#HAWMC: Creature of Habit

#HAWMC Day 4.

I’ve finished a few chapters of The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. His website has a good explanation of how habits work. Charles says there is a habit loop: cue, routine and reward. He suggest four steps in changing a habit –

  1. Identify the routine.
  2. Experiment with rewards.
  3. Isolate the cue.
  4. Have a plan.

Slide119-e1320805558876Photo credit. http://charlesduhigg.com/how-habits-work/

In Day 1 of #HAWMC, I posted a cropped picture of myself. Here’s the full picture with my Pilates instructor Wina.

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I’ve been taking twice-weekly Pilates classes with Wina since June 2013. This picture was taken as a memento of our time together, as she is moving on to teach Pilates overseas. I will certainly miss her but I will continue with my Pilates – it has become a habit!

In the beginning, I had to carve out a protected time for my Pilates classes – Tuesday and Saturday afternoons. These were my “free” periods, when I neither had classes nor clinics. I resisted the temptation to schedule other things (i.e. meetings) on my Pilates time slot – until it became routine. These afternoons ceased to be “free” time, it had become my Pilates time.

I had wanted to take Pilates classes for awhile but couldn’t find a convenient studio. When a studio opened near my house, I jumped at the chance.

I’ve had an S-curve scoliosis since I was 13. I wore a Milwaukee-Yamamoto back brace for five years, until I was 18. I was advised to swim regularly but I couldn’t, given the time constraints of medical school, then residency and fellowship. Aside from needing to hide my back hump with loose-fitting dresses, I basically forgot about my scoliosis. Until I gave birth. I suffered debilitating back pain after my two pregnancies and had to undergo physical therapy postpartum. Of course, I stopped these sessions when the back pain resolved.

Until I found Pilates. I wish I had started sooner.

What was my reward? I stand taller. I’m able to wear clothes in styles that wouldn’t have been possible before. I’ve developed a body awareness that warns me when I start slouching at my desk. I rarely suffer from back pain. I feel more limber.

What next? I want to be able to do Pilates exercises on my own – on days when I don’t have sessions at the studio. I bought a Pilates circle. I have a stability ball. I have small hand weights and exercise bands. I have books. I don’t use these!

Like Charles says, it starts with the cue. I’m going to have to start working on that!

 

 

 

 

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