A lot of the coaching I do comes down to people wanting to build positive habits or eliminate negative habits. Everyone understands that positive habits are great, but they also seem elusive. We get started and we are excited and then we blow it 3 days, 3 weeks or 3 months into the process. Now that we have blown it, might as well just chuck the whole thing and have 3 pieces of chocolate cake? Am I wrong here?
Serious question: Did you really think you were going to go the rest of your life "eating clean" or "working out 5 days a week" or "meditating"? Of course Coach Pat, I did not think that! That's crazy talk. Well, then why are we so upset when we "blow it"? I think deep down we really do think we should be able to just make up our minds and then execute from here to eternity. We have the information, we are smart people, so let's get 'er done. One small problem: knowing something is not the same thing as doing it. If knowing information were enough, nobody would be overweight. Diet and exercise? Is that the trick? I wish somebody had told me!
So, let's start with this assumption, we are not going to be perfect for the rest of our lives. Our habit journey will go up and down, like most things in life, but we can keep moving forward. Two years ago, I was running 4-5 miles a week, now I am running 25-30 a week. My progress has been steady, but certainly not linear. I have had probably 10 different weeks where I did not run at all, but I have kept going and building.
So, this is my word to you. Habits are about sustained effort, not streaky perfection. Keep going, keep going, keep going. Like the US Stock Market, habits tend to have a long term upward trajectory. Stay with it, nothing is ruined when you miss a day. Dust yourself off, get up and attack the next day!