December 6, 2022habits

On Habit Building: Times When You Need to Ignore the Rules

There are many listicles about what you should do to make habits stick. Some articles outline the steps you should take.

Here's a simple example of how that might look like:

  • Determine time and place.
  • Create a program.
  • Add to your calendar.

Nothing wrong with lists, steps, and tips—I've written them too. They make sense, and they might work. The problem is, we don't always have perfect schedules. And we can't always follow the rules we've set for ourselves.

There are days when we have to wake up later than usual because we worked on a project until morning. Or we caught a virus and have to sleep in.

We are served surprises all the time. Surprises that prevent us from doing the habits at the time and place we planned. Surprises that disrupt our schedule. What happens then?

Sometimes, the best course of action is to abandon the plan. Not the habit, just the rules we've set up.

It's doesn't matter what time or where we exercise. As long as we do it. Missed the morning run? That's okay. Do it after work.

Too sick for HIIT? That's okay. Walk around the neighborhood or do restorative yoga instead. Just show up and exercise.

The rules are there to help us stick to the habits. But when they're working against us and not for us, then they should be ignored.

One priority is above all else: to show up, whatever the circumstances.