I learned a valuable lesson when was when I was making a rosary. It took forever to finish, and I took a lot of time off in between. I’d work on it and get bored or my hands would hurt, and I’d put it aside. I finally realized that when I got back to it, nothing had taken away the work that I’d done. No “rosary elves” had shortened my project by five links. What I had done was still there.
The same is true of our good habits. Any forward progress is forward progress, no matter how slow. A difference with good deeds is that we don’t have something to look at to see our progress, so we tend to forget how far we’ve come. We look at the time we took off rather than the work we’ve already done. We look at the fact that we stopped rather than the fact that we started again.
When we are trying to start a good habit, like sitting up straight instead of hunching over, we will find ourselves hunched over, and suddenly remember to straighten. Then, five or ten minutes later, we are back, hunched over. This is normal. We straighten again, and we tend to think “Ugh! Why do I keep hunching over?” It is healthier to think “Hey! I remembered to sit up straight!” instead.
Focus on what is working. Focus on what you are doing right. Ignore the mistakes and the pauses. That is part of the package deal of being human. It will become habit to do the right thing, but it takes a while. All good habits are learned, just like bad habits. Having patience with the process is part of the process.