Today I was at my first PT session for strain of my plantar fascia. There, I saw an older man who was hunchback. From the middle of his back to his shoulders was severely arched. His back was curved like a “?.” As we walked, I wished I could have gone over to him and just help him straighten his back so he could walk normally, the easier way. However as I watched him walk, it was obviously that he did so with difficulty, and no question that he was forced into his current way of walking, rather than being a choice of his own.
At that point, it was too late for me to simply put a knee in his lower back and using my hands on his shoulders, pull his spine straight. Over time, likely years, his back curved and is basically fixed in that position now. My efforts would have been better spent the first day, and continueing day-after-day of stretching his back to improve his posture, likely when the problem was unnoticeable. Before his routine was cemented, and the downward spiral began.
It got me to thinking of other vices which accumulate over time, only noticing the result after the accumulation of daily increments. The obese person, the person living in the street, the solitary individual, the bad relationships, etc. All reached, not from one moment, but though tiny accumulations.
On the other hand, this accumulation over time can also benefit us. Though good habits, we can notice their accumulated positive results. I noticed this once after I had torn my achilles tendon. After 6 months of healing, I started PT. After the PT finished, I was told that I should get on a regular work out routine, so I signed up at the local gym and began going to 6am classes very morning. After the first few, I had 4-5 days straight, no break in routine, eventually it turned to 2 weeks, then a month, rarely missing a morning. In the beginning the chain of unbroken days kept me motived, sometimes even riding my bike in the pouring rain to get to class.
If I did break the chain, and miss a day, it was the results which kept me going back. By 3-weeks, my body had changed. Not from a single workout, but though the routine itself, the chains of dozens of days. I was stronger, in both body and mind.
Anything great, is a composition of many small things, best accumulated though habit. Find them, make them easy to maintain.
Also remember, that routine is a two-way sword, also be on the lookout for negative habits and break them before it’s too late to notice the calcified results.