On this blog, I have a tendency to write posts that build on each other. After writing about habits last week, I thought more about how we create and maintain healthy habits. In my research, it’s clear that any type of significant habit formation takes time. And during that time, we can become extremely committed to these new habits and the impact they’ll have in our life. But it’s important to remember that even though habits take time to create, these habits are as permanent as we need them to be for our mental health.
Though the estimated time periods vary, it takes a few months, on average, to form a new habit. And a lot of change can occur during that time, not only in our lives but in the world around us. Forming new habits is not easy. It takes discipline and consistency, and sticking with something for many days, weeks or even months.
In that time, our commitment to these habits can grow very strong – sometimes too strong. When we’re integrating newly-formed habits into our lives, making them a priority is certainly a good thing. But it’s also important to note that we can prioritize them in a way that isn’t always helpful to the other habits we’ve formed.
When it comes to our health and wellness, it’s essential to find what works for us. And the more we build up our tool kit, the more these things need to work together. When I think about the habits I’ve formed, the most successful habits are ones I’ve been able to easily integrate in my day-to-day life. But there have also been habits I wanted to form that didn’t mesh well with my routine. And even though I might have wanted these things to work, they didn’t. But it’s not as easy to accept these changes as you would think.
It might not always feel like it, but our lives change more often than we think. And while we are creatures of habit and routine, it’s always been interesting to me to think that every single day is unique in some way. As much as I’ve changed (or my life has changed) over the years, so have my habits. Some of the habits I have now are ones I couldn’t imagine having years ago. I’m sure a few years (or decades) from now, I’ll have new habits, different habits, that make up my daily life. But for the first time, I’m starting to make the connection that not only is that needed, but it’s a very good thing.
Whether my habits are here for a week, a month or for many years, they serve a purpose in my life. They can have a positive impact on my mental health and wellness, especially when I embrace them for what they are. We are constantly growing and changing as people, and so should our habits. Rather than be fearful of this change, I’m going to try and embrace it for what it is. Hopefully, this means that my relationship with my habits, and myself, will start to change for the better.
What are your thoughts on your habits? Do they constantly change, or do you feel like your habits have lasted for years? Let me know in the comments!