There are a lot of people who don’t like fruitcake. There are some who really don’t like fruitcake. On January 3, 1996, the first Great Fruitcake Toss was held in Manitou Springs, Colorado. This annual event attracts competitors vying to see who can hurl, fling or toss a fruitcake the farthest. We all have at least one bad habit that needs to be thrown away. Thrown far, far away. So, whether we want to fling a fruitcake or heave a bad habit, a New Year's resolution is the perfect opportunity.
There are a couple of things about bad habits. One, we need to replace it with a good one. Two, it takes time. It takes lots of time to get rid of the old, bad habit and firmly implant the new, good habit.
Out with the old and in with the new
Choosing the bad habit may be easy. I sit in front of a computer or the TV way too much. I really need to exercise. Sit less, move more is really what you are saying. And, that is easy enough. Now, exactly how are you going to make that happen?
At work that could be setting a timer on your phone to go off at ten minutes after the hour, two or three times a day. When the timer goes off you do 10 wall push ups, 10 lunges, 10 of something that gets you moving. Then, resume your work project. This gets you sitting less and moving a little more. Also, this mental break helps get you refreshed and refocused to complete that important project.
At home, sitting less can be something as simple as taking a walk after dinner. Or, during every commercial get up and do something. You can get several mini workouts in. I tried combining this commercial idea with household chores. I really hate wasting a perfectly good Saturday doing housework, so I thought I would try cramming a few lousy household chores into some commercials.
I got the dishwasher loaded and later emptied, one load of laundry completely through wash, spin and dry cycle. And laundry folded! How many times did your mother say “the laundry won’t fold itself”. Well, I needed to take the stairs to get that laundry done. That was an unintended workout. All I wanted was to do fun stuff on Saturday, but the accidental bonus was a mini workout.
Habits Take Time
It takes 21 days to form a new habit is a myth. Is. A. Myth. So, if you’ve ever felt like you’ve failed because you couldn’t quickly and easily conquer a new habit, you are not alone. Depending on the habit, and let’s face it - how long you’ve had that habit - it takes much longer than 21 days to master. Some experts say it can take an average of 66 days to make the transition. This is not bad news. This is good news! Really, it is. During the next several weeks when you take two steps forward and one step backwards remember: that is still one step forward. You are making progress. Keep trying. Keep moving forward.
I had a brilliant person once tell me (probably my dentist) that you weren’t born with the habit of brushing your teeth two or three times a day. Nope! Your parents reminded you many times, over several years, before brushing your teeth after every meal became an automatic habit. Your new habit will take some time.
Is there a shortcut?
No, there isn’t. However, getting a buddy to help can make the new habit a little easier. This is a nice way of saying be accountable to someone. If working out with a friend, or hiring a personal trainer, will get you to the gym a few times a week then great. The workout buddy will keep you consistent. Or the personal trainer will encourage you to work safely and push harder. There is no hitting the snooze button when someone is counting on you to show up.
It’s the beginning of a new year so heave a bad habit and start a new one. You can do it!