Archive of ‘habits’ category

Portion Control

Something happened when I turned 35.
The 5 pounds that could come and go as they pleased…came. And stayed.
The tricks I used like lowering my calories for a few days and drinking tons of water made no difference. Suddenly, I was stuck with the extra 5 pounds. And beyond diet pills (which I am NOT willing to try), I had no idea what to do toget rid of the poundage.

I joined a HIIT gym last year and started working out 4 or 5 days a week. I did begin to lose some weight and change my body shape, which was AWESOME, but there were parts of me that wouldn’t budge. (PARTS THAT ALWAYS BUDGED BEFORE.) So after I turned 36, my girlfriend suggested I pay closer attention to my diet.
I’d almost prefer be fat or take diet pills than pay closer attention to my diet.
I hate turning down cake or a martini, or a cake martini. I hate saying no to potato chips; it feels rude. I hate walking past the halloween candy over and over and over again like it’s NOT EVEN THERE. But I agreed that instead of my typical, “I’ll cut out carbs,” or “I’ll cut out fat,” or, “I’ll cut out eating,” diet plans, I would begin to spread my meals out over the course of the day and be more focused on portion control.

God I wince just TYPING “portion control.” It’s like the saddest two words in the universe when you put them together.

I started yesterday morning with an eating schedule and a list of foods that fit into the portions I planned to eat – a protein, a vegetable, a carb, and a fat. Breakfast was at 8:30 with oatmeal, almond milk, a small side of spinach, and a scoop of protein powder. (BTW, did you know that you can order protein powder in a 5lb container? You can. It is the size of my coffee pot. I will be Hee Man by the end of the week. And if you don’t get that joke, then you don’t yet understand what I’m talking about when I say I turned 35 and things changed because you think I should just do a “cleanse.”)
Being an effective woman, I decided to put the protein powder into my oatmeal. It’s flavorless protein powder. What could possibly go wrong?
Glue. Glue is what could go wrong. My oatmeal turned to glue and was completely inedible. I tried covering it in Abe’s applesauce just so I could get it down, but no. It was awful. I went to the gym after breakfast with only about half my required calories for breakfast.

After the gym came my Shakeology shake, which I drink religiously and with fervor. It was the only part of my day that went right.

Lunch. I had to eat another meal, similar to breakfast. I opted for leftover steak, broccoli, and a little bit of macaroni. It’s cute to say you love broccoli and all that. Look, broc is great with butter and salt or cheese or hollandaise sauce. But straight broccoli is not your first choice and you know it. So I went ahead and added some salt.
Except that I added ALL of the salt.

All the salt.

My girlfriend told me portion control is not always like this.

I was starving by the time dinner rolled around, so I dove into an episode of Lazy Recipes Live and then scarfed down my food, Halloween candy just staring me in the face. Dinner? More leftover steak, butternut squash, rice, and salad.

Today is day 2 of portion control. This morning was much better with eggs and oatmeal instead of glue. But then when I got home from the gym in time to make my protein smoothie, I suddenly remembered why it was so imperative I go to the grocery store YESTERDAY – I’m out of spinach. Not such a big deal? Except that it meant I had to add raw broccoli slaw to my smoothie for the vegetable serving which, as you might guess, is not as easy to hide in a smoothie as spinach is.
Don’t do it. It’s awful.

If this portion control thing doesn’t work, I’m writing a very long blog about how this portion control thing doesn’t work.

 

On Being Positive

I spent most of my 20s complaining. I didn’t really believe most of the complaints I made, but it gave me something to do and someone to be. I liked being the cynical jester, always cracking a hearty little quip about the state of things, always harping on what’s true and what’s real.

The people who loved me loved the fact that I always had a snarky comment.

Trouble was…it wasn’t actually me. And there were other things that weren’t actually me. I wasn’t the fast driver I purported myself to be. I didn’t actually care if I ingested gluten. I didn’t want to be a school psychologist. I really, really, really like(d) Dr. Phil.
There were so many “mes” I tried to be in order to maintain the illusion of what everyone thought that I was. And I built the person everyone thought I was in an effort to feel at home with people. Isn’t it ironic that I left the home that was me to try to join the home of a bunch of other people?

