I’ve heard that doing something daily for three straight weeks (or not doing it, as the case may be) can make that behavior a permanent part of one’s life. Practicing kung fu at least four times a week has been a permanent behavior of mine since autumn of 2011, when I began training for black sash. That was bumped up to five times weekly once I was invited to Friday night class, and it quickly became clear that it wasn’t an invitation I was free to decline if I wanted to be promoted.
Then, I began teaching. That was a Monday, Wednesday, Saturday schedule of classes, while my family was taking class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Throw in Friday class, and suddenly, I was doing kung fu at least six days a week. The teaching days and Fridays in the guan have been replaced by training at the gym, since the big fallout with Sifu; so my kung fu week has remained six days long. There have even been a few weeks where there was no day off, and I trained eight or nine days straight.
Now, you would think my body would be thrilled with a day’s rest – and it probably is. My brain, on the other hand, doesn’t know what to make of it. My night off always feels a little weird. Tonight, the weirdness itself is weird!
I have grocery shopping to do, packing to finish and a little quality time to spend with my spouse before I’m gone for a week. And still, I’ve spent far too much brain power today trying to figure out if there’s any way I can get it all done and still make an appearance at the Friday class that I’m permitted to return to, now that the calendar reads June.
The art really is the thing that’s calling – particularly in a week where I learned new ways of doing old techniques. It’s not some grand re-entrance to the fold or some masochistic need to overdo it (Friday class is always an abuse of the body that’s supposed to make us stronger). It takes three weeks to make a habit, but I’m fairly certain it would take closer to three months to break my habit of wanting to practice daily.
I’m guessing on this timeframe, of course. And I’m guessing without any intention of testing it! 🙂