I have been pretty open in the last couple months about just how awful I feel. The year has been hard, and it has taken its toll on me. More so emotionally and mentally, but physically as well. I have had the most ‘random’ physical ailments pop up out of nowhere. I say random jokingly because of course it’s all related. When I look at the bigger picture though, I can see very clearly that my habits got me through in the times that I didn’t really have the willpower to get things done.
Habits are ingrained so much that your brain doesn’t have to use nearly as much energy to do the thing. Habits are the tracks, you are the train. When the train is running low on steam, it still rolls forward on the tracks. The key is to planning the direction your tracks are going in ahead of time. That is where habits come in.
Habits Get A Bad Name
When I start talking about habits with people, more often than not, their eyes glaze over. This thought of habits has been drilled into us to the point we hear the world and we tune out because its old news and frankly boring. I am here to offer a new perspective. I think I have narrowed down the issue why habits get a bad name. It comes down to 2 things.
First, we all want to think of the bad habits we need to give up. And honestly, that just sucks. Giving things up, even if we know it’s for our best interest is not only hard, but it sucks to stop doing something that gives us comfort or pleasure or safety.
Secondly, starting new habits requires determination and discomfort and learning. We have to be willing to be bad at it at first and keep doing it. As a recovering perfectionist, not my personal strong suit. We risk failure and disappointment when we admit we want to start something new. So how do we re-frame this?
Habits Are Preparation
As I have learned this year, habits carry us through. So what if we didn’t think of them as having to give anything up or having to suffer? What if we thought of them as laying down the tracks and setting the course. Instead of something to dread, they can be something to depend on. We can’t see what is coming months or years from now, but we can be proactive in making sure we are ready to face it head on without everything falling apart.
Habits are storm preparations during hurricane season in Florida. When you have a plan, feel confident with repetitions, and it becomes second nature, then the storms of life aren’t going to shake you. Taking the time and energy now to get yourself prepared is going to be well worth it. Soon enough, you are just cruising along like you’ve been living this way forever.
Think of the lifestyle and health that you have and compare it to what you want. What is just the next step? It should be small and doable in the time frame of just a few weeks. If you need to break it down further, do that. Once you have your next step, be diligent and intentional about implementing it for 3 weeks. Give yourself that time to try, fail, and try again. But never give up or stop. You can do anything for 3 weeks right? At the end of 3 weeks, evaluate your experience. What was the journey like? What were the results? Then, what is the next small step and repeat. This is it. Laying the tracks and setting the direction. This is preparation for the storms. No giving up or suffering, just taking action. Habits are fun, see 😉