I have been trying to build some new habits this year, with varying degrees of success. One of these is to write a Medium article weekly. If you look through my stories you’ll see that I’ve not done too badly on this front. Not quite once a week but close to it most months.
However, September and the early part of October were much busier than usual for me. A work project that I’ve been anticipating all year suddenly got going at the same time that the show I was musical director for was reaching its final stages.
And I decided that I needed to stop worrying about making time to write. I removed it from my recurring reminders and took it off my fridge door to-do list. I was struggling to get all my essential tasks done each week so to try to also fit in writing (and guitar playing) seemed a fool’s errand.
Do I regret this decision? Not at all. It allowed me to divide all my energy between work and the show, areas of my life where I had no choice but to give all that I could as these were things I’d committed to. (One of which I’m obviously paid for!)
And although I didn’t write or publish anything during that time, I did write some notes on future stories I wanted to write, including this one!
My point is that when you’re choosing to build a habit, it is a choice. If you want to take a break from it then that’s also your choice.
If you find yourself in that position I would suggest reflecting on the reason why you want to take a break:
- Do you have other things making demands on your time that are more important for you to focus on?
- Do you feel as if you’re not getting the benefits from the habit that you had hoped for?
- Are you running out of time because you’re choosing to spend it elsewhere on things that aren’t actually important to you (but may well be easier!)?
- Are you simply forgetting it?
Once you’ve thought about why you want to stop focusing on a habit, you can then make a decision: do you need to make a change to the habit, find a new cue for it, put in on hold temporarily or let it go?
Remember, you are using your habits to help you, not to make yourself feel chained to them.
Consistency may be key. But reality and sanity have to take precedence.