I’m exactly six weeks from starting the next huge adventure of my life. I’m spending the year abroad in Prague, where I plan on studying the language I’ve been hearing my whole life, meeting all my distant relatives, learning everything I possibly can about my history, making phenomenal friends to last a lifetime, and maybe even finding a Czech man (although Babi cautions me that they are “unreliable, so be careful”).
And I can’t help but remember advice I got years ago: It takes six weeks to form a habit. Until the day that sentiment was calmly spoken to a frustrated 11 year old girl, I’d always just assumed that you were the way you were. That was one (of many!) eye-opening moments I got while at Odyssey. I realized that people meant it when they told me, “You can be anything you want to be.” They didn’t only mean that I could be a doctor or a teacher or a firefighter, if that’s what I wanted. They also meant that I could be more patient, less fearful, more open. Nobody is everything they are out of pure chance. The bad things come because we (or our parents, friends, etc.) indulge them. And the good things are there because we work at them.
So I’ve got six weeks, and a very nice, concrete time marker at the end. So I’m setting habits. These are not goals, they are habits. I’ve always felt like goals are nice: things to aim for, but rarely to achieve. Goals, to me, are out of reach (for now, at least). They require a lot of work, a long timetable, and help from outside sources to accomplish. Habits, on the other hand, are smaller. They depend on me, and only me. They are easily measured, easily accomplished, and don’t require anything except willpower and determination. So I’m setting four habits to accomplish in the next six weeks. (more…)