Enforcing habits, lessons from seasonal living

We all dream about building a life with good habits (at least I do). Habits might be to bring us a long life, or to become good and successful at something.

From my experience we all already have a lot of habits, some strong, some not so strong. Most people will brush their teeth at the start of a day, or start watching a YouTube video when you have spare time, like waiting for the bus. I can name a few habits myself that I want to be rid of, and some that I think are really good.

During my seasons I’ve noticed how I build some very strong habits. I then completely break these at the end of season. My first season as a ski instructor in Sweden I tended to get hungry (and by extension cold) just before lunch and before end of day. My solution to this was to always have a chocolate bar in my pocket.

Eating half a bar of chocolate every day for three months was not my healthiest habit (but I moved around so much that I didn’t gain any weight).

Perhaps the strongest habit I’ve had is the one of going skiing every day. Eventually you come to a point where not skiing for a day will make you crawl in your skin. When the ski season ends I usually have to find some other habit to substitute skiing with.

Experimenting a bit with this idea of substituting habits I now find myself in a very interesting position. Every three or four months there is a golden opportunity to rebuild my habits. I can throw out my bad habits and substitute them with something of my own choice. (What about eating an orange every time I feel like eating chocolate?)

To try this out I’ve tried to build some habits while working in Stockholm (to varying success). Skiing has been substituted with work. But it turns out I’ve also been able to do proper excercise (almost) every day, as well as learn and improve on some of my skills. I haven’t done any leaps in my ability, but it’s been a steady process of improvement.

So what habit should I start with next ski season?


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