Habits can either be good or bad and to break a bad one, you have to work at creating a new one. A healthy one…..and for me that takes time.
I love articles that proclaim it only takes 21 days to make a change. I say piffle to these authors. I seriously doubt that my mother potty trained me in 21 days, so I no longer beat myself up on day 21 when I still have to remind myself to make my bed every morning. Part of me wishes it only took 21 days before I adopted a change, but the truth is, I wouldn’t feel a sense of satisfaction noticing that something I hated doing is not only becoming second nature, but I enjoy the end result.
I also have a tendency to pick apart what I have yet to change, instead of remembering what I’ve accomplished. I can’t imagine I’m the only person who does this, but I’m trying harder and harder to remember the accomplishments so I can remind myself everything is possible with a little time. Okay, for me a lot more time.
Right now, there is about 10 minutes every morning when I first wake up where I feel no pain. It’s wonderful, but then ‘poof’, aches and pains appear. Some days in joints and muscles, other days my gut, and almost daily I have a headache within the first 1/2 hour of being awake. It’s probably because I’m anxious and work in a group where the leader instills fear in its employees as their motivating factor. However, even with all my issues, I find that if I eat the right foods, get the right amount of sleep, and drink plenty of water, I keep most of my pain at bay. But the truth is, I’m just at the beginning of changing multiple life disciplines and it overwhelms me.
When I was younger, I believed the articles that told me it’d only take 21 one days to change or take on a new habit. I’d try and try, but I’d always ‘cheat’ or ‘slack-off’ and then give up. One of the beauties of getting older is realizing that everyone has their own journey and when they are ready, s/he will travel down the path that is right for them. For me, my path is longer than most and I know I’m going to stumble, but I remember tomorrow is another day and another chance to try again. I’ve also learned that even when I’ve mastered the challenge and a new habit becomes second nature, it doesn’t mean the outcome is going to be perfect. I’m not going to feel 100% better if I eat the right foods, get enough sleep, manage stress and exercise, it just means my journey is neverending.
This weekend I had all the intentions of cleaning and menu planning on Saturday and food shopping and cooking on Sunday. Guess what. It just didn’t happen. I was out last night and I’m learning that I need time to wind down before I can fall asleep (translation I was up till 1 a.m.). Combine the late bedtime, some unexpected stress, and the rain this morning creating the perfect storm for me: every single joint and muscle ached. I woke up and set alarm with Alexa for 2 hours thinking I’d feel better and I didn’t. Instead, I cleaned my bedroom and kitchen, did some laundry and later in the day created a meal plan. However, between cleaning the 2 rooms and creating a meal plan for the week, I curled up on my bed for a wonderful much needed nap. Tomorrow I’ll set out to shop and cook, but I’m a bit overwhelmed by the amount of recipes I have chosen. I know that I’ll need to batch cook the rest of my life, and I know that I’ll probably won’t be able to tackle all the recipes, but I’m going to try. Last week I didn’t make everything and yet, I was able to have enough of the right food I needed to nourish my body.
The other thing I struggle with is admitting that if I decide to do something at night, like go to a movie or dinner, I’m not going to go to a bar afterwards. Right now I’m overwhelmed with the feeling from childhood when my parents gave me a bedtime, or I was only allowed out on Friday and Saturday nights when in high school. So, I guess I’m feeling a combination of being a nerd and someone who is being punished. The truth is, I’m only punishing myself by trying to do it all. I do know this is probably a temporary phase and once I realize that I’d rather feel better for 12 hours than possibly have fun for 1 or 2 hours (no guarantee), I won’t feel weird saying no to things. Right now, I feel like I’m back in high school when all my other friends had better curfews. I know as I become more proficient with batch cooking and picking up daily, I’ll be able to sleep in and won’t need as much time to tackle the chores I need to. I am finally learning that every small change I make will eventually add up to a much easier and healthier life for me.