Regular readers will know that I have made a personal commitment to “become the kind of person who does physical exercise every day”. Two days ago, was the first day I failed in this commitment in 2019. I broke a 37-day streak and went to sleep feeling gutted.
Of course, there was a reason, I helped a friend move to a new flat, but that didn’t make me feel any better. I knew from experience that I would be very vulnerable the next day. Getting back on the wagon would be hard. Overcoming that feeling of failure would challenge me. I heard an interesting quote recently, it might be by Oprah Winfrey, but I’m not sure?
“Starting is not most people’s problem. Staying, continuing and finishing is where the difficulty lies!”
Breaking my habits tends to cause me to accelerate in the wrong direction. Rather than just putting a one-day blip behind me and moving on with the good habit. I tend to get stuck in a mindset of recrimination, anger and self-blame that causes me to spiral out of control. My good habit is forgotten, and I find myself back in a much worse place than before.
So, my typical response to the end of my exercise streak would be to spend the next few days sitting in bed, feeling bad, watching a box set, eating as much junk food as possible. Then I would quietly carry on with my old life. The good habit is completely forgotten.
I cannot tell you how many times this pattern has replayed itself throughout my life. It didn’t matter what “the-good-habit” was the outcome would be the same.
I woke up yesterday with all the usual feelings of anger and self-blame. But two things were different. I have deleted all the TV apps from my iPad. So was unable to watch any mindless TV. Next, I have been focusing all my efforts on creating two-minute daily habits and these, I realised are harder to break than my old “outcome orientated goals”.
Despite feeling an overwhelming urge to give up, I was able to overcome the negative feelings and make it to the gym yesterday. I convinced myself that I only needed to go for two minutes.
Problem solved. I have started a new “good-habit” streak! I ended up staying an hour and felt fantastic on the way home. I have never been more aware of the power of the mind.
Are you facing a similar challenge? Have you let a good habit slip? Today is a new day. Let go of the past. Concentrate your energy on the here and now. Today is the perfect day to restart your good habit. Remember, we climb the mountain, not in giant leaps but one small step at a time.