To create a habit, tell a good story

Friday, June 24, 2016

Leo Babauta wrote an excellent article a couple days ago on his blog:

The timing for me was simply perfect.

As I've said in my last couple blogs, my habits have been thrown out the window since I moved three weeks ago. Okay, not all of them, and to a certain degree, but still.

Food-wise, I've been eating way more junk food, I've been eating out more often in three weeks than I'd normally go in a whole year... The good side though (the habits I kept) is that I haven't been snacking except for once, I had only three meals every day. I also always waited to be hungry before eating outside of a few days when my meal timing was off on a weekend (we had breakfast at 10:30, but we were eating out with a friend at 6:30, so meals were kinda crammed together). Even though I've drunk more than usual - I just about never drink alcohol anymore - my maximum was four beers on that night we went out with a friend, and that was one per hour. The other times I kept it down to 1-3 drinks in one sitting, and I kept my habit of only drinking on Fridays and Saturdays except for once.

Fitness-wise I'm having trouble seeing that much positive. I got a gym membership on June 7th, and since then I've only been twice, for not even half an hour each time. That's twice in 2.5 weeks... other than that I went running twice, took a few short walks, and I've been riding my bike a little and doing some yoga, but my time dedicated to fitness has been diminished way too much. And not really for a good reason - sure the first week I was exhausted, and the second week I was busy with building furniture and settling in, but I still pushed fitness and exercise away like it meant nothing.

As a result, I'm even more tired, more stressed, and I want to workout less and less. I know what that is - it happened when I came back from a week in Cuba in February. It took me forever to go back to my gym habit, but when I did I was so happy.

That's why Zen Habits' article resonated with me so much. Recently every time I planned on going to the gym, or taking a walk, or riding my bike, or doing yoga, I've been negative about it. I've been having thoughts like "I don't wanna", "I don't feel like it", "I'm tired". I've been finding all sorts of excuses, way more than before, to not work out. Even again this morning - alarm rang at 5:30, I thought for ten seconds and decided to go back to bed instead of hitting the gym. "I'll go Monday" I thought while falling back to sleep.

I need to remind myself that I actually ENJOY going to the gym. Sure, it's new. Sure, it's different. In my old gym we controlled the music, there was never more than five people in it, it was bigger, it was open 24 hours, they had more space for the exercises I usually do. Well, my new gym is different, loud music, lots of people (even at 6 in the morning), and the machines are quite crowded together, with no open space for free weights or stretches. What am I supposed to do? Whine and complain, or just deal with it and adjust? The second option seems more productive.

I love the gym. I love lifting. I love having access to a wide array of machines and dumbbells and barbells, trying new things and feeling stronger every day. I love those things way more than I dislike the differences. What will I do anyway - I paid for my whole yearly membership already. Am I going to throw $550 out the window because there's loud music and more people?

I also love walking, and yoga. Yet I've taken very few walks since I moved, even though I have a whole new city to explore. The first couple weeks I was too busy at home - fine. But this week? Well... I've been busy reading a book. As much as I love reading, I don't need to be doing it for three hours every evening, lounging on my couch and not doing any movement. Same thing for yoga. I love the effects it has on me. I've been more flexible (like, way more) since I started doing it daily a year ago, and now it feels like it's all gone since I've done less and less of it. I did a 20 minutes video yesterday, that I've done before and it was SO DIFFICULT. I could barely hold the poses.

My boyfriend left Wednesday at 3:30 in the morning for two weeks in the Netherlands. I'm all alone; it should feel way easier to slip back into a routine. Yet ever since he left I haven't done much. Sure I rode my bike a little, to run errands or grab groceries, but that's never more than ten minutes of riding. I did a bit of yoga. And that's it. Other than that I've been reading, sleeping in, and cleaning up a bit. I ate out again THREE TIMES in THREE DAYS, fast food nonetheless.

It's hard not to smack myself across the face and ask myself what's wrong with me. I know there's nothing wrong with me. My choices are just based on short term instead of long term. It felt easier to grab fast food instead of cooking at home. It felt easier to sleep in instead of going to the gym or for a morning walk. Yet in the long term (and by long term here I mean anything longer than a day) I'd rather have chosen the other options - cooking at home, and getting up and working out. If I did that, I wouldn't be so bloated right now, I would fit in my jeans better (they were getting too big; now they're a bit tight again) and I'd generally feel better. I miss my energy, I miss getting up in the morning ready to take on the day, I miss not crashing into bed at 9:30 because I'm exhausted from doing nothing.

I have a full weekend to myself with absolutely nothing planned. I have about 6-7 projects at home that need working on (they're all pretty short) and that's the only thing I plan on doing. Other than that, if the weather is nice I'll go on long bike rides to explore the city, do my daily yoga, cook at home for all three meals. I also want to browse the webs for a vegan breakfast idea that involves 2 cups of veggies, a good protein source, and less than five minutes to make (yup, that's a lot, I'm aware lol). I'm thinking of just going with frozen veggies that I'll heat up with a bit of salt, and maybe a piece of toast with peanut butter and sprinkled with hemp hearts. I'll check the calculator to see if it'd be substantial enough for me. I also need to clean up my wardrobe; since I have a kind of uniform for work (work shirts, that I wear with jeans), I don't need as many pieces in my capsule, and so I'll get rid of some of them that I kept for my old office job but wouldn't wear outside of work. I got me some basic tank tops and tees to wear under my work shirts, which I can also wear outside of work so I'm pretty set on my new "personal uniform" now (a concept I'd always been interested in but never dove into).

There's no more excuses. If I keep telling myself I'm too tired, too busy, too anything, to go back to my good habits, then it's my fault and problem. Of course going back to it will be tough the first couple weeks, just like with any habit. That's normal. But I'm going to fight my way through those two weeks until I'm back into a normal healthy routine that makes me feel way better in my day-to-day life. I've got a lot planned for the rest of the Summer, so I'd better get myself ready sooner than later. Lots of camping (maybe even solo camping once), lots of biking, and for my boyfriend's birthday I want to gift him a kayak river excursion with two nights on the banks. I haven't kayaked in ages, but I do remember it's very, very tiring.
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