In my earlier post, I spoke about belief and desire to change habits. Part of the write-up also reflected my own experience. My father was in the military and was a strict disciplinarian. He would always exhort us to be physically active and encourage going for an early morning run. However, as kids we used to hate it and try avoiding it making one excuse or the other, without any realization of how this habit can be of great use when we grow older.
Things however turned differently as I left my family and hometown to go to Delhi for work. Once you get into a job, life normally recedes in the background as the weight of expectations (self, family and boss) takes over and leave you with burnouts and a strong yearning for the weekends.
7-8 years into the job, something happened which changed the way I lived my life. I love nature and while browsing through my Facebook feed, I saw pictures of valley of flowers. Valley of flowers is located in the Nanda Devi Biosphere reserve in the Himalayas and requires a trek of almost 25 kilometers to witness the sublime beauty of the exotic flowers, which blossoms only during the monsoon season.
Mesmerized by the pictures I saw, I decided to go for the trek. Somehow managed to get leaves for this, which require almost 6 days, travelling from and back to Delhi. Once on that trek, I realized albeit in a hard way, how weak I have become, not able to negotiate the ascents, which even the kids in some of the villages on the way, were running on comfortably. The awareness further strengthened on the day we were supposed to visit Valley of flowers. It was just a 3 kilometers ascent that day and we had 4 hours to reach there. Only 2 people out of the group of 10 reached after more than 5 hours and one of those 2 people was me. And I was feeling dead tired not able to even enjoy the scenic beauty of that place. That moment, pushed me to action, to do something to bring about a change in myself.
After I returned, I promised to go for more treks and to enjoy them rather than labor myself through the trail. I began learning yoga from a friend who used to practice it regularly and religiously followed my daily run. The target that I had given myself was to go for another trek that year and enjoy it, it was the Hampta pass trek located in Manali, another Himalayan trek but slightly tougher than Valley of flowers. I completed that trek as the fastest member of that group, and that surprised me even. I enjoyed the trek thoroughly, took pictures, relaxed at places as other group members were slower and was able to enjoy the company of the mountains in solitude.
However, what the trekking habits changed in me was my discipline and will power and a belief that I can achieve anything with my determination. I could stick to the new routine thinking of how I will be enjoying when I go for a trek. The habit had a snowball effect on my life, triggering interests, which were lying in hibernation. As I trekked more, met different people, I enjoyed the experience even more and sticking to the habits instead of a challenge became a natural choice. I also wrote my first blog a year after I started trekking, stopped having cold drinks, milked coffee and tea and was naturally observant of what I was eating.
Just one passion of becoming good at trekking changed so many other facets of my life, leading me to other habits, which I probably would not even have thought of. I even went for hikes during my short stay in Canada during December-January, when even the locals are scared to venture out. I felt the happiest however when I was able to write my first book inspired by my experiences during these treks, my first science fiction – From the faraway Galaxy.
Passion can have a ripple effect on so many facets of our life especially our habits. What is important is, to be mindful of it. So, follow your passion, habits will automatically tail them.