I woke up this morning out of sorts. The past few days have been emotionally difficult, but I will discuss this more completely elsewhere. I had stayed up late wandering in my own maze of thoughts, and drank a couple beers before falling asleep at a late hour. As sleep faded from my face the reality of my mistake rushed over me - I failed to perform my daily habit of stretching 5-10 minutes last night. Doing this 30 days in a row before my 30th birthday was to be gift to myself.
At first I was surprisingly sad and disappointed. It is a good sign I suppose that something so small actually meant something to me, but these emotions were for the wrong reasons. I could hear my inner critic telling me that this was to be expected. How can I expect to ingrain larger more important habits into my life if I can’t even be achieve this childish goal.
Within a few minutes though something good happened. I found myself moving to the floor to begin stretching. As the tension and stress left my body with each motion and stretch I became aware of some underlying positives.
The first was that this is the very essence of what creating a habit is all about. The struggle most people face is starting something, then losing momentum, and eventually quitting altogether. Moving to the floor and just getting started is the first sign that this habit is beginning to take hold. I missed a day, but it doesn’t mean I have to lose my overall momentum.
Second, is that simply starting this modest 30-day challenge has benefited me as a person. Although 30 consecutive days before my 30th birthday is no longer possible, I did reach 19 consecutive days. This is still far and away the longest daily streak I’ve had for anything in my life. Not only that, I’ve gotten back on the horse and it is still possible for me say I’ve maintained this new habit for 36 out of 37 days by the time January 31st and my birthday gets here.
Getting my first taste of what it feels like for a habit to begin feeling ingrained and simultaneously recognizing that I had still achieved a personal best is really rewarding. It also supports the idea that just getting started and “doing,” will more often than not leave you in a better place than apathy and stagnation.
And my journey continues…