Monday, March 4, 2013

Creature of Habit

I recently finished reading The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg as one of my 52 Books in 2013. This book would be of tremendous use to parents, to people looking to change their lives, to a new CEO, to someone trying to make the world a better place. 
Cover Art


I'm typically not one to write in my books, fold down corners or highlight sections, but since I was reading this book on my iPad, I felt ok with highlighting a few sections that were very meaningful to me. 

"The evidence is clear: If you want to change a habit, you must find an alternative routine, and your odds of success go up dramatically when you commit to changing as part of a group. Belief is essential, and it grows out of a communal experience, even if that community is only as large as two people."

This first quote made me think of my early running years. I did start running to hang out with friends more and to spend time with my then-boyfriend (now husband of almost 13 years - love you honey!) Running became a habit for me, but it's one that I enjoy doing more with other people. I've found a lot of success in the past year since I started training with other women. It seems the group experience is a big part of my running habit. 

But this next quote got me thinking about how running - and the self-discipline it requires - has impacted the rest of my life. Running gave me the discipline to carry a 4.0 through three years of college. Running helped me work out difficult arguments in my grad school papers. It helps me calm down when I'm upset and re-energize when I'm exhausted. Re-committing to my running helped me start my own business and finally focus on being a writer. It truly has given me the strength to do important things in life. And I hope I can pass some kind of similar healthy habit on to my children...who by the way take piano lessons and play soccer!
…That’s why signing kids up for piano lessons or sports is so important. It has nothing to do with creating a good musician or a five-year-old soccer star,” said Heatherton. “When you learn to force yourself to practice for an hour or run fifteen laps, you start building self-regulatory strength. A five-year-old who can follow the ball for ten minutes becomes a sixth grader who can start his homework on time."