Until about 2 months ago my regular Tuesday and Thursday morning runs were 4 miles long. One Tuesday morning, I was coming back and decided to hang a right at a corner which would add another 3/4 of a mile to my run or about 6 minutes.
On my Thursday run, I did it again. And then the following Tuesday and Thursday, and the following week, etc., etc., etc. Now, when I don’t have to decide whether to add that 3/4 of a mile. I just automatically, without giving it a second thought – turn right at the corner.
Doing something over and over again imprints on your brain so that it’s an automatic response. When I get on a bicycle, I know how to ride it. When I hop in the pool, I can still do the butterfly (it’s not pretty but I can do it). When I type, I sit up tall, and place my fingers on the keys proper way because in 9th grade typing Mrs. Gabriel stood over us on our IBM Selectrics and drilled it into our heads. “A, space, K, space, eyes on the book, feet on the floor, fingers on the keys”
Repetition is the key, boys and girls, to forming a new habit. Here are some ways you can create a healthy new habit.
- For the next three days when you want a snack grab an apple or other piece of fruit. Don’t think about what you’re hungry for because for many of us that means Oreos or peanut butter by the tablespoon. Grab the fruit, heck, even grab 2 pieces (I know – CRAZY talk).
- Drink at least 16 ounces of water from the time you get in the car to your destination. When you get there, fill that bottle and aim to drink the rest on your way home or before you get to your next destination.
- Every night you make dinner this week, add an extra dish or two of vegetables. Roast some carrots, saute spinach, steam an artichoke. You can also make my favorite melange; spray a pan with Pam and add sliced zucchini, mushrooms, onions and garlic. Cook until soft (adding a touch of chicken broth or water so they don’t scorch) and add chopped kale or spinach at the very end. I eat this with chicken, turkey, meatballs or as a base for two eggs in the morning.
- Add 5 minutes to your workout every day this week. Turn right and loop around instead of running straight home, swim a few extra laps, walk past your house and around the block, or throw in a few extra yoga poses. Add time consciously this week and next week or the week after you’ll do it automatically.
Good luck on creating your new habit!
Now go run!