I’ve been obsessed w/ my habits since i was a teenager. Lifelong things that have been really hard to change.
TV watching, overeating, eating when I’m not hungry, nail biting, gossiping, being mean to boys I like.
Those were my baby/teenager habits, As life ramped up, I added binge drinking on the weekends and special holidays (like all 20 somethings) and smoking to the mix (along w/ sugar addictions, fast food, etc.).
My entire life I have frequently catalogued all of these at once and said “I WILL NO LONGER DO ____”.
Once, in college, I gave up all habits at once (for one day, er morning)..I quit the following
- Nail biting
- Eating mozzarella sticks at the cafeteria and any other fatty delicious food I frequently craved
- Drinking diet soda
It was a really ugly morning. I was in the Student Union, talking to one of my favorite smoking buddies, and realized that I was jumpy and my skin was crawling. As I watched her smoke, I imagined horrible things and also stealing her cigarettes.
Around 2pm I realized that giving up all of these habits at once would require a super-human force that I did not possess.
In my 20′s I started to realize that I needed to by more systematic. When I was 28, smoking was the #1 habit I would eradicate. While I was working on that, I STARTED doing yoga regularly. And I started a love affair with cooking vegetables, while flirting with vegetarianism (we’re still flirting, but he’s moved on to more willing participants).
The I started exercising almost every day of the week, and did various workout routines and promptly injured myself repeatedly. I quit spending so much time focused on the gym, and let it go too.
An interesting thing happened… yoga stuck, flirting with vegetarianism stuck. I couldn’t imagine a world where I didn’t study, and practice yoga regularly, or where I didn’t cook really amazing things with new vegetables. It whispered to me:
- “You were born beautiful and perfect.”
- “You have all the tools you need to live any life that you dream of.”
- “You fill a very important space in life.”
- “Kale is delicious when braised in tomato’s along with potatoes and mushrooms and chile powder.”
I slowly started hearing this message through yoga books, through teachers, through the new friends I met.
Soon, I started to notice that the SAME message was available outside of yoga, particularly in my family, and in a few close friends.
I’d been too scared to pay attention to that message until I found it in a tradition that is 5000 years old. That is time tested enough for this science fan.
And interestingly enough, my habits are becoming keys to unlocking little secrets about myself….I’ll tell you more as I figure those out.