Habit: a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.
I was recently told during a leadership class that it take 12 weeks to form a new habit. Truth be told, this same instructor at a different leadership class had said the same thing, but I ignored it.
Now that I have something new that I am doing, something that I am trying to make sure that I keep doing, that 12 weeks has stuck in my head.
I started riding my bike on August 1st. So if this woman is correct, by November 1st, this bike riding thing will have become a habit. Something that is hard to give up.
It has been hard to continue. Nearly every morning that I plan to ride, even though I try to make it a natural as possible, it is hard to get the clothes on, get the shoes on, get the helmet on, (not the gloves... I really like the gloves... they are an odd source of inner power for me), get the bike outside and go. Those steps are all slow, awkward, and with anywhere from a touch of dread, to a decent amount of "I so don't want to do this."
But I do go out and do it.
I was settling in to a pretty good rhythm of 3-4 rides a week.
Then we went out of town for a search and rescue training weekend.
With these guys:
And I didn't ride for 5 days in a row.
My first time back riding hurt. I didn't realize that 5 days off would make it so difficult. In my head it felt like I was starting all over, and my body protested an unbelievable amount. The voices came through loud and clear. Like loudspeaker or Bose sound system loud and clear. There were a bunch of "you can't do this"s and "why are you even trying?"s along with a other very negative phrases that ran on a loop.
My wife tried to help. She was the most encouraging woman in the world, telling me I had this, I was doing it, I wasn't quitting.... and my head shut her down time after time after time.
Yet, when all was said and done, I rode 5.9 miles, at an average of 10.3mph in 34 minutes. Very on par with my most recent rides.
Reality didn't reflect the words the voices were pushing on me.
So, this morning, I rode again. 6.1 miles at an average of 10.4mph.
Nearly a week off hurt in other ways too.
My number is 243. I have to tell you I really struggled with putting that here. I really thought I could just skip it. Ignore it. Not share it.
But if I am not honest with you, it will be so much easier to not be honest with myself.
Again, I don't have the answers for anyone else. I don't have magical words that will fix it and I haven't had an epiphany that means my life will change and move in a totally new direction.
I am just trying to keep moving forward.
And hope that I develop this habit that will be hard to give up.