It’s All Downhill From There

Your legs are on fire. Your breath is short. You’re dripping sweat.

Whether biking, running, or walking, we’ve all felt the gravitational pull and the cardiovascular strain of doing anything uphill.

It’s hard work. It’s strenuous. It sucks.

Eventually, though, the incline subsides and you can take a deep breath. For a brief moment, you’re not struggling, straining, and fighting for the next inch. That second or two is calming.

Then, as you progress past the peak and start downhill, things get A LOT easier. No more stress, no more strain, no more struggle. Your only concern on the downward slope is keeping your balance and staying on course. Small redirects and tiny adjustments are all that’s necessary once you’ve got gravity on your side.

This contrast of struggling against gravity on the way up and surrendering to it on the way down is a metaphor for how we acquire and implement positiveĀ habits in our daily lives.

Creating good habits is hard. It’s strenuous. It’s one part will power, one part motivation, and one part hope. Similar to climbing uphill, there’s very little enjoyment in the work you put in. It sucks.

But once the habit takes form, it’s all downhill from there. Like gravity’s unrelenting momentum as your stride or bicycle start downhill, positive habits allow your decision making, thought patterns, and actions to speed up. You don’t have to spend time analyzing each decision. You’re on cruise control, with your habits at the helm.

Keep this in mind whenever you’re trying to implement positive habits in your life. Keep working hard at acquiring the habits you seek, because the payoff once you’ve mastered them is priceless. That downhill, wind in your face, feet off the pedals momentum is worth each moment of struggle and stress.

If you’re trying to eat better, stay on the regimen until it’s automatic. It may take a while, but the payoff is worth the pain.

If you’re trying to exercise more, keep at it every day. Do it when you don’t want to. Push for that extra rep or extra mile. Your body and mind will eventually find that kind of hard work to be commonplace, making the decision to exercise not a decision at all. You just get up and move.

If you’re trying to write, play guitar, or communicate better, keep putting in the work. It may be ugly in the beginning, but eventually it will get easier and easier to do the things that you once couldn’t.

On your way up a hill, gravity isn’t your friend. It’s holding you back and making you work harder to reach the top. Once you start rolling downhill, though, it’s your greatest ally. It will make you go faster than you ever could have without it.

The process of creating meaningful habits mimics theĀ same trajectory. Once you crossover from acquiring a habit to executing that habit, your life gets easier. You don’t have to think or work as hard with tasks that were once daunting. Having the habit as your ally, you can do things you never could have without it.

Keep pushing your way up the Habit Hill. Putting the hard work on the front end will create massive momentum on the back end.

It’s all downhill from there.

-Nick