I have my share of bad habits.
I skip exercise, I forego sleep for work, I ignore meditation (even though I know it works). I eat badly for days, I have too much to drink, I forget to say thank you. I choose coffee instead of water. I don’t stretch, and the fish oil stays in the fridge.
What pulls me out of the downward spiral, every time, is one good move.
I commit to bed instead of television. I grab a workout instead of rushing to the office. I take fifteen minutes to close my eyes, breathe deep, calm my heart.
No matter which tactic I choose, it leads to a cascade of better behavior. The workout leads to hydration, the desire not to sabotage my hard work in the gym leads to eating better. My stress levels fall, and I express gratitude. I take time for my friends, I take my fish oil. I meditate.
One good day leads to another, and I get fitter and happier and healthier. I get better.
It’s amazing, the constellation of good habits. It expands outward from a tiny spark, killing bad habits one at a time. It just takes that first solid choice.
For me, that’s what the Challenge does. It creates a community that enables that first solid choice, that makes our lives better. It’s a place that understands that it’s easy to make bad choices, but that we’ll make better ones given the right incentives.
Above all, it recognizes that one good habit leads to another (and another, and another) until all that’s left is a contented, healthy human being. It understands that social support matters (and a little contest might be just the motivation we need to make that first solid choice).
The upcoming Challenge will be, no doubt, a challenge. But I’m looking forward to it, and the fact that it addresses what needs to be addressed: not just exercise (or diet) but the whole constellation of habits, everything I need to create that upward spiral.
It’s going to be a bad time for bad habits, and a good thing for me.