No big deal, I’m just over here trying to be a better human, and it’s a struggle.
I’m always trying to lose weight, it’s a sad fact of my entire adult life, and a lot of other women’s for that matter. It’s annoying really. I obsess about it. I’ve read a thousand articles. I’m educated. I’ve tried lots of diets, exercise programs, cleanses, lifestyles, etc. (I’ve also been thinking that the word ‘diet’ had just been re-branded with the word(s) ‘healthy lifestyle’…..but that rant is for another time).
I’m in my own head so much about food, what to eat, what not to eat, when to eat next, thinking about being hungry, feeling bad for what I’ve just ate, what program am I trying, how tight my jeans are or if I should really be wearing a sleeveless shirt with the current state of my upper arms….I could go on an on and on. My friends even sometimes ask me “what aren’t you eating right now?” before they have me over for dinner. Lawdy, how embarassing.
Having said all of that, I have been thinking about good and bad habits lately. I have enlisted the help of an online coach and have started reading a book called, Atomic Habits, by James Clear.
In the book, Atomic Habits, it basically says I am trapped in a thought loop and my negative thoughts have compounded. Oh shit, you have no idea how much I agree with this statement. Since my mind naturally drifts towards my negatives (another bad habit), I’ve been focusing on some bad ones I’ve picked up over the past couple of years.
When I feel my absolute best, I have a steady routine. I thrive on it. I actually love it. Structure makes me so happy. Without it I tend to unravel and fray at my edges. I can honestly say after almost 3 years of steady travel and no routine, my edges are pretty darn frayed….like the rip in your (or my super-tight) jeans that just gets worse after every wash. I’ve kept my act together for the most part, I still bathe regularly and maintain good hygiene, exercise a little, pay my bills, have great hair, try send thank you cards, etc… but have picked up a few bad habits along the way.
The bad ones…
- Social Media Scrolling: Dang, I do this a lot. Especially in the morning and at night. I waste at least 30-45 minutes every morning mindlessly scrolling social media. It does not do anything productive for me.
- Fast Food and Eating in the Car: There’s a Wendy’s near the Denver Airport that I always stop at. It’s like I get hungry when I get close to that exit, whether I’m hungry or not. It might even be 10 pm and I find myself hogging down a Baconator and fries, in the rental car, on my way to my hotel. This is just one example of many fast food stops I make…there is also a Taco Treat in Billings that might know me by name. I can drive with my knee and eat a plate of nachos like a pro.
- Lack of Activity: This bad habit stresses me out the most. Because I keep telling myself that I don’t have a routine, I keep telling myself I don’t have time to be active like I used to be (or I’m too tired). I’ve created this ‘story’ in my head and I believe it.
- Sneaking Food: I’m really embarrassed to even type this. I’m similar to an alcoholic who hides and sneaks drinks around their house, but I do it with food. I find myself sneaking around the corner to shove a cookie in my mouth or stopping at a dumpster to trash the evidence of my fast food binge before I get home.
So after finishing the first part of the book, the first Law, I feel like it’s a game changer for me. Rather than diving right into the 2nd law, I thought I’d reflect a on what I’ve read and write about it…maybe just maybe I’ll soak it in. The book is all about simple and small habits that can lead to big results. Atom = small, hence ‘Aromic Habits’. In an effort not to get overwhelmed with trying to change everything at one time, like I usually try to, the first habit I’m slowly working on is building a better morning routine. I’ve started with no social media in the morning. I’ve been working with my coach and checking in daily with this habit and am happy to say that I am over 2 weeks social media free in the mornings. But you know what? My dang thumb still automatically goes to the FB icon every morning when I turn my alarm off. Muscle memory at its finest.
In the book ‘Atomic Habits’ it says to:
- Decide on the person you want to be
- Prove it to yourself with small wins
Well, I want to be a healthy person and this is just one small win that I’m proud of to get there. My goal is to be a healthier person…but instead of focusing on the end goal, I’m going to focus on the system of how to get there. On the journey to developing a good morning routine, I am focusing on replacing the bad social media habit with a good one – movement.
Creating a good habit, the first law, make it obvious:
- Write down your current habits (become aware). Check (this list is long), but the important ones are listed above.
- Use the implementation score card. Check, using now by: I will [behavior] at [time] in [location]. After I [current habit], I’ll [new habit]. Here’s mine: I will stop mindlessly scrolling social media for 30 minutes every morning in my bed after my alarm rings. After my alarm rings, I’ll snooze one time, and then get out of bed and get in some healthy movement.
- Habit stack. Check, starting to stack good habits on top of one another, i.e. getting out of bed after one snooze and moving.
- Design your environment . Half a check – working on this.
There you go, that’s what I have for now. My journey to become a better human.
Any thoughts/ideas/suggestions before moving on to the 2nd law? I’d love to hear how you’ve broken some bad habits. (and thanks to James Clear for writing a self-help book that I am actually interested in).