I remember reading somewhere that it takes three weeks to seed a habit. I think it takes a little less to fall out of one, like, say, a day...maybe two.
Back when I was recuperating from my big, traumatic Crohn's onset I got into the very good habit of walking every day: initially, to the end of the driveway and back; eventually, a full 2.5 mile circuit around the 'hood.
In addition to providing me with much-needed fresh-air and exercise, it became sort of a social event: I befriended the then-8-year-old twins, Nicola and Katerina (and their older sister, Rosa) months before I realized I knew their father through a mutual friend in the theater. I developed a passing acquaintance with Hector and Chassy, owners of both a hip hair salon and one of my favorite houses in the neighborhood, and got a mini-tour of the new backyard patio they'd just put in. I met sweet, crazy Dorothy and the 27 neighborhood cats she'd taken on feeding.
It also did wonders for my frame of mind. I like yoga, but I don't like yoga on someone else's schedule, and I have some problems with the Namaste Lifestyleâ„¢. I'm not good at sitting still, so regular meditation is out. I refuse to go to the gym when it's crowded, which basically leaves me a window of 1:30 - 3 every day. Plus I hate the gym.
With walking, all I have to do is strap on some shoes and I'm good to go. Add an iPod, or my brand new nano, a birthday gift from the wonderful BF, and I'm great to go. Walking is like low-tech EMDR for not-so-hard cases: the scenery engages your eyeballs, the tuneage engages your monkey mind and an hour later, you feel normal again.
Like most things that are good for me but require me to actually remove myself from my computer/TV command station, it takes some psyching up even to do something as low-impact as walking. And, much like the way people who feel better after taking their medication decide they no longer need the medication because they feel so great, it's all too easy to stop once I've started.
But also-also, the threat of public humiliation can be a great motivator. So I'm laying it out in light and pixels right now: I'm walking, for at least a half-hour every day until October 12th, three weeks from now, and long enough to seed the habit.
There. I've talked the talk.
Now, for the hard part...