Building New Habits and Taking Back Your Time

The first day the stay-at-home issue was ordered in my county, I had spent the entirety of my day locked away in my room with my eyes locked on my phone screen. I would desperately scroll through each and every app seeking some sort of entertainment or even just the slightest bit of serotonin. I looked for absolutely any black hole to fall through, whether it was the depths of Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Tik Tok, or Netflix, nothing could distract me from the seemingly everlasting time.

Until this point in my life, I never felt like I had enough time, but now I had so much of it, and nothing to do. I had gone from the start of what was supposed to be the most exciting period of my life to a complete state of stagnation, which initially felt like a complete shock to my system.

It took a week of me wasting time to come to the realization that I was looking at things from the completely wrong perspective. If I wanted to simulate somewhat of a normal life, I had to utilize my time instead of throwing it away. Quarantine shouldn’t be an excuse to waste away but a motivation to form new habits that I can maintain far after this is over.

Starting new habits is merely a game of repetition, and it starts with a small change that gradually compounds into something bigger. Along the way as you continue to build onto your habit, it’s helpful to start with a broken-down version of it and build up to the cohesive form. Pace yourself accordingly, and make sure to build some sort of structure into your life to follow. It’s perfectly okay to miss a day but just make sure one day doesn’t become two.

One way I applied this to my life was through exercising. As a washed-up high school athlete turned lazy college student, staying active was always a goal I had in the back of my mind, but something I never tackled until now. The key is starting with slow cardio, getting your body back into the wave of things. I started with probably the slowest and shortest run of all time, and then I slowly built up endurance over time. When I didn’t feel like running, I would try to ensure I broke some sort of a sweat through another activity such as biking. Eventually after the first few weeks, instead of my little sister having to drag me out of the house to go on a run I began to do it myself, and it’s become one of the few things I have actually trained myself to look forward to.

Woman running with a sunset in the background

Forging a new habit could exactly be the structure you’ve been missing in what feels like a completely chaotic feeling time. Make sure you do something for the betterment of yourself during this quarantine, and don’t underestimate the everlasting importance of time and what you do with it.