One of the most resilient habits I created in the last decade is my morning yoga routine. Don’t get your hopes too high, I’m not a master yet, and I assure you will never see me doing Van Damme style splits any time soon. But I do at least 10 minutes of yoga – if only a Surya Namaskar – every single morning. And by that I mean every single morning. I got to a point where I’m not even monitoring the benefits, in the same way I’m not monitoring the benefits of brushing my teeth, or showering every day. It’s just part of my basic hygiene.
Even when I’m traveling, I am starting the day with this. I don’t always have my yoga mat with me, so I just do it on the floor. I also don’t put any ethereal music, nor do I burn some incense. Nothing exotic. If you don’t know it’s called yoga, you would say I’m just stretching for 10 minutes.
Where am I going with this?
There is a certain inertia that each habit carries with it. I’m not talking about the force of the habit, or how the more you do it, the easier it gets – I already did this in gravitational habits. No, this time is about how much a habit can survive.
And you really get to measure this survival rate when you’re altering your normal lifestyle. For instance, when you’re traveling. Can you still stick to your routine? And if not, if there are disruptions, how much it takes for you to get back on track? Like I already told you, I am still doing yoga every morning even when I’m traveling.
Because good habits will stick with you no matter the disruption. Of course, traveling could be considered a “nice” disruption. But we live in a world in which, unfortunately, you can spend weeks or months in lockdowns – against which you can’t do much, yet – and these are considerably less nice disruptions. And that’s where a good habit will make difference.
Being able to start the day in a healthy way played a major role in the first lockdown in Spain. It really helped me keep my cool and a little bit of mental balance. And it wasn’t the actual size of the habit, it was just 10 minutes every morning.
It was its inertia, its stickiness. It was so good that I decided to keep it even under the most unusual conditions.
And that’s a good way to test your actual habits inertia. Just ask yourself: is this habit something that I would still keep during a lockdown?
If the answer is “yes”, if the habit will die really hard, then it’s a good one. Stick to it.