 

 

 

 

When I got divorced in 2013, I didn’t have much veil left to hold up in front of the mes, and what was left was filled with holes and kind of a pathetic attempt at the peek-a-boo game. It’s tough to be the witty-complainer or the gluten-protester when you can’t get out of bed.
That experience revealed some things about me that, at first, I thought needed to be fixed (after all, I’d spent thousands of dollars in the years prior trying to fix myself…):
1. I have strong and fast boundaries. I don’t let people in too quickly and I don’t allow people who aren’t in my best interest to stay. This meant letting some very important people go. I spent a long time feeling guilty about that.
2. I am irretrievably positive. I can see the best in any person, any situation. This led me to believe I was naive.
3. I am an over-sharer. I will tell the gal at grocery check-out about my birth control pills.

I tried changing all three of these things. I tried to let more people into my inner circle and keep the ones who were already there. I tried to tone down the “bright side” and be a little more realistic. I even stopped blogging consistently in an attempt to tone down my oversharing.

Pretty neat how life stripped back all the costumes I’d put on in my 20s, only to have me start putting new ones on…

The good news is, I noticed. I felt the difference between being who I am and being who I think I need to be. I removed some people from my life. I started blogging/posting to social media again with conscious attention paid to how much of my life people need to know about. And, of course, my positivity came back full force. So strongly, in fact, that sometimes it’s physically painful to listen to people talk about the negative or the “reality” of any situation when I know there is so much to be grateful for and believe in. When I don’t feel happy, I know it’s because I’m probably not being true to one of those three rules of me.
Caveat: I break my own rules all the time. This is what makes me human. And it’s only when I break my own rules that I remember how I feel when I’m being anything other than me. It’s actually a really good reminder to be even more me.
The strangest lesson, though, is that my positivity bothers people. Like…a lot. When someone is focused on what’s real, on the current state of affairs, and it’s all negative…they think I’m a dreamer for believing something better and different is brewing.
Turns out no matter what you do, someone is going to complain.

 

 

Walking the (ow, ow) Walk

Today was one of those days I woke up and could not for the LIFE of me figure out how the laundry basket started overflowing during the night while I was asleep. BECAUSE IT WAS NOT OVERFLOWING BEFORE I WENT TO SLEEP. I immediately hobbled on aching legs with the full laundry basket and instead of separating and carefully choosing washer settings, I threw it all in BECAUSE IT WAS NOT THIS FULL LAST NIGHT WHERE DID IT ALL COME FROM.

I really wanted to go to the gym because Tuesdays are “light cardio” days and that seemed almost doable based on the unconventional way I got out of bed to go to the bathroom this morning. I decided I’d do a little work first, though, because I’m a writer. And writing only requires sitting.

While I was writing a piece for a client about other people’s perceptions, I started daydreaming about yoga this past weekend. You see, on Saturday I held my first ever yoga class. I led a small group of women from my prayer group through a simple yoga series on the beach at 9:30 in the morning. I’d agonized over what I was going to teach the night before. And as I agonized, I remembered chanting in kundalini yoga. I love chanting in yoga. It’s primal. It’s often based in Sikhism and spoken in Hindu. It’s a beautiful recognition of God in a way I understand.

Just one problem. This was a CHRISTIAN prayer group.

Now, I knew that I was not trying to lead these women away from Christianity by introducing chanting into our yoga practice. So I figured it would be ok, especially if one of them questioned it because I would simply explain that what the chanting meant to me. And they’d be fine with that because I’m very trustworthy.
And modest.
But right before I went to sleep the night before my yoga group, I texted my girlfriend.
“Hey. So. Do you think it would be ok if I included Hindu or Buddhist chanting in my Christian yoga group?”
She didn’t answer right away, so I took it as a sign and decided I’d include the chanting. Then I went to sleep.

I woke up to a text from her that basically said, “You do what’s in your heart, but remember that what you do as a leader will affect your participants, your followers, the ones learning from you; so if you aren’t clear with your intentions or it’s remotely possible that someone will take it the wrong way, consider that. But trust what’s on your heart.”

