Conscious Thought. Since I can remember I've always been interested in self improvement - being "More Than." So I've been reading and consuming positive messages and self-help stuff since at least my teen years. When I first read that it "only takes" 21 days to create or break a habit, I thought that was wonderful!! I made my bed for 21 days in a row, and I guess I thought that on the 22nd day, by magic, making my bed would seem effortless... something I would do without thinking about it. And this is why I say Phooey to the 21-days in making or breaking a habit... because on day 22, 23, 24 and infinity... making my bed is something I have to struggle to do. I *totally* still had to THINK about it!!
I STILL have conversations with myself in the morning to just pull up the d*mn covers! And the main reason I do it is so Rascal, when he comes and sleeps on our bed, doesn't fill the sheets with dog hair, which I then end up spitting out when I snuggle down between the sheets when I go to sleep.
Do I like my bed made? Yes.
Do I know that if I don't make it, it won't be made? Yes.
Do I make my bed every morning? No.
Let me qualify a little... when I say "Make the bed" -- I mean like the beds you see on the front of a decorator magazine (which is my first problem). I manage to pull up the covers at least, but I wish I had more drive to really make a better effort.
Which brings me to that phrase, "I wish I had more..." If I really wanted to, I would. So, apparently, I don't really want to, and all these feelings are just excess guilt that really doesn't help me achieve anything.
I'm using the making the bed as an example... Day 21 is 3 weeks of Medifast. And I am doing things differently than I was 3 weeks ago! I've been getting up even more consistently early -- need more time to prepare my meals for the day and blog. The writing every day I think is essential to my success. Being honest with myself is also crucial, and yet I still am playing games in my mind... so have some stuff to work on there.
The point is -- if I, for a second, let down my guard and think that this new way of eating is a habit I don't have to think about... it is over. This is a forever commitment. No more mindlessness.
I'm not going to wake up some day and magically walk on a clear, weeded and cultivated "garden" path; the path that I'm now trying to plough through with a machete and hacksaw in the emotional jungle that is my life. This path will always need care... when I've mapped my route through the jungle, there will always be a hanging vine, or creeping bush that will stray onto the manicured edging. That stray vegetation will need pruning, or even a digging out of the root... and to ignore or avoid it by way of food (my old way of dealing with things I wanted to avoid) is really no longer the option I want to take.
I want to remember that there is comfort in routine. There is a safety in good habits. There is freedom in discipline. (Really, there is... I say sweetly to my inner 3-year old who is still too sleepy to put up much of an argument right now)
"Some people regard discipline as a chore. For me it is a kind of order that sets me free to fly." ~ Julie Andrews
My first instinct it seems has always been to resist. To Challenge the authority that is telling me I should, or I Need To, or I Have To. Choice is key. I'm CHOOSING to wake up every morning and make my bed. Or Not. Walk The Dog. Or Not. Eat On Plan. Or Not. And accepting each choice as My Decision, is KEY to my success! "Just Change My Mind" (and view decisions from this perspective) -- simple. Sooooooo NOT Easy!!
And 21 Days is an excellent start. 21 Days of remembering this is My Choice. That everything is My Choice. (I'm not fooling myself to think I'm in control... not that at all!!) My Choice of acting by Reacting, or not Reacting, but rather Pro-acting.
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Lyn at Escape from Obesity wrote an excellent post this morning about Obsessive Eating. I haven't binged in a long long time, but I have kept secret food in a hiding place so I wouldn't have to share. She talks about Medifast as a kind of Food Rehab, which I totally agree with... it is nourishment, it tastes okay, but it isn't triggering unhealthy eating responses... unless we "Doctor the Flavor" up too much. Fabulous Post!!
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Edited to say: While I know this (change of eating) is a forever commitment, I understand that the longer I do it, the easier it is to make the right choices... But it seems to me that it is WAY easier to fall out of good habits (regardless of how long you've been doing it/them), than it is to create a good habit.