Setting New Habits Realistically
New habits sometimes take a little while to set in. Take my new, daily 20-minute walk. In the first week, it’s been more of a semi-daily walk, as something has come up every other day. Do I beat myself up for not sticking to the program?
Are you kidding me? I just added walking before breakfast or coffee for crying out loud! That’s epic! If I “only” manage every other day, that’s still 3 days out of 6 I’m up and moving right after my morning pages and cat feeding. Up to now, I was doing well to make it to the garage to feed the outside cats, and the kitchen to feed me and the indoor cats before about 10AM. Now I’m walking more than a mile every other day!
The point I’m trying to make is setting new habits is hard. Sometimes I have to practically blast myself out of my old tried-and-true in order to add something new. And believe me, exercising before coffee is one of those times.
Opening a Window to New Experiences
And yet, as I’m putting on my clothes, tying my sneakers, and getting ready to head out the door, I’m actually excited. I know. That sounds pretty odd. But in a few every-other-days, I’ve discovered how much a short morning walk can do for the entire day.
Some days I’m all eyes and ears, taking in everything in my path. Others, I’m focusing on walking as briskly as possible to get the blood moving and my brain activated. Then there are the days when it’s essentially a walking meditation where I let my thoughts wander and give only the necessary amount of attention to my surroundings (meaning I don’t cross streets without looking for cars, and I don’t run over people I might encounter on my walk).
There are no rules for this walk other than to just do it. Like my thrice weekly gym habit, it doesn’t take long to feel better for it. I’ve even noticed a decrease in appetite, and a greater tendency to grab something healthy. My weight dropped 3 pounds in the first week, which, in and of itself is a HUGE inspiration as I’ve been stagnating or going up for months!
Blood Feeds the Brain
Getting my blood moving early has other advantages as well. I’m more likely to sit down and knock out a project when I come home. I’m actually less hungry, if you can believe it. Each evening when I look back at my day, I can see very definite accomplishments. It might be personal stuff like laundry, housework, or bill paying. But quite often it’s effort I put into my writing or business.
Hours I used to spend spinning my wheels are now spent turning those wheels towards my goals and dreams. Somehow, my brain has decided that since I push the start of my day out by 20 or 30 minutes, I have to make up for it by being more dedicated to my craft and projects. Who knew it was possible to trick the brain like that?
Old Habits and New
I use Trello to keep track of all my projects, but there’s also a mental calendar which, though prone to losing things, carries a basic framework of my life and goals. It’s starting to get more insistent about speeding up what I’m doing, or having more productive hours in a day. Something I had put aside when I left my corporate job has suddenly returned, for better or worse. I’m eating lunch at my desk while working.
On one hand, it’s probably unwise to shove food down my throat while working, but on the other, the bites are infrequent enough that my brain has time to register satiation before I overeat. In essence, working while I’m eating has slowed me down so again, I eat less.
Eating Slowly and Mindfully
In the general scheme of things, eating less helps decrease weight. Eating healthier foods also helps decrease weight. Adding exercise—you guessed it, helps decrease weight. Put them all together, and health improves, stamina increases, and energy skyrockets.
All this has an interesting and especially pleasant side effect. I’m finding my mood is also elevated. I smile at people I pass on my walk; call sales clerks by name after requesting assistance with a smile, and am generally more patient (never one of my strong suits!).
Vocalizing My New-Found Joy
I find myself humming “On a Wonderful Day Like Today” from “The Roar of the Greasepaint-The Smell of the Crowd” or the Carpenters’ “Top of the World” with gay abandon, loud and off-key without concern for who might see, or whose ears might be battered. I’m less irritated by the irritating, and more accepting of life’s detours and delays.
I have to wonder if the change begun last year when I got my gym habit going is being expanded by the addition of the walk. Suddenly, the idea of being out among people several nights a week, at the gym, and more often overall is actually appealing! To an introvert like me who has, for years reveled in her own company, this is truly world-shaking. I’m wondering what other changes will manifest in the months to come, and how much further from my shell I’ll crawl?
Success Leads to a Brighter Outlook
Even to myself, a lot of this sounds like I’ve gone bat-shit crazy. But frankly, if this is crazy, why choose sanity? Other people see the numbers on the scale increasing, or look in the mirror to see clothes getting tighter, and get angry with themselves. Soon, the anger translates into how they interact with other people, and often, their anger takes them on a downward spiral into depression.
I’ve been there, and let me tell you, it wasn’t pleasant for me or anyone who had to interact with me. I decided long ago it was a town I wouldn’t revisit, but have, at times, passed through, if only for a moment. I’m learning, years later than most that one of the keys to avoiding that dark, gloomy place is to keep moving, both figuratively and literally.
Endorphins Bring Happiness Bubbling to the Surface
I’ve always known on a conscious level that exercise releases endorphins which are basically the body’s happy pill. I’ve attributed my happiness, not so much to getting up and moving, but to dancing because dancing has always been my happy place. The truth is, how and where I move is irrelevant. Dancing may raise me higher because the energy is shared, and as I share it, I vibrate even higher.
Still, the act of getting out and walking, lifting weights at the gym, going on a hike—any time I move for even a few minutes raises my vibration and elevates my mood. Maybe that’s why it’s so much harder when I’ve been especially down. By staying still I stay where I am. If I move, I have to experience change, even if it’s only a slight mood elevation.
But once I’m moving and my mood is elevated, continuing to move is not only easier, it’s impossible to ignore. Music plays and I tap your feet, or maybe sing along. A sunny day beckons me outdoors to move through and become a part of it. A hiking trail, a wooded path, a park, even an outdoor mall are all places to explore and experience.
Moving Through Life Elevated
I’m so glad I’ve learned to get up and put one foot in front of the other; to experience the joy of movement of many kinds. Sure, there are days when my back will ache or my knees will complain. As it’s rarely debilitating, I’ve learned to push through it. There was a time I’d use the pain as an excuse to sit more, then wonder why the pain intensified over time until it was constant instead of intermittent.
My new motto/mantra is “Movement is Life, and Life is Movement”.
Ready to Raise Your Vibration?
Is the business you’re building leaving little time for self-care? Do you feel like you’re wallowing in quicksand? Would you like to take a task or two off your plate so you can take a daily walk, or just a night off? Maybe it’s content creation, or perhaps it’s getting your books in order and creating a budget. If this sounds familiar and you’re ready to streamline your life and give your business space to grow and thrive, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!
Gratitude Attracts More
My gratitudes today are:
- I’m grateful I’ve learned the benefits of movement, and have shied away from an overabundance of sloth.
- I’m grateful for active friends who draw me into their joy and their movement.
- I’m grateful for my friend Lorna who gave me a book which has gotten me moving even more, and able to finally see a healthy, fit, slimmer me.
- I’m grateful for painless days when everything is functioning better because it isn’t being forced to lay dormant.
- I’m grateful for abundance; health, energy, positivity, joy, improvement, inspiration, motivation, productivity, friendship, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.
Love and Light
About the Author
Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws , of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward