What happens when we break good habits?
Often I write about what has come up with clients during their sessions, but this time it is about ME!
A good habit that I have broken recently is exercise. And I know many of you can relate to this too.
I was quite committed, most days getting up very early (4.30am) and heading to the gym. I wouldn't even think about it, it became such a habit, my alarm would go off and I would get straight out of bed and up I got.
I noticed that when I went on holidays or had time away from this habit, I found it really hard to get back into it again. For example, after Christmas, I struggled to get back. And when I had an operation a couple of months ago, I was unable to do anything for a few weeks, which then easily turned into months.
I started to get back into the habit, but this time I was questioning the process. What am I doing, getting up at this crazy time in the morning, surely there is another way. Slowly, I started giving myself permission not to get up and go to the gym. My alarm would go off and I would just press snooze and go back to sleep.
It's been months now. And it's come to crunch time. I have realised that the only way for me to get back into the habit is just start.
We often talk about trying to break bad habits, but really the situation I have found myself in is the same, I have gotten into a bad habit and have to try and get my good habit back!
So many excuses come to mind when we have fallen out of a good habit. For me, the weather was a big one (I can't go for a run now it's raining) especially through winter, but when you're in a good habit, those external factors don't even come into play. You commit and take action regardless.
I have gone back to the gym this week, pushed past the snooze and once I got there, remembered why I loved it and made it a good habit in the first place! Afterwards, I took the time to reflect on how I felt. My mood was elevated, which then positively flowed into my day.
Most importantly, it affected my interactions with the kids in the morning. Lately, I have been getting agitated with them, we have been arguing about what to wear and what to eat and the mornings have been a bit of a struggle. After I went back to the gym though, the morning ran smoothly, I wasn't irritated and I managed to get everyone ready and into the office early!
I spent some time thinking about this, about what this is saying to me, how positive the experience was once I was able to push past the discomfort.
It's all about small steps, chipping away at a bigger commitment to getting back into those good habits. For me, this means this week attending the gym once, next week two to three times and then thinking about what it looks like from there.
What do you want to commit too? How often do you want to feel the benefits of that positive habit? And what are some goals to put in place around this?
Typically I start an exercise goal around this time of year, in previous times it has been training for a half marathon which is in July and I usually have a plan in place. Training for a distance run requires a gradual increase in distance ran, small steps towards a bigger goal.
In my current training, I need to think about what goals I can set to keep me on track to continuing this habit. Also important is finding people around you that support your goals, I'm lucky that my husband helps me to get out of bed and exercise in the morning! The people from my gym also keep me accountable and contact me if I don't make it. Likewise, I can make a commitment to them in saying which days I will be attending.
Depending on the habit you're trying to get back into, having accountability like a sign-in process for a gym or a friend that exercises with you, in this case is vital to keep you on track.
Having negative repercussions on you if you don't show up are helpful when trying to nail a habit, especially when the penalty is financial.
What do you want to achieve and why?
Go easy, get the support that you need, make achievable commitments and don't worry if you fall off the wagon a little, you can get back on!