or four hours a week or thirty minutes twice a day, or some other goal and I used to wonder how that was possible…How they could turn the creativity on/off.

It wasn’t until I made my own little resolution about blogging every weekday that I understood how they do it. 

*They’ve made a commitment.  Whether it’s to write every day or to have one good writing session a week, it’s a commitment.  One that is binding and one to which they hold themselves accountable thus forming a habit. 

*They enjoy the high the accomplishment brings when they stick to their goals and it drives them to continue.

*They don’t make excuses.  It is something they have to do. 

*They don’t procrastinate.  They understand that putting it off is only avoiding it and avoiding it can lead to a shift in habit where writing becomes something they used to love and be dedicated to.

Just like weightlifting for me.

I feel horrible for getting so far away from it…for not taking the time to do something I once loved so much, something I couldn’t imagine not being a part of my daily life.

But….thankfully….I can choose what habits I have and which ones I don’t.  I’ve made blogging every weekday a habit and I love it.  It makes me feel good that I am sticking to a goal I set…publicly.

And though I know it’s not going to be easy, I think creating a daily writing goal and reclaiming my passion for exercise will be two more habits I enforce in my life.

What about you?  Do you have a writing goal that you adhere to?  What other areas of your life do you have a sense of commitment to?  How can you make that kind of commitment run over into your writing life?

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