Why Bother Noting Habit or A Way of Life?
I tried smoking for the first time long before I was of legal age and then it became a habit. This habit became a way of life. I smoked my way through high school, college and the first few years of marriage. When my husband and I talked about starting a family, I imagined what I would look like as a smoking pregnant woman and decided I didn’t like the image. Also, I considered the health risks to the baby, and chose to quit smoking. Then, after our first son’s birth, to take off the baby weight, I picked up a new habit, jogging. Thirty-five years later, I am still jogging. But I don’t consider it a habit any more. To me it has become a way of life.
When Does A Habit Turn Into a Way of Life?
I am not sure at what point a habit, something that we tell ourselves we need to do over and over again, turns into something that is naturally integrated into everyday living. I read somewhere that it takes at least twenty-eight days or longer to start a new habit or break an old one. I have also read that it is helpful to replace a habit, such as smoking, with a different habit, such as jogging.
Yet, maybe it is not so much about replacing one habit with another. Maybe it is more about considering the consequences of our choices. When I quit smoking, it cleared the air, so to speak, for me to think about my health. It was the beginning of something new. For the first time, I thought about my own wellness.
I was born with good health. I inherited good genes. Hardiness, vigor, strength, and my robustness came from, I believe, my mother’s line. Though my zing comes naturally, when I quit smoking, it dawned on me that I would need to take care of what had been given to me. Quitting smoking was the first of many steps in the direction of maintaining the gift of wellness.
Now, instead of thinking about bad habits I should quit, or new habits I should begin, I weigh any activity on the basis of whether or not it adds wellness to my life. My good health was, I believe, a gift. Now, I am responsible to nurture it in such a way that it stays with me for the rest of my life.
I have come to understand wellness as a theme in my life. Knowing when to say yes or no to some new activity that presents itself becomes simpler. If it benefits my wellness, it is a yes.
Why bother to note a habit or a way of life? It is worth it to note whether or not it is a habit or a way of life. Habits come and go. A way of life stays with you for life.