A close friend of mine asked me this yesterday: ‘Do we become addicted to our habits?’ Discuss!It seemed like something worth talking about on here, because anyone who knows me, will know that I am an ‘all or nothing’ person. There is no general liking of something, I am either loving it and obsessing over it or indifferent to it.
It’s this attitude that I believe has created the drive to pursue; to follow the dream, to try to be better than I might ever have imagined. And to achieve. I am not one for half-measures and rarely do I quit at something; in fact, I am trying to remember anything I started with gusto (because I wanted it, not something I was made to do at school or work) that I ever quit…? Nope, not me.
I think the people who are like me, who create goals and then strive for them are passionate people and I also think these are the ones who win, in the end. Sure there will be hurdles, but my attitude to that is you overcome them because they make you stronger, right?
My friend asked: Would love to know how you motivated yourself to start a new task in the first place (e.g. exercise, writing, etc), what mental techniques/tricks (if any) you used until it became a habit. And now that it has become a habit, do you feel that you’ve become addicted to that habit? So much so that you can’t live without doing that habit.
Well, that’s interesting because indeed since I pursue the things I truly love, then starting a new habit is nothing more than a focussed mindset. That said, while with writing it has always been a great love, the gym has not. However, I did always like to train in some form, as an adult (at school I hated PE; I was straight As in everything except PE where I usually got a D or an E except for in the summer when I was good at tennis, the 100 metres and long jump. I represented the school in the latter two). Again I believe if you love something, and even if you’re not naturally gifted at it, loving it will make you do better and strive to do better. That is what happened in school for sports. I did my own workouts at home for fitness over the years, until my passion for everything else, like writing and being with friends made it increasingly harder to motivate myself to work out. So I started to watch Obese: A Year to Save My Life on Saturday mornings and watch people who were so overweight, work with FIT (in the good-looking sense!) PTs like Chris Powell. He personal trained people to become a reinvention of themselves, new habits. He also worked a lot on mindset. I loved, still do, these programmes and made a pact with myself, that while it meant going out of my personal comfort zone (since I never saw myself as a gym bunny) I would, when I moved back to Essex, join a gym and go five days every single week unless sick, injured or away, for the rest of my life. I was not obese, but I was overweight for me and I was not fit. This attitude was reinforced every time I watched those shows before I moved. I knew I had to apply the same drive and tenacity to my health and fitness as I did to all other aspects of my life.
So while starting a new writing project or starting the new writing group on Canvey was a natural passionate decision that just comes from excitement, joining the gym was a little different. But since I always do what I say, that is exactly what I did. I created a goal and an expectation of myself, the same as sitting here every morning to blog and then to write, and I brought it into effect.
Soon as I did, and I met the people at the gym I became passionate, dare I say obsessed, and once that came then there was no way I was quitting and I won’t… EVER. Not only that but the gym changed my life in so many other personal ways as you know.
It is a well-known thought that once you do something, make small repeated actions every day then you turn it into a habit. This is good and bad, and how we develop those lazy unhealthy habits too. But we can change. So if you procrastinate and don’t write, get up and write! If you don’t look after yourself, eat right and go to the gym, in other words: make new habits.
So when does a habit become an obsession?
Well for me obsession is the driving force, passion makes me do it in the first place most of the time, so I don’t even need to think about it, and obsession keeps me doing it! Results also need to be there to reinforce the dream but we must evolve and change those goals and ideas as we work through them.
If you love it, it will never be a chore.
If it’s a chore, then make yourself love it! How? Focus on the positives. Sure the gym hurts but when I ache I know it’s doing good. I never work out half-heartedly, what’s the point? I smile, laugh, empathise with others, we support one another… and what do you know, even out of my comfort zone I am enjoying it.
And honestly, good habits that come from passion do become things we can’t live without, that is me all over. I can not live without love, or writing… and now I can not live without the gym and the friendships and health benefits it brings. Truly.
Never quit, I never do.
What about you?
Empower yourself today and make one new habit and lose one bad habit… what will it be?