So, where you heading?
Well, now that we’ve entered into the season of Lent, my attention once again has come back to the matter of “habit”, especially as I was contemplating our call to enter back into the “desert” — to be transformed — as we now venture into our 40-day journey, full of hope, confident of what lies ahead — and of where we shall arrive Easter morning.
But as a dietitian, my goal for this post is not to focus on actual Lenten practices at this time, but more-so to focus here on this matter of transformation as it directly relates to health & wellness [in body, mind, & soul, of course]… which then brings me back to the topic of “habits” — habits that include our way of eating & of moving. After all, our habits also send us on a journey (whether we realize it or not) and they will, over time, bring us to a particular place. But where? And are we aware of the road that lies ahead? …Could it be bringing us to a place we never really intended on going to, as we’re bombarded by so many distractions? But the good news is: Habits can be changed for the good, and created (formed) to place us in a new direction — and on a better pathway — leading us to a better place!
Easier said than done, no doubt; but it’s largely a matter of consistency & time… So, that by acts of repetition — purposeful, mindful, recurring acts — a habit can be formed to where this new & improved behavior will then become routine & automatic — even easy & enjoyable — as it puts us back on a road we want to be on.
Why Route 66 then??
…Because sixty-six is actually the average number of days it took to establish “automaticity” — a habit — in a study by Lally et al. (2009); which means that a desired behavior (such as eating fruit with your meal or taking a walk everyday) had to be repeated on a regular basis [primarily daily in noted study] over the course of about 10 weeks [on average: see “Note” below] to become a habit — that is, a more automatic behavior that would therefore require less thinking/less effort to perform. So, then, after 66 consecutive days, we could have an established, alternative route, or be well on our way to having one; while we continue to journey to where we really want to be. How helpful this can be to know! …A real encouragement to persevere, reminding us of the importance of ongoing repetition over time; because the behavioral patterns we repeat & repeat, on a consistent basis, eventually do get etched into our brain [into actual neural pathways] and, therefore, into the roadway of our lives.
So when I started to put this post together yesterday (3/7), I thought it would be interesting to look back to New Year’s Day since that’s when so many of us set out to establish a new healthy habit relating to diet &/or exercise. I wanted to see where 66 days would have fallen if I had began on January 1st and had not given up… And I had to laugh (seriously) because my Day 66 would have been March 7th — yes, yesterday, the very day I was writing this! [I really love coincidences!]
I then looked to see where the following 66 days would bring me from today–and it would be to May 13th [I love that day: the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima!]… A new way could be mine! Or, maybe it wouldn’t take me that long at all (depending on goal)… What about in these next 40 days from this day (3/8) — I would be at the threshold of our Easter Triduum. 40 days of determination in steps we will take towards transformation and towards forming a new pathway for new life.
So I’m personally going to accept this as a new challenge for over the next 66 days (+) in my own desire to form a new habit (which I’ll be glad to share with you along the way). How about you? Maybe you’d like to join me on this new & improved “Route 66” here… towards better health & wellness! Good for Body, Mind, & Soul… Let’s go!“The Way to Nourish for Life ‘Route 66 Challenge’™ …To Be Transformed!” −EF
Note: Per study, variation in the number of days ranged from 18 to 254 days, relating to factors such as the degree of difficulty involved; For example, forming the habit to drink water each day at meals would take less time to establish than to go for a run everyday. [Source utilized for above Rt. 66 sign image = Wikipedia.]
©2014: The Way to Nourish for Life. Note: Ideas expressed by “The Way to Nourish for Life” regarding The Route 66 Challenge™ & Way are those of Eileen Frank, RD; and may not be utilized elsewhere without prior documented permission.
Plus, just for kicks, here’s the ol’ song for your traveling pleasure! 🙂 “Route 66” sung by Nat King Cole:
Please refer to “About” The Way To Nourish For Life for caveat.
[*A special thank-you to dear friend, Norm, for providing me with his photo for site image.]