This was literally the first time in my life someone explained to me that it didn’t matter what my intention was: if I wanted to be a leader, to be heard, to TEACH, I would have to consider the way my actions, EVEN the ones with the best intentions, would land on the hearts of my yogis. It made far more sense now than ever. Except.

Shit. 
Now I don’t have a yoga series planned anymore.

11896079_10207474976982498_1457476227728095454_nI ended up completely winging the yoga class, and it was probably better than anything I could have planned that included chants. And, of course, it got me thinking about all the other times I just expected the people in my life to be fine with my actions because I knew what my intentions were. I wonder how often they didn’t understand my intentions and therefore misjudged my actions? And who’s choice was that? And other deep thoughts, etc., etc.

Anyway, I got through the laundry and made it through cardio because I knew I had to check in with my Facebook Fitness Group today. Even if my intention was to go easy on myself because I’m so sore, I knew that if I am to lead that group towards a healthy lifestyle, I was going to have to go and walk the walk, no pun intended. I’m sure they would have understood if I chose to stay home…but then they might have stayed on their couches.

IMG_2875
Also. My laundry basket was empty for almost 11 minutes today.

 

The What and the How

Anxiety-GirlI remember the first time I had anxiety. It was about a month before my wedding. I was working a job I wasn’t sure I cared for and rushing to make lunch with friends and I started panicking. What-if monsters filled my head with completely unreasonable expectations. The groomsmen’s planes might all be late, or their tuxes might not show up. The bridesmaids might forget their dresses. It might rain. IT WILL PROBABLY RAIN. The flowers are going to wilt. I wasn’t even PLANNING my own wedding (my family did most of it for me) and I had imaginary check-lists of What-Ifs in my head doing the macarena with pencil arms.

Now, years later, I have anxiety pretty regularly. I don’t remember what it was like to not have it. I get anxiety when I open the mailbox, when I check my bank account, when I hand someone my health insurance card…One of the few times I never have anxiety, though, is when I go to church. I sing like I’m at a concert and I am reminded that God can answer all my prayers. In FACT! Earlier this year I wrote a list of things I needed God to figure out for me because they seemed insurmountable. And low and behold, every single thing on that list, every goal, was dealt with and met in a way that I never could have done on my own. Problems were solved in ways I didn’t even THINK about!
And so I continued writing down my goals because I had proof that it was all possible. I wrote down the things I wanted, the things I knew would make me happy and feel good. So today while listening to Pastor Furtick’s sermon from Sunday morning I heard him make a suggestion that damn near knocked me over: what if your goals suck?

I’ve got all these goals and ideas about what would make me happy and my life better, but how do I know if they actually will improve anything? That they’re the right goals? I mean, I’ve been wrong before. OH I’ve been wrong before. I thought I knew what I wanted and I worked really freaking hard for it and when it turned out I was wrong, it was a double whammy: surprised and confused. Yes, God answers prayer and gives you what you want, but He can ALSO clue you in as to what goals would make sense. You’ve heard the ideas of following your path and your calling and all that. But did you ever stop to think that even though you THINK you know what you should be working and praying for, you might actually be working for something that isn’t even right for you. Pastor Furtick said, “You can make great time going in the wrong direction…”

So I stopped and revisited some of the latest goals. I’m not totally sold on the idea that my goals aren’t the best possible goals there are for me, probably because I’m human. But instead of asking God to fix my problems, solve my issues, meet my goals, I might-could ask Him to highlight the goals I ought to be setting for myself. (We say might-could in the south.)

I know, for me, when I release my need to know HOW something is going to get done and let God figure that part out, not only does He always do it but it relieves a little bit of that anxiety that has followed me around for nearly 10 years. I’m not in charge of the HOW. I can relax and trust it will all get worked out. But now I’m starting to think I don’t even have to be in charge of the WHAT. God’s WHAT is probably better than mine, too.

Of course, just thinking about that gives me anxiety. So, it’s all still a work in progress. 🙂

W.A.I.T.

