I honestly can’t believe how my life has changed from this time last year. I’ve always sought to be productive and make the most of every day I have on this earth…probably a result of the cancer diagnosis over a decade ago.
However, getting up early each morning has been life changing!
I still set my alarm, but I can’t remember the last time I was still asleep for it to go off. I seem to be waking earlier and earlier, which I love. I’m not sleeping horribly either, so often wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day.
And if I don’t sleep, going for a walk with Harvey soon sorts out any lethargy.
Something I have noticed is that as I consistently do one particular habit, day in and day out, I seem to unconsciously add little extra healthy habits. I’ve written about Habit Stacking before – the intentional addition of one desired habit to an already established habit.
I’m not necessarily talking about that. It’s more a case of unintentional benefits coming from the establishment of one specific habit.
For example, walking Harvey.
At the beginning of the year, I decided to begin walking Harvey early morning. At the beginning, I simply walked him around the block.
In many ways the benefits were minimal…a very small amount (less than ten minutes) of fresh air and exercise.
I definitely felt good, and Harvey really enjoyed it, so I continued.
Thinking I could get in ten minutes of learning, I began listening to a couple of podcasts, one episode of each every other day.
Then I increased the distance I was walking to about a twenty minute walk. During this time, I ran into a friend who lived along the route I took. She was struggling with some difficulties in her life. In that moment, I decided I would begin praying for her each day, as I walked past her house.
Another friend was on the route, so I took to praying for her family also.
As the walk was longer, my watch began to pick it up as a form of exercise, fulfilling half of my exercise goal for the day (which at that point was set for 40 minutes each day). I also managed to get in a third of my steps for the day.
I came home refreshed from the now twenty minutes of exercise and the fresh air which went with it.
My complexion began to change as I was exposed to sunshine each day.
Instead of the podcasts, I began to listen to audible books, which gave me the opportunity to expand my learning to the next level.
I love to learn, and often came to the end of the twenty minute walk wanting to carry on because I was so into my book.
So I extended the walk even more…in fact I extended it to 45 minutes.
I have needed to increase my exercise goals to one hour and my movement calories to 1000, otherwise I have met my goals of both by 730 each morning!
I also focused on training Harvey to walk better on the lead, to always walk on my right hand side and to sit down before crossing a road on my command.
During the longer walks, I passed another friend’s house. So each day, as we walked past her home, I prayed for her and her family. I was now walking past three precious friends’ houses and praying into their lives each day. How powerful is that? And what an utter honour to be able to quietly do so, blessing them each day with God’s touch.
In making my walks longer, I chose a winding country road to walk down. It had no paths, and at first Harv was all over the place. Now he happily walks safely on my right hand side. Whilst training him to do this, I spotted a hidden bright red postbox on the side of the winding road.
I determined that at least once a week I would write a letter to someone to bless them and let them know I was thinking about them. Then, I would post it in this delightfully hidden red postbox to find its way to the recipient.
One habit begets another.
What started as a simple ten minute walk has morphed into 45 minutes of exercise, a well-trained dog, consistent ‘reading’ of informative books, the blessing of praying for my friends, writing a letter to bless someone…
I began this three months ago and am excited to see how this specific time in my day will develop further in the next three months.
What habits have you found gave birth to other smaller beneficial habits?