create habits painting watercolor Jan 05, 2021

Normally I love walking outside in the mornings before getting ready for the day. It’s my exercise, therapy and meditation time. I love how I feel the rest of the day after I've walked.


Well yesterday morning came with a skiff of snow and icy sidewalks. The temperature was 20 something degrees with a breeze that made it feel at least 10 degrees colder. I have a treadmill for days like that but, treadmills aren't fun and I didn't want to use it. It didn’t help that I woke up tired and achy. It seemed like a good morning to wrap up in a warm blanket, turn on the fireplace and read my overdue library book.


 Photo by Courtney Chestnut on Unsplash 


I told my son that I was going to sit on the couch for a while and decide if I wanted to walk. He came back at me with, “You won't sit on the couch and make your decision…Sitting on the couch is your decision.”


I thought about that. He was right. I knew if I sat on the couch, I would never get on the treadmill. So I put on my shoes. That led to the idea that, I didn’t need to walk the full 4 miles. I could just walk 2 or 1 but even though I didn’t want to, I needed to get downstairs on the treadmill. So I did.


Funny how things go…I was dreading it, but as I walked, I warmed up and loosened up. I started a podcast. Soon 1 mile came and went, then 2. At that point I was into the podcast and the walk…I thought I might as well finish the 4 miles and I did.


I didn’t appreciate what Carson said at first. I really wanted to “veg” on the couch, but his words brought me back to what's important in my life. I’m so glad they did. My day was better because I walked. I felt good, had more energy.



Life is like that on a daily basis. I have these great things I want to accomplish. I make big plans and start out motivated. Then comes a day that I just don’t feel like doing it or maybe I get busy and things come up... so I don't follow through. More of those days follow and pretty soon... I've quit.


Walking in the mornings has been a habit for over 25 years. It's part of who I am. I'm not perfect at it but I can't think of many times that I've missed more than a day or two in a row. Most days I do it almost automatically but even after all these years there are still times I need to push myself to go.


Last month I read and reread James Clear's book, Atomic Habits. It's full of strategies that can make our habits successful. It also tackles how to break bad habits.


Since then I've been pondering how walking has been part of my life for so long while many (so many) other habits have come and gone. I'm exploring how the strategies in Atomic Habits and other things I've experienced can develop great habits for artists and specifically for watercolorists. I'll share these ideas in some upcoming posts.





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