I have been busier than I like to be these past few months. I’m working more than usual in order to pay off these medical bills once and for all (I’m so close!). I’m also working to SAVE money, which means I’m cooking more for this new little family of mine and creating the things we need instead of buying them. It’s not been leaving enough room for me to breath and relax and blog, but I’m not ready to apologize for that just yet. My focus is shifted and that’s kind of OK. It happens to everyone, right?

But I heard an AWESOME sermon this past weekend and, in it, Pastor Rick Bezet from Arkansas was talking about words and just how powerful they are (so I needed to blog it). He specifically mentioned the ESPN reporter who was suspended over the awful words she spoke to a towing company representative. But he didn’t bring her up to talk about how powerful HER words were. He brought her up because she made the news: a woman who was yelling at an employee.
Take that same clip but change the roles to husband and wife…and it wouldn’t make news.
Why?
Because, unfortunately using nasty or dismissive words in a marriage is far more common.

Now, I’m not abusive with my words and luckily my partner isn’t either, but I have used words I shouldn’t have before.

“Guess what, E?”
“You ended up having to fire that guy?”
“…yeah.”
<end conversation>

e0105da88ad182a607147de6ca5d94ccWords don’t just hurt. They can kill joy in a relationship. Dr. Phil always asks, “Do you wanna be right? Or do you wanna be happy?” Sometimes it’s not just choosing abusive words, but choosing selfish or thoughtless words that begin to drain the joy out of a relationship.
I am soooooo guilty of being a typical woman, talking all the time while Bear attempts to get a word in edgewise until he eventually gives up. I finish his sentences, I guess his thoughts because I need to know what they are RIGHT NOW, I talk until eventually he talks back (probably just so he can hear another voice talking!)…
Alright, I’m not THAT awful.
But the Pastor mentioned a little acronym in his sermon that I thought Yeeeeah. I need to remember that.
He said that pausing when you’re in a conversation is as easy as W.A.I.T.

Why
Am
I
Talking?

Did you giggle, too?
I know there are about 1,000 times a day I could use this acronym on myself. Honestly, I didn’t realize until I began dating Bear just HOW MUCH I TALK, and how unnecessary this much talking really is. Communicating is SUPER important, but it can be done in few words or, even better…LATER! It can be done LATER! You don’t have to say it all right now!!!!

I also continue talking to people who don’t need (or deserve) all the information I’m giving them. My mouth gets going and by the end of the conversation I’ve explained, in detail, how my OBGYN didn’t get to me soon enough for that episiotemy I needed. And the next door neighbor now wonders why he asked how old Abe is…

I don’t think men, on the whole, are quite KNOWN for their communication. Not like women, anyway. But what I’ve learned is that when Bear isn’t talking, he is still actually communicating. Sometimes he’s just saying, “I don’t want to talk.” Sometimes he’s saying, “I am upset and if I talk right now, the words won’t come out right so I’m being smarting and W.A.I.T.ing.” Figuring out that flapping my gums isn’t always the fastest way to get my point across has been a pretty big deal.

How many of us women could stand to let other people do the talking?
What would happen if a few times while you’re sharing, or over-sharing, you ran “W.A.I.T.” through your mind? Would you notice you don’t need to keep talking?

I’m going to try it.
You should try it, too.
Starting right now.

(It’s writing, not talking out loud, so it doesn’t count.)

21 Day Fix – The Results

IMG_1406It’s been almost a year since I broke my leg.
It was this time last year that I was finishing my first round of the 21 Day Fix. It’s a 3-week fitness and clean-eating program that kick-starts your health into high gear. They say it takes 21 days to break a habit. I can tell you that, in my experience, that third week is when the magic starts to happen.

This round was no different.

Suddenly in the third week my weights felt too light. I could easily finish the cardio portions without stopping. And this time, in the third week I started to feel the muscles in my left leg.

When I started working out again, I would go to try a lunge or a squat and I literally couldn’t find the muscles I was supposed to be using. I am so used to favoring my left leg by over-using my right, or by walking in a funny way like on my toe or the outside of my foot, that when it came time to use my leg properly, I couldn’t figure out how to engage my butt muscle, my quads, even my calves. I sat in squats and lunges for 20, maybe 30 seconds just trying to figure out where I should be feeling the movement without the help of any other body parts.
It was incredibly strange.
I still have trouble with that, but it’s definitely better.

