Getting In a Good Habit

I want healthy habits, but they take time.

I don’t want to write right now. I want to go off on a tangent. I want to tweet and comment on my friends’ status updates. I want to check CNN and learn more about the senseless shooting of Congresswoman Giffords in Arizona. 

That story reminds me of when I was on assignment in Tucson a few months ago and saw bullet holes in the flags flown by Humane Borders, an awesome group that provides water to migrants in the desert 

I dont’ know why anyone would shoot those symbols of water which could save lives. Vandals shot at Humane Border’s 100 lifegiving water tanks too. I don’t understand shooting at all. Violence begets violence. I hate gun violence.

I believe in peaceful solutions. I believe in the power of small steps to make the world better — small acts of kindness and small attempts at healthy behavior.

I don’t want to get sucked into watching TV and feeling angry and powerless tonite. My desire to develop healthy habits seems insignificant in the face of a national tragedy. 

To overcome stress and national trauma, it is necessary to perform small acts of self care. For me, that’s developing a habit of blogging or walking. I am comitted to these, even briefly.

Fifteen minutes a day is good enough. Between watching my son’s two basketball games this morning and watching the Columbia-Union College basketball game this afternoon, I went for a walk with Barbara in Central Park. We did not walk for long or far, but we walked and talked for about half an hour. It felt great.

How long does it take for a daily action to become a habit?  

One study says 15 minutes of vigorous activity a day reduces the risk of obesity. Another study says after 66 days of an activity you will acquire a healthy habit (and if you skip a few days, that’s okay).

So a week after my New Year’s goal setting, I am on my way to 2011 goal getting. Now that I’m done with this blog, I want to tweet, watch TV, check Facebook, but I think I will just go to sleep. I wanted to be in bed by 10 pm every night, but that goal’s not happening.

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