Stopping by the gym on Tuesday reminded me that at the beginning of every year millions of people make promises to themselves, New Year’s resolutions, and break them fairly soon after. I know why gyms offer incredible discounts in December and January – it’s easy money. People sign up, come for a couple of weeks, and never show up again.
The locker room at 2pm was more or less a ghost town – except the same guys I’ve noticed at the gym for the last 3 years. The difference between them and the people who couldn’t last a week is will and dedication. I’ve read in many books about the time it takes to create a habit – usually 30 days. Through personal experience I would generally agree with that number. It takes about a month for me to develop the habit – and usually another month for me to internalize the habit to the point where I feel a need to continue the habit.
An interesting book I read recently was The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg. He makes a compelling that we are the habits we cultivate.
To paraphrase one of my favorite quotes – too many people quit when they are on the edge of success. March always reminds me of the people who started the New Year with great hopes and aspirations – but fell back into their same old habits. It seems that they forgot why they started in the first place – they took their eyes off the prize. March should be a month where you are satisfied with the progress you make in bettering yourself – not regretting quitting. So, if you are reading this – and find yourself sliding back into old habits – remember that it’s not too late to start again. Everyday take a minute to reflect on what your ultimate goal is – lose weight, pay off a bill, finish a class, or learn a new skill. Visualize yourself at the end of your journey and don’t quit.
“Age wrinkles the body; quitting wrinkles the soul.” – Douglas MacArthur