I didn’t do this round of the 21 Day Fix to lose weight, or even tone up really (though that was a lovely bi-product). I did it because I wanted to find out if I would ever be the same again. It’s a very strange place, coming down the mountain after a horrendous climb. It’s just as treacherous, just as difficult…it’s just that it looks like it should be easier so no one pays attention to you during your descent back to firm ground. I was sad, just plain sad some days these past three weeks seeing how much my left leg had forgotten. But I’m super happy today watching my leg re-learn a whole lot. It feels awesome to know that it can and will happen. I might always have that pain in my left hip or that pinched nerve in my lower back from the rod or that wobbly-knee feeling. So, like the past year, I can say that better doesn’t equal the same as before.

Better = different.

If you want to try the 21 Day Fix, join up with me and the awesome group of women who push themselves right along with me. They’re moms and teachers and nurses and lawyers and unemployed…just like you. 🙂

IMG_1401

 

Intention

9_30noshBear has been in home, in bed, all week. This is VERY unlike him. He is usually on the go all. the. time.
But after surgery he has been FORCED to lie down, be still, and relax. It’s a major role reversal.
This morning while running around like a chicken with my head cut off, he looked at me. From the bed he looked at me with a face like, “Hey.”
“What?” I asked.
“Come here,” he said.
“I’m going to be late. I’ve gotta get Abe to school.”
“Come here,” he repeated.
I moved to his side of the bed and sat down. He looked at me, and then reached out to give me a hug, a kiss, and a quick deep stare into my eyes. I breathed quickly, waiting for it to be over so I could get on the road.
“You know, when I leave the house in the morning before work, I am rushed, too.”
“Yeah, I know.”
“And sometimes I have to stop myself and say, ‘You kiss that woman before you leave this house.’ It’s not always natural. But there is nothing more important, not being late or having commitments anywhere else, nothing is more important that us.”

Well. Shit.

These things, these relationship things…they don’t happen on their own. (Not much does.) Here I have been thinking that it’s this natural thing for him to wrap me up in his arms when he gets home from work, look at me from across a room and tell me I’m beautiful…and surely some of it is. But so much of it I am realizing is INTENTIONAL. It is not up to him to do to all of these things in our relationship because they’re “easier” for him. It is his choice to pay attention to me. To love me. To say good morning to me.
How many things in my life do I expect to just…go? I expect my friends to just be my friends, my job to be there every day, my boyfriend to just love me all the time. And I know I can be intentional. I am intentional with my son’s education, the food that goes into my body, the way I snuggle my dogs. But I somehow think that my car will just stay clean after I wash it that one time. Like…it should just stay that way.

It makes no sense.

My main squeeze, my romantic relationship is the one that is (and should be) teaching me the most. I cannot float through life expecting that the things I care about will not grow and strengthen without my intention, without my focus. And the question becomes: where do I choose to focus my intention? It’s so hard to even SEE where I’m missing the mark. It’s hard to pinpoint the areas that I’m not intentionally paying attention to until they cry out for my attention. When they do, when it’s a five-alarm fire, I can pay attention VERY quickly. As my mom says, I sure can “summon strength.” I can summon intention, too. And so I have to…intentionally…choose the focus on my intention on certain things; like kissing my sweetie before I leave the house. I don’t want my relationship to become a five-alarm fire before I pay attention to it.

I have written the word “intention” way too many times.

Can you find even a single way to add an intentional action to one of your relationships? What can you do to let another person in your life know that you are making a choice to keep them around? I know it’s not something that anyone ever taught me (I didn’t have an example after my father passed when I was 7) and it CERTAINLY doesn’t come easy to me. But it’s a lesson given to me now. And I’m bound and determined to learn these things. He deserves that.

