There’s something about me you should know: I enjoy challenging myself to commit to new healthy habits, but rarely do I ever stick with them. You know how research shows that if you do an activity twenty-something days in a row, it’ll become a habit and you’re good to go? I beg to differ.
The thing I’m probably most consistent with is making goals to begin with. I think some psychological reasoning behind that might be to fulfill my inner need to find happiness and overall wellness.
Some of my goals have been exercising consistently, meditating more, keeping up with a daily Bible study, drinking more water, etc. I even download apps to try and hold me accountable. Right now I use one called “Productive” where you swipe away tasks you’ve completed. Except what have I noticed myself doing? Just automatically swiping away tasks, even if I haven’t done them, just so I don’t receive any messages about leaving tasks undone. The app is only for my personal benefit, and I still try to bend the rules.
The main problem here is motivation. People always ask, “Where can I get more motivation?” but that’s something that is so internal and innate that trying to manufacture it rarely works. If I do not have a genuine desire to do something, especially if it doesn’t involve school or work, chances are I might make it a couple weeks, even a month or two, but ultimately will ebb and flow out of completing it. Telling myself “Hey, this is good for you, so you better do it!” or bribing myself somehow with rewards doesn’t result in anything long-lasting.
What things have I actually been able to stick with, you might ask? Today marks my 100th day learning German with DuoLingo. I wasn’t about to go out and buy some fancy computer software, but I took two years of German in high school and am studying French in college, but I really wanted to refresh my memory, especially since I’m so interested in international affairs and traveling. I don’t know how well I’ve actually been learning German (the true test would be trying to speak it on my own, a skill I’ve never been good at when it comes to foreign languages), but even just working my mind everyday in a way I feel is beneficial to me and my future has been great.
This next one is early to officially say I’m sticking to it, but I need to mention it: yoga. When in the mood, I do enjoy several kinds of fitness and exercise, and yoga has intrigued me for awhile. I’ve completed a yoga class in the past and have stumbled upon Yoga with Adriene’s YouTube videos several times, but I’ve never made it an everyday practice…until now. Well, it’s been 15 days now that I’ve stuck to Adriene’s 30 Day Yoga Camp. Simply put, I’ve loved it so far. A couple days in there I even considered skipping it, but I just had the urge to continue, and I’m so glad. If you haven’t tried yoga already, it’s so therapeutic. I love doing it before bedtime, a time I used to devote to compulsive cardio, but now I can just relax.
That’s the thing with German and yoga: they don’t feel like chores, and that’s the key. You can try all the things you want to potentially accomplish, but if it takes a decent amount of effort to convince yourself to do them, there’s no point. While kids need to learn how to discipline themselves to stick to an activity through its duration, especially if other people are depending on you, when you want to do things for your own personal sake, it’s ultimately all up to you. Unless you’ve asked someone to hold you accountable, nobody is forcing you to better yourself.
Recognize your intentions for setting a goal, and avoid making a commitment for the wrong reasons. If you’re in it just to please others, it’s not worth doing. Realize that you’re already fine just the way you are, at this very moment, and anything you find want to do can be an extension of that. You’re making goals to help yourself grow, learn more, explore further options, balance your well-being, and potentially find a new passion.
So even though the thing I’m most consistent with is not being consistent, I’ll always want to keep finding new habits to develop or skills to learn. I believe we were put on this earth to constantly grow, change, and experience as much of this life as possible. I’d still love to relearn how to play the piano, or try to complete a Sudoku puzzle everyday, or find myself at church every week. Whether I actually end up doing these tasks is unknown to me, but I’m not about to sit idle with nothing personal to work toward.
I’ll have to let you know if I end up making through 30 days of Yoga Camp, and if I end up continuing past that initial month. Or if I try anything new, or perhaps return to an old goal I’ve been swiping away but try again. It’s an endless process, and even if it’s a bumpy road of mental obstacles, I look forward to traveling on it.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie