October 16th, 2021

meow, cat, Siamese, catty

The Power of Habit

This morning I got downtown to the convention and suddenly realized I had no memory of taking an essential prescription that has to be taken first thing every morning. I had been so focused on getting everything ready and out the door in time that I literally had no memory of taking it.

However, by that point I had already parked my car, so going back home to check would mean having to pay a second parking fee, in addition to the opportunity cost of the lost time. Since the prescription in question isn't a life-and-death matter in the short run (go long enough without and it would be), I figured that if I got home and found the pill still in its compartment in the pill minder, I'd know that I needed to take it along with tomorrow's dose in the morning.

When I got home this evening, I went to check the pill minder, and yes, the appropriate compartment was empty. Which goes to show the power of the habit I've been building over the last two and a half years. I automatically went and took my pill even when I was short on sleep and hurrying.

Dean Wesley Smith discusses the power of habit and the motivation of maintaining a streak in his blog. Once you've gone long enough without missing a single day of doing something, whether it be exercising, blogging, writing fiction, editing one's writing or whatever, it becomes easier and easier to get back to it each day -- and the thought of breaking that streak and having to start all over is often motivation to squeeze it in one way or another.
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