Habits, hard to form easy to break!

We have a huge flock of bids that frequent our back yard daily.  My father in-law has made a habit of putting out a little (native) seed for them every morning.  We now have a large number of species from lorikeets, wood ducks, cockatoos and many others that visit.  Recently watching him wander out early one morning, I noticed a few of the birds patiently watching from different branches, some had earlier been banging on windows (as a reminder to hurry up) and some even flew down and rested on his shoulders.  This has taken months of continuous feeding and visits to build the habit and trust between both parties.  Even more recently my father in-law missed a couple of days, for various reasons, and when he returned the flock of bids was significantly smaller, actually almost non existent.  The birds had broken a habit that took months to form in only 2 short days.  The point I’m making, forming a habit takes time & effort, breaking habits is quick, easy and almost effortless.

So I bang on and on about ‘consistency through something everyday’ as a result we can achieve big things in our fitness goals.  Following the Noosa triathlon in November I had made a decision to maintain my consistency and stick to my already adopted routine through to Christmas, yes back off the intensity, but keep doing something everyday and stick to my routine!  Well, I can tell you it is now middle of December and I have lost all focus and there is no consistency or routine!

My decision in November was made on the premise that by backing off the intensity, my motivation would remain high, cause I wouldn’t get as tired or sore, I would be better rested and life would be rosy.  So where did it go wrong?

Well the best I can tell, it wasn’t anything specific, but more I just drifted out of the habit / routine due to a lack of motivation, a lack of direction, a lack of a plan and lets face it, it’s December we are all busy with parties, other commitments and the distraction of Christmas.  It didn’t happen over night, but much more gradual than that.  It kinda snuck up on me following a few late nights resulting in missed morning sessions.  A party here or there resulting in a missed afternoon  session, all of a sudden a week or two has passed with fairly intermittent training and certainly no consistency that I hold true as my rock to staying fit!  December is a busy month for most of us, those with families and small children it seems magnified.

151213 Strava 4 week Capture

So should I be hitting the panic button?  Probably not just yet, cause while I have drifted into a bit of a rut or bad habit of skipping sessions, I think I am squeezing in enough to maintain my fitness levels (just).  Have I formed a bad habit?  Too be honest at the moment yes I have, it is far too easy to skip session than push through at the moment.  Can I re-gain the good habits?  Absolutely I can, but not without a real effort and dedication.

I have started planning my 2016 race calendar and writing this blog is helping me to re-focus, snap out of the relaxed bad habit and get back to the ‘something every day, consistency’ I relied on in 2015 to complete my first ironman!

I recent read an article from the parkrun Australia newsletter where they often include stories from average people that have achieved extraordinary things.  This particular story was about Ken, his weight loss journey, parkrun & living with cancer.  He needed a good slogan to bash himself up with when the going gets tough:

“The pain of discipline is better than the pain of regret.”

The full story is available here:

Australia parkrun newsletter – ‘Living with Cancer & parkrun’ by Ken Shillito

His story highlights that good habits are hard to form, but even harder to maintain.  So the slogan he used serves as a reminder that to achieve great things we need to stick it out even when the going gets tough.

But is it always about looking at the habits that have changed?  Not always, another article written by another friend, which is well worth a read (link following) is also serving to remind me that while I had worked hard to form these good habits and routine in 2015, don’t get bogged down in the fact that I am forming a bad habit, but maybe look in the mirror a little closer and look for other existing good habits that need maintaining!

Bad habits hard to break, good habits take no time – Ashley Wright

So with 2015 coming to a close, 2016 fast approaching maybe it is time to take a moment look at the habits or routines we have formed, good or bad, assess and value them and make some hard decisions about what we want 2016 to look like.  For me forming good training habits will center around my family’s needs and the opportunities that can present them self around our busy routine!  Remember habits take time to form, so in the early days hang tough on your routine, find a mantra or slogan (use it) and before you know it, a good habit is formed and your on the way to achieving your goal.

I’ll write about my 2016 race plans soon, and maybe give a little insight into my goals, training plans and hopefully good forming habits!

Till next time build consistency, keep smiling and live to Tri!

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