This is my 21st blog post. Blogging is now officially one of my habits. Actually, it became a habit a few posts ago. Let me explain.
Many years ago, a dental hygienist, who wanted me to begin flossing on a regular basis, advised that if you do something nineteen times, it will become a habit. She was suggesting that if I flossed my teeth for nineteen days, it would become a regular routine. It seemed like a fairly simplistic approach, and I was skeptical it would be efficacious. I also recognized the risk associated with embracing the corollary of the rule. That is, it could be dangerous to assume as long as you do something only eighteen times, it won’t become a habit. I suspect that a heroin habit might develop before the nineteenth dose is administered, but that’s speculation on my part.
Despite the dubiousness of the idea and the lack of supporting data, I became a daily flosser. As I have written about before, I believe the “nineteen times” rule works because if you make an attempt to try something as unpleasant but important as flossing or exercising for nineteen days in a row, you start to lose count sometime after the twelfth day, and it simply becomes routine.
Just like flossing and running, blogging has become routine for me. If you’re paying attention, though, you will have noticed I haven’t posted anything for two weeks. Granted, I don’t normally post more than once each week, but the extra week off was bothersome. I didn’t see it as a well-deserved break from the weekly grind. Rather, it felt like a break from routine; a somewhat uncomfortable break from routine. I was disappointed in myself.
I have some reasonably good excuses, including the imminent graduation of my daughter, which involves a significant amount of preparation in advance of the arrival of family. I am also exceedingly busy at work and experiencing a significant amount of stress. But none of that feels like a reason not to be posting every week.
My point is this: I write a blog post every week. It’s what I do. Blogging has become part of who I am. I’m not entirely sure how many people are reading the posts, but I’m not particularly concerned. I know that I feel better having taken the time to craft some ideas into a brief essay. I get usually get a few “likes,” and every now and then someone offers words of praise in response to something I’ve written, and that feels pretty good. I’m glad I’ve developed this routine.
I have a few other routines. I run, listen to heavy metal, grill stuff, and attempt to be a manager (though it’s been a rough week in the managing department). If you drop by to visit this blog on a regular basis, you’ll read about all of those habits. I suggest you visit nineteen times. Just sayin’.