"I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times." — Bruce Lee, martial artist
Any man who kicks once a day for twenty-seven years has certainly established a habit.
And establishing a habit is the key to changing yourself.
It’s a custom in America to start anew on January 1st each year.
But most New Year resolutions are broken after a few days.
Establishing a new habit isn’t easy.
How did the great Bach write a new cantata every week, even when he was sick, during his first years as a church organist in Leipzig?
How did Anthony Trollope write for three hours every morning, eventually writing seventy-nine books?
How were Bach and Trollope able to commit the time needed for these accomplishments?
In Trollope’s case, it appears that he started small.
He required of himself only a line of text per day.
He told himself that he would be satisfied with only a line.
That one line often grew to a paragraph or page; he would eventually require three pages before his work for the day was accomplished.
A new habit is established after sixty-six days of daily repetition, with easier habits, such as drinking a glass of water, established more quickly, and harder habits, such as performing fifty sit-ups, established more slowly. See PhillippaLally, European Journal of Social Psychology.
So, it would make sense to establish an easier habit first, a habit which might gradually grow into a larger habit.
To establish a new habit, ask very little of yourself.
Ask of yourself one daily kick, one daily line of text, one daily jumping jack, onedaily note played on the piano . . . one tiny daily iteration in the direction of whatever you wish to achieve or change.
And maybe this year, you’ll adhere to your resolution for the first time in your life.
* Orlando Bartro is the author of Toward Two Words, a comical novel about a man who finds yet another woman he never knew, available at Amazon. He is currently writing two new novels and a play.