 

Thank You

When I was young, say 10 years old, I discovered the theatre. I found a culture of people who were gifted, creative, incredibly respectful and kind, and who made it be ok to be me. I learned TRUE manners in the theatre.
“Erin, next time you take that cross, please move a little faster. You’re upstaging the action when you move that slowly.”
“Thank you.”
In theatre, you always say THANK YOU when a director gives you a note. You say it to acknowledge you heard it but also to let your director know that you respect their ideas. The lighting designer might announce light cues, to which the techies would reply, “Thank you.” Everyone is acknowledging and thanking people all day in the theatre, not because they are fake and cheesed out, but because that’s just what you DO.

It became a part of my vernacular as an adult. I thank people. A lot.
“Would you like to donate $1 to the March of Dimes today?”
“No, not today, but thank you for asking.” (Oh, I donate plenty of dollars to the March of Dimes, but I don’t do it EVERY TIME.)
I am constantly acknowledging and thanking people because I spent my formative years doing it.

modern-basketsI spent this past weekend with Bear, holed up in our house because he had a minor surgical procedure on Friday. He’s pretty sore and kind of tired, but in really good spirits. We knew we would be stuck laying low for the entire weekend beforehand, so we didn’t have any plans. Our only objective was to stay together and relaxed.
And so, we ate in bed together. I cooked and he worked himself into a seated position. We watched TV shows. We walked around Target for about 15 minutes, just to look at things.
“That would be a good basket for the table,” he pointed.
“Oh yeah. I like the brown one.”
We also talked. We talked a lot. In a few pain med-induced moments, and some completely lucid, he shared things with me. I told him about how different out relationship feels from any other one I’ve ever known about. He told me stories of when he was a kid and how being with me makes him feel. It wasn’t all romantic and dramatic or anything. It was just…talking. The kind of talking that we haven’t had the time to do in a while because kids/work/hobbies/sickness/etc.
It was one of the greatest weekends I’ve ever shared with him. I waited on him hand and foot and he just sat back and enjoyed the break (something he rarely does). Seems crazy that it would fall into a “best of” category, but it did.

So last night before I climbed into bed, I wrote a thank you note. I literally addressed and wrote an entire, formal thank you letter to God. I didn’t want Bear to have surgery, I don’t want him to be in pain. But I was lucky enough that it gave us a few days to connect and enjoy each other as people. No big reveals. No trips. No fancy dinners. No big plans. Just movies and naps and me organizing the garage while he slept. I thanked God for the weekend we got to spend together and that’s it. I know that we all thank God when something AMAZING happens and I know that we all ask him for a lot of stuff! But my habit of saying “thank you” and my acknowledgment of the little, everyday miracles that came out of that surgery reinvigorated me. I rarely ACTUALLY stop to be grateful for the little things unless it’s because I feel like I should (“I’m grateful for this ice maker.” “I’m grateful for the sun today.”). So this time feels different.

Thank you for reading.

 

 

 

What-If Monsters and Faith

tattoos-for-eyes-funnyPastor Furtick said during his Easter sermon that God is already there with a plan for when you fall, turn away, and come back. He didn’t say “if” you turn back in faith, he said, “when.” Like eventually you know you’re gonna. And it got me thinking…I am SUPER good at believing God for things when the circumstances in my life suck. If I’m getting divorced, I lose my job, I break my leg…I have 100% unwavering faith in God. I don’t throw my hands up and say, “Oh great. God failed me again.” I usually say something like, “There’s a reason for this. If I can get through it with faith, the other side will be oh-so-sweet.”

You know what’s messed up, tho?

I don’t turn away from God when most people’s faith would waver. I do it when things are going WELL. I’m counting down the days to the next disaster. I’m not sitting around being all grateful for the upturn. I’m panicking about the next downturn. Or maybe more constructive than panicking, I’m PLANNING. I’m sitting down to a business meeting in my head with the What-If Monsters and ticking through a list of horrible possibilities so that I can plan for every worst case scenario.

Isn’t that adorable? I think I can predict every worst case scenario? Like hitting a tree with a boat and breaking my femur and three ribs?!?! ‘CUZ THAT WASN’T ON THE LIST.

