I gave up on habits. More particularly, on my establishing habits. I concluded that I’m somehow habit-proof. Which seems odd, given that habits and routines are a long-standing part of human existence, but that’s where I arrived.
The habit-building advice explosion boomed right after that time. I ignored it. Well, not really; I read web-scraps and thought, eh, I don’t see this moving my needle.
Now we’ve arrived at today. I’m now in the unusual place of constructing my days out of “blue sky” — 2015 swept away the satisfying structure I’d built before, leaving me stock-still and staring on December 1. I didn’t try to build in December. It turned out to be enough to “do” Advent/Christmas, including the two weeks of hospitality and people-time. (I love those weeks!)
But “blue sky,” or “blank slate,” or “what now???” has been waiting. Frankly, the responsibility is daunting: what would you do if you could do nothing? A Saturday of seminar sprinkled habit-thoughts on the emptiness… why not try again? How habit-proof could I really be? It’s true, I’m nearing 50 and have never consistently brushed my teeth. But right now there’s no downside to the attempt; failing would at least bring the satisfaction of, “I told me so!”
I tell Jen about my absence of habits and my new intention. First reply: “Maybe that’s a good thing! I have lots of habits, many of them bad ones! At least you don’t have that.” Good point. That hadn’t occurred to me. “Besides, that’s not true. We go to the gym together for three years now. And we’ve exercised together for years before that. Three days a week, that’s a habit!”
But it’s not automatic. It’s a choice every stinking time. I don’t flop back into exercise. I don’t even have the day where I say, ‘I didn’t exercise, and I feel worse. I prefer feeling better.’
I reflect on EVERYTHING. All the time.
What are habits when everything stays negotiable?
Where nothing is fixed?