Day 5: The importance of habits and routines

Day 4

I was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) a few years ago. I could easily write a very lengthy and very detailed post about what being diagnosed with ADHD as an adult is like, but suffice it to say, my diagnosis and treatment have highlighted the importance of habits and routines in my life. Habits and routines aren’t just important for people with ADHD like myself though, they benefit everyone.

In my Day 1 and Day 3 posts, I mentioned Charles Duhigg’s habit book. It’s a great book and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about habits. Anywho, in my Day 3 post, I wrote about his concept of keystone habits. In his discussion about keystone habits, Duhigg specifically mentions willpower as “the single most important keystone habit for individual success.” Willpower is a habit.

There’s no way I could possibly explain Duhigg’s argument of why willpower is habit as well as he does, but I’ll do my best to summarize it in a somewhat overly-simplified way. Basically, whenever you have to make a decision or complete a task that requires some thought, you use willpower. The more thought or effort you have to put into each decision or task, the more willpower you use, and unfortunately, willpower is a finite resource. You only have so much of it to use each day. Habits are automatic, so you use less brain power to do them. If you create habits and routines for the things you have to do throughout the day, you’ll conserve willpower and be able to use it for other things, like cutting back on junk food.

Although I’m still trying to change my habits and figure out what routines work best for me, I’ve determined that my morning routine of waking up at 5:00 am, having a light snack, and working out right afterwards, make my day begin a lot smoother. I’m by no means a morning person, but the more consistent I am in sticking with that routine, the easier it becomes. As I mentioned in my Day 3 post, you don’t really get rid of your habits. Yesterday I realized that this applies to good habits as well. After all these weeks of “falling off the wagon,” waking up early and working out yesterday wasn’t as hard as I had expected it to be; my day went a lot smoother too. I had a lot more energy, got stuff done, and I was in a much better mood. I also hit my step goal fairly easily and logged all my food.

Final step total: 17,393

Day 5

Holy soreness Batman! Last night, I went to bed with what felt like head-to-toe soreness. Between all of the extra walking and yesterday’s workout, my legs were shot. I planned on running this morning, so I chose a short, easy run to hopefully loosen up my muscles (if that’s a real thing) and get rid of the soreness. It was a pretty slow jog, but it did what it needed to do, and it got my step count off to a great start.

Today’s a work day, so it’ll be my first challenge at keeping up with my steps while I’m busy working. I feel pretty confident I’ll be able to stick with it, but we’ll see how it goes.

Current step count: 5,411

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