So we’re a few weeks into 2015. How are those resolutions coming along?
The trending word for resolutions is “habits.” I personally don’t believe in regularly repeated behavior patterns. It’s against my nature.
I see them as forced behaviors- something I’m supposed to be doing because it’s good for me. To me, habits have a negative connotation.
One of the aspects of ADHD is that we don’t like to be told what to do. If you have it or love someone who does, you know what I’m talking about.
HABITS DON’T WORK
When I was a child, I didn’t want to respond to my mother’s commands (early warning signs of ADD?): Brush your teeth, make your bed, do your homework, go to bed, eat your breakfast. I know she was doing her job, teaching me to take care of myself so that I would have a healthy, productive life.
So why do I still struggle to make my bed everyday? No habit-forming there.
I’m supposed to make a habit of eating healthy food when unhealthy food is so much more enjoyable. I’m supposed to make a habit of working out even though the exercise class I go to is hard and I ache for days after it.
Two years ago, I signed up for the newest, latest and greatest fitness class based on HIIT (high-intensity interval training). I’ve been paying a monthly fee and I go often, but is it a habit yet? No, definitely not. More proof, habits don’t happen.
I know there are people who wake up every day, put on their sneakers, and go for a jog, even when it’s raining. There are people who thrive on routine. I’m not one of them.
HABITS ARE CHOICES
I think habits should be called choices. Habits happen only when I want (really and truly want) the benefit that I will receive from it.
I choose to brush my teeth because I want my pearly whites stay in my mouth for a very long time. I choose to write every day because I want to become a better writer. I choose to eat healthy foods because I want to feel good after a meal. I choose to exercise because I want to easily button the jacket that didn’t fit me last year.
I’ve been testing out this anti-habit theory for the past few weeks. Most mornings I wake up groggy and foggy from allergies. I sneeze until 10:00 a.m. I’ve tried everything to ease this morning allergy pattern. I’ve gone almost vegan. I’ve changed my floors, window treatments, and took out my ceiling fans. I tried yoga, but I get more congested when I put my head down in the poses. When that didn’t work, I got this brilliant idea that I’m going to outsmart my allergies. I’ll wake up before they do. So I tried to form a new “habit.”
My triathlete HIIT instructor says, “the body loves consistency.” I thought I’d give it a whirl. I’d beat my allergies and give my body what what it loves. I will form a new habit.
I woke up at 5:30. I stretched out a little, put on my sneakers and headed for the treadmill. I was in the groove for a while. Watching old movies, thirty minutes went by fast. It wasn’t so bad.
That was three weeks ago. I no longer wake up early to get on the treadmill. In my mind, I think I want to. But, I guess I don’t want it bad enough.
CHANGE HAPPENS ONLY WHEN…
Change is hard work. Habit-forming is even harder.
Change is a choice you make when you want to receive the benefits that are waiting for you on the other side of the hard work you have to put in.
Change requires effort. You have to push through the yuck. There’s no easy road to get through a difficult change.
When you want what’s on the other side, you WILL make it happen.
Instead of working on forming new habits, start thinking about what you want. Too often we sit around complaining about how bad we feel or how hard it is to change. We should be thinking about how awesome it feels to walk up the stairs without huffing and puffing or to fit into those tight jeans hiding in your closet.
Everybody knows that when they really and truly want something, they will do whatever they can to get it.
So don’t think about making resolutions, forming new habits, or forcing yourself to do something you don’t want to do.
Start thinking about your goals. Think about them often.
How do you want to feel? Imagine yourself feeling better, healthier and happier.
What do you want your life to look like? Knowing what you want is the only way to achieve anything.
Close your eyes and think about what you want. What do you see?
It is your choice. You can make it happen!
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