The Fit Student—Plant Your Habits

Everyone in our lives plant seeds in our psyche.  Someday, those seeds may blossom.  My brother’s love for acting spurred me to perform in school plays.  My step-father’s love of sports turned me into a gym junkie.  My Grandma’s love for style nudged my own style up a notch.  But my boyfriend’s passions for fitness, spirituality, and lifelong learning nursed me the most.

Whether you feel blessed or blah about your loved ones, they’ve all nurtured seeds within you.  Seek and celebrate those seeds that shine.

It’s one thing to sprout seeds.  It’s another to fit then all in a 24-hour window.  So, we must fuss and choose.  Some new habits take no time, such as voicing gratitude.  Others can span a lifetime, such as hoisting weights in a gym.  But time’s still scarce, so tune into your values when choosing habits.

Some habits you’ll prize.  For me, I need not a drip of willpower to workout.  Once the habit formed, my pleasure for gym-time sprung up.  Now I train so backbreaking, I’ve begun to crash.  Worse, rest days feel like missing the flight to Honolulu.  Yes, once your habits blooms, you might get hooked.

Author Dr. Detlef Beeker prods us to form three new habits.  I say, first seek the healthy seeds family and friends have planted.  My mom cooks, cleans, crochets, and gardens.  My papa (coined jack of all trades) runs a top-notch luxury company.  And my brother excels at math, acting, and business.  Buried within your loved ones’ habits nestles your rosebush.

Prof.  Dr.  Detlef Beeker maps out tips for forming habits in his book Stress is a Decision: 40 Simple Habits to Defeat Stress and Find Inner Peace:

  • Nurse good habits to wind up happy: “If we have many good habits in our lives, then we easily have a good life” (location 182 of 2177, 8%).
  • Make your habits count: “90% of our actions are automatic or habitual. The question is, do we have good habits or bad habits?” (location 378, 17%).
  • A habit made won’t easily fade: “The good thing about habits is that we do not have to spend willpower” (location 228, 10%).
  • Spend up to a year forming habits: “Scientists have found that actions take between 18 and 254 days to become a habit” (location 237, 11%).
  • The habits that take a year are the time-gobblers: “Doing sports for 90 minutes a day takes longer to make a habit than to meditate in 5 minutes” (location 260, 12%).
  • Sprinkle some small habits into your mix: “Habits can be better introduced if they are small. It is important that you see every little progress positively” (location 339, 16%).
  • Map out three new habits right now: “Start with three or a maximum of four habits that you integrate into your life” (location 246, 11%).
  • Spend a month performing each of the three habits: “Take the three habits you have chosen and perform them for at least 30 days” (location 260, 12%).
  • Celebrate your successes, especially the tiny ones: “It is better to celebrate every little success. ‘I meditated today!  I did well!’” (location 339, 16%).
  • One you perform a new habit for 30 days, reward yourself. And then make new habits.

Good habits to form?  Be generous, friendly, and kind.  And don’t feel shy in saying, “I love you” one too many times—even if met with scorn.  Any good trait you possess makes your life easier, says the author Beeker.

But if your loved one has only the habit of hollering, well, join the military.