Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Habits

I had lunch today with Jenifer Primo Smith, of the South Plains Food Bank, at a neighborhood restaurant, Home Cafe. Jenifer and I met on FaceBook when I made some queries about the SPFB, but this was the first time we'd met face to face. We had an enjoyable conversation about a couple of courses I'm teaching--one this fall and one next spring--and ways I can introduce the students in them to the work they are doing at the SPFB farm.

Anyway, the reason I bring it up is because I rode my bike to the restaurant. Now, in the olden days (last year) that wouldn't even be worth a mention, since I was pretty much commuting by bike everywhere that was within a two-mile radius of my home. But then Walu and I both got sick last fall with something very like the swine flu (and probably was), and it took awhile to feel better...

and then it took a little longer...

and then I was awfully busy...

and then there was some depressing stuff going on at work and I just couldn't seem to find the energy...

and then it was really, really hot...

An old story.

So here I am, nearly a full year later, and completely out of the habit of hopping on the old Salsa to run an errand. (I'm also out of the habit of fitness in general, but that's another old story.) Oh sure, I ride to school most days, but that hardly counts since I only live seven-tenths of a mile from the front door of my house to the front door of my office. And that includes going up to the second floor.

I read somewhere once that it takes six weeks to form a habit. Or maybe it was twelve, I can't remember. (It seems to take much less than that to lose one--at least, I suppose, if it is a good habit. Bad habits seem to stick like Double Bubble in hair.) Six or twelve, I've got my work cut out for me to get back into the swing of things, commute-by-bike-wise. So I thought I'd kick start the new/old habit by adding a mileage counter at the top of the blog page.

All you hard-core bike commuters out there needn't get too excited about this. As I said, I don't live far from work, and my favorite two grocery stores are all within a couple of miles, so I'm not going to be toting up any impressive mileage. I just want to remind myself to stop and consider whether I actually need to get in a car to go somewhere when I've got two perfectly good legs to get me there.

10 comments:

  1. Very, very good :D Just keep on keeping on. The miles will build, the habit will reform and you will simply be glad you are doing it. :)

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  2. Re: the habits, both good and bad - I can relate, I can relate. Love the mileage counter.

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  3. Hi Susan,
    Glad to hear you are biking again!

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  4. I've always heard it takes just 21 days (3 weeks!) to make something a habit. My work is just a tiny bit too far to ride a bike to, plus I go in the dark most mornings. Oh, and I don't have a bike right now, so there is that little hurdle to overcome.

    But I'll be cheering you on!

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  5. Glad to see you are getting back to it. I live only 3 miles from work (the shortest way) and occasionally bike though am much more prone to run - even setting aside a day for that (Thursday's are for running to work - and yes - year round!).

    Today's commute took me a bit over 9 miles and included 7.4 of single-track hiking trail through woods lit up by the changing leaves. It was incredibly beautiful and what my soul needed before entering the doors. Recommend some sort of sojourn outdoors for everyone!

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  6. My oldest grandson had a documented case of swine flue last novemeber and it was 6 weeks before he was able to go to school and even now almost a year later he is still short of breath. Scarry stuff
    Keep up with what you can and the rest is just small stuff.

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  7. If it takes six weeks to form a good habit, it takes me six days to form a bad one. I am just too ashamed to tell you how many weeks it's been since I hopped on my bike. I guess weather is no excuse...some people still bike commute in winter now with those fat tires.

    Christine in Alaska

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  8. Hi y'all! Thanks for the comments and support. I'll keep you posted on how I make out.

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  9. I've also heard it takes 3 weeks, but since you're reforming a life-long habit, who's counting? :) Good for you. Ride safe.

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  10. ugh... i wish i could get back to my bike riding habit, but it's a little too easy for me to make an excuse. from a safety standpoint, most of the roads around here don't seem bike worthy. i was just up at my alma mater (msu) where i primarily traveled via two wheels, and it made me pine for the good ol' days. it was a good reminder that i could at least hop on the bike for a recreational spin around the neighborhood.
    keep your counter ticking, what a fun idea.

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