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Breaking It Down

“It’s your road and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.” — Rumi

When you break down distances into bite-sized chunks, they don’t seem all that bad. To walk 250 miles over the course of roughly two months I needed to average 35 miles per week, or 5 miles per day. Put another way, That’s roughly 10,000 steps above and beyond the normal 10,000 steps we’re told we need to average in a day. The entire point of the challenge wasn’t to be average, but to stretch my comfort zone.

Objective well on the way to being achieved, but to what end? What is the “why?” in any new habit we develop? It’s the “what is the why not?” that prompts resistance to accomplishing an otherwise worthy goal. Carrots and sticks, internalized. So what drives us anyway?

Any habit begins with a compelling why. That why is derived from a commitment to something larger than ourselves and a vision of who we want to be. We cast votes for our identity, as James Clear puts it. I’m walking those steps for a good cause (a worthy charity) and a belief that I’m a person who follows through on my commitments.

The question is, will the habit stick after the commitment is honored? After all, it’s happened before, once rowing a million meters for a worthy cause and taking time off afterwards that quickly chilled any momentum in the habit. Knowing that, I look at this period of increased activity differently. The trick is to keep doing the habit, even if it’s a greatly reduced workload. Breaking it down is a good starting point. Just keep doing it, but in smaller bites.

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