Here’s a case study on how I’ve improved my work/life balance by doing something I love (at least) once a day.
It’s no secret I’m a keen mountain biker - I spent 15 years involved in the bike industry fixing bikes, selling bikes, running bike events, running bike websites, building bike trails, editing a bike magazine, co-producing a bike TV series, fronting an online bike video series, advocating for biking & generally being a bit obsessed about riding bikes off-road.
That all ended in 2009 when I was struck down by ankylosing spondylitis - an autoimmune inflammatory arthritis condition. Struggling to walk, let alone ride bikes I realised how hard it is to be passionate about mountain biking when riding is painfully impracticable.
Fast forward to 2017 & I had my condition more or less under control, but felt like I was missing something. Sure I was still riding bikes, but it was a patchy, inconsistent experience & I was struggling to find space between work & family. I missed my old identity as a “mountain biker”.
So I decided to go on a bike ride every day of 2018 “even if it was just around the block”.
Cue a lesson in what it takes to form a habit.
The first month was easy, the idea of riding every day was novel & I felt motivated to get out every day.
Three months in I was questioning whether I could keep it up. The weather was getting worse & going on a bike ride every day felt like a drag & a chore.
But I persisted. Even if it meant going for a ride at night, in the rain, with a headcold that made my nose run like a tap. Even if it meant going for a wobble around the block after concussing myself with a lawnmower (which is another story).
After riding my bike every day of 2018 I gave myself a high five & did the same thing for 2019.
Today was the 779th day in a row I’ve gone for a bike ride.
What I’ve really enjoyed about this commitment to myself is that it means that every day I need to find some time for me, to do something I love.
It’s also led to some creative logistics - like borrowing my brother-in-law’s antique bicycle for a steep sketchy ride around the Wellington hill suburbs, to renting all sorts of random bicycles on my recent 2 week trip to the U.S.A.
I can highly recommend committing yourself to doing something you love (at least) once a day.
Not only is doing something you love good for the soul, but specifically prioritising that in my day is an excellent reminder for putting self-care first.
Photo By Didier Weemaels