Fighting Off Old Habits

Soak Up the Sun!

I am trying hard to form new habits. Little ones. Easy ones.

Like:

  • eat a more wholesome breakfast
  • exercise in the morning
  • make better use of my evenings

My breakfast is usually toast with margarine, peanut butter and/or jam and/or honey. Two nice big slices. Yummy, but certainly not wholesome, and not really ‘6-pack abs’ breakfast material. But the good news is that I did have a yogurt mess with fruit and oats for the first four days this week, and now I have to buy more yogurt! I have been getting my two fruits almost every day this week! So I feel like I am making progress with this one.

Exercising in the morning has been more challenging. My morning habit is to get up and do dishes, feed the animals, potter about, shower and so on. I can and I have gotten up early to workout, but it’s not yet a habit. And it will have to be a firmly ingrained habit for me achieve my goals and maintain my healthier lifestyle as we move through the winter months and I start fighting my SAD.

I did get up and go for a 6am Social Ride with a few of the regular riders this morning, but my body was not in it, and I was losing speed, badly, and falling way behind. There was no way I was going to make the full 20km round trip this morning and still make it back in time to be ready for work. I had to turn around at the halfway mark, so did only 10km. Still, it was a lovely morning for a ride and I am glad I did it.

After work, my habit is to sit on the couch and eat, watch tv, play on the internet, and go to bed. I’d like to be getting housework done, making phone calls, paying bills, helping Mat with paperwork, gardening, going for a walk, playing with my horses… not sitting around like a lump. And yet, the desire (need??) to sit down and veg out after work is very strong. I just feel like I need to put my feet up, and sometimes I feel like I need a nap! I am sure that doing something would be more energising than vegging, but I haven’t quite altered this habit. I think the fact is that I don’t have something specific to replace it with yet.

I know that I am going to sorely miss the wonderful sunshine of the early mornings and the late evenings when it is gone. And it is already fading.

This morning, when I got up and went for my bike ride, I noticed that there wasn’t as much sunshine. That is, when I left the house at 5:50am, the sun was really only just coming up. We are losing daylight far too rapidly.

And likewise, I know I will hate it when it is dark at 4pm, before I ever make it home from work, and doing anything outside is laughable and requires a head-lamp.

This morning’s experience impressed upon me that

I need to make a greater effort to enjoy what I have now, while I have it.

It seems so obvious, but how easy is it to overlook what we have? I think I could translate that lesson all across my life…

Ok. Now I have the old Cinderella song “Don’t Know What You’ve Got (Till It’s Gone)” stuck in my head!

Click here and you can too: Cinderella – Don’t Know What You’ve Got (YouTube)

Anyway, I feel like I have a really good chance of changing my morning behaviours because I have something very specific to replace the old habits with and I firmly believe that you can’t eliminate one behaviour without replacing it with a new one. So:

  • Instead of toast I will have a yogurt mess, a fruit smoothie, or eggs for breakfast
  • Instead of checking facebook first thing in the morning I will head out the door and exercise, following my training program, so I am FOCUSED during that workout!
  • Instead of flumping onto the couch after work I will … and here’s where I come unstuck. I haven’t really established a picture of what I really want to do here. Partly, I think, because I so enjoy the current habit. It is rewarding, and I need to find something new and even more rewarding to replace it. I think gardening might be the trick here.

Let me test this out: Instead of flumping onto the couch after work I will spend 20 minutes in the garden weeding, picking and planting.

I think I can live with that 🙂 It will get me outside, doing something relaxing, and likely lead to me doing other things outside after I am done in the garden until the mosquitoes chase me inside!

If you made resolutions or goals for the New Year, how are you going with creating the new behaviours? Are you sustaining the momentum, creating the habits, and moving in the direction you desire? It’s surely a struggle, but well worth it in the end!

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