Here I am today making enough money to pay my bills, healthy, and loved on all sides (with lots of love to give, too) and what do I think about everyday?
“Babe? You’re not going to leave me, right?”
“Ummm…no.” He gives me the “wtf are you talking about face” when he answers me.
“Ok. Are you sure?”
“Why are you asking me this?” He looks down at his arms and legs as if his “infidelity is showing” or something.
“I…I….I dunno. But you’re sure, right?”
“Yeah. I’m sure. You’re my one and only.”
“Ok.”
“Ok. Love you, Little Bird.”
“But you’re DEFINITELY not going to leave me, right…”

The What-If Monsters aren’t as good at knowing what’s coming as God is. They aren’t really aimed at peace and love and joy, so their predictions are more based on totally ruining my life as opposed to a path that will teach me the most. So that begs the question…Why did God even INVENT What-If Monsters?! Because to have light, we start with dark. To have grace, we start with…the opposite of grace. (I dunno, I googled it but I didn’t find any words that fit.) If I want to build muscle, I need resistance like heavy weights. If I want to build faith, I need life’s roadblocks. And when there AREN’T any roadblocks around and life is lovely, I just use God’s handy-dandy What-If Monsters.

Ok. I don’t think God created What-If Monsters. What I’m saying is: life’s challenges include the ones we create for ourselves.

You are creating a challenge for yourself right now. You’re worrying about the bills, the weather for this weekend, the amount of time you spend with your kids and whether or not it’s enough, whether or not your spouse will be in a good mood today…You’re worrying about problems that aren’t even problems yet. You pre-gamed in college, you pre-worry as an adult. (That’s why college was way better.) So remember that God will test your faith. He’ll do it, I promise. So in between challenges and tests…relax. Have a cocktail. Go on vacation. Smell a flower.

Seriously. Go smell a flower.

 

It Takes 30 Days to Create a Habit…or Something

1073c58a05c0370f4a4b27f9ab3a5989I’ve always been told it take 30 days to make or break a habit. The 21 Day Fix claims to be able to do it even faster. I Googled the question and I found the following answers:
30 days
21 days
28-30 days
50 days
84 days
“It depends.”

I decided to put my yoga membership on hold while I go through The 21 Day Fix and I realized…wow. I’m already in the habit of working out after I drop my son off at school. This should be a pretty easy transition. But will it really?! I’ll bet after 4 months it would still be pretty easy to back out of my workouts. Even with the whole thing taking place in my own living room I could still make an excuse like, “Weeeell, the heat coming off of my body would probably throw off the AC system and I don’t want our electric bill to go up…”

But that begs the question, how did I create that habit going to yoga everyday?

Truth be told, I don’t know if I did. I mean I realized today that my habit of going to yoga after 4 months is pretty well ingrained in me, but it wasn’t the first few weeks! And it’s still just as hard some days to drag myself to practice as it was that first week.

I also haven’t smoked a single cigarette in 4 months. I wasn’t a smoker, but socially I’d puff along. A majority of the time I don’t really miss it. But every once in a while, it’s just as hard as it was 4 months ago to keep from trotting on over to 7-11 and grabbing a pack.

I think the point is that scientific evidence is all well and good, but I don’t buy that you can make or break a habit reliably without actual effort. Any AA graduate can tell you that staying sober never becomes a “habit”, like something they don’t have to try anymore. They remind themselves everyday not to drink…as I remind myself everyday to peel myself out of bed, put on clothes that are even semi-presentable to the general public, POSSIBLY brush my hair, and drive my car to the yoga studio. It all. takes. effort.

I’ve always figured once I did something long enough, I wouldn’t have to think about it anymore. It would become easy, or I’d LIKE the change. Now I’m not sure that’s true about anything. Everything takes conscious awareness and action. Brushing my teeth, cleaning the kitchen, grocery shopping, laundry…hell, just about everything outside of slapping my happy ass down on the couch and watching Oprah for 12 hours takes EFFORT. So if you think that you’re going to become a healthy eater/physically fit/bikini ready in 21 days, you won’t. You might not in 90 days…you might not in 120 days! But you DO get to decide everyday what you do, what you make time for, and what habits you CHOOSE to continue.

Uuuuugh. More personal responsibility…

 

 

1 2