Sunday, May 04, 2008

How Easy It Is To Fall Off the Wagon!  

Not even the first week and I skipped a blog entry.  Shame on me - and I was even online yesterday.

It's very easy to "fall off the wagon" - to decide to change how we want to live our lives, but then let our day-to-day habits, plans, and interactions carry us through a course of actions that contradicts that.  A Christian theologian would make some noise about the fallibility of man; a cognitive scientist would natter on about automatized behaviors, capture errors and the illusion of conscious will.  But the long and the short of it is that we're really bad at this.

I can point to a number of wagons I've fallen off repeatedly: regular exercise, martial arts training, doing the physical therapy exercises for my knee, calling all my friends at the beginning of the month, taking the laundry out of the dryer as soon as it beeps.  But other wagons I hang on to tenaciously: feeding the cats twice daily, watering the lawn, attending the weekly and monthly writing groups.

At first blush this is the diference between things that have immediate feedback (mewing cats, wilted plants, written stories) and those that don't (it can take months to notice changes in your waistline).  But I find that this even applies to things that don't have immediate feedback - like writing my "weekly snippets" at the Search Engine That Starts With a G, a performance tool that I regularly use even though I'm the only one that apparently reads them.  True, if you don't send snippets you get reminders about it; but most people ignore them, just like I ignore many, many other automated reminders I get.  So that's not it either.

So some wagons are easy to fall off of and others are easy to hang on to.  Why is that? I could go off and do a typical blogger speculation, but let's leave it at this for a moment: why are there some things that are so easy to decide to do (or not to do) regularly, while other habits are so hard to make or break that it seems nearly impossible?

'jes wonderin,
-the Centaur



Invisible May 3 post! Oh noes! :-)

I think the missing element you're looking for is ENJOYMENT! I bet you like/love writing group and maybe even weekly snippets. But exercise is hard and usually dull and nobody enjoys limiting their portions.
# posted by Blogger Gordon : 6:48 PM
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