Changing Habits

#new routines #forming habits

It is often said that it takes doing something 7 times for a habit to form.  There are mantras and inspirational quotes to encourage people to form new habits.  However, what about getting from point A to point B?  The forming of the behavior for the habit is essential to get to one before attempting a consistent seven.  

I found myself logically knowing I had to make a change, but simultaneously discovered myself stuck.  How did I get here? And more importantly how was I going to leave this stuck place.  

I enjoy working out and strive to be healthy.  When working full time my preference for working out is at night.  I slowly began to notice I was not working out often.  I struggled with establishing a routine that fit neatly into my demanding schedule. Over the years, my workouts became consistently inconsistent.  

Not being able to workout was extremely hard to accept.  It left me feeling defeated, somber about my ability to commit, yearning for a routine.  I didn’t understand why so many women around me and from my view were able to workout routinely; what was I missing.  I was determined to workout at night yet every time a resemblance of a routine emerged, I met failure; the routine would fade or disappear. As I gave deep thought as to why I couldn’t establish a routine, I learned that the evening schedule constantly changed between my girls’ schedules and my professional and citizen responsibilities. I took a very important step in this acknowledgment and forgave myself.  I realized no matter how much I desired to workout at night it was not possible and if I wanted to have a workout routine something had to change.  

I had the bright idea that I would need to workout in the morning.  I will be honest this revelation took a few years.  With years passing and consistent inconsistencies and age creeping on the ounces and pounds attached.  

The journey to adapting to working out in the morning was slow.  I did not expect this, but the reason it was slow is that for me to workout in the morning would require a change of habit and mindset.  Not realizing this at first and just thinking I found the answer now do it, led to more failure in establishing a morning routine.  

I gave myself self-talk, promises, and incentives.  However these attempts were fruitless.  I had to understand myself better before enacting this new plan.  So I again thought about what could be blocking me from beginning a morning routine.  It was confusing to me that something I enjoy doing was extremely difficult to create a routine.  The thought of working out brings a smile to my face, yet it was evading me. I learned mornings were not easy for me.  I had to mentally prepare to change my morning routine to incorporate working out.  I had already planned the workout, but this was not enough.  I began setting my alarm 15 minutes earlier to get use to waking or at least expecting to wake up early.  Next came 30 minutes early, I noticed it was harder to awaken at this new time.  Here is where I spent time helping myself wake up at the new time, and here is where I discovered the hardship in implementing a morning workout truly rested in my ability to fully accept a new earlier time to not only wake up but rise out of bed, prepare, and workout.  

I decided additional steps were needed.  Yes, I finally achieved waking up at the desired time to allow for a morning workout, I was kind to myself and did not expect to workout immediately. I allowed myself the training to wake up and rise out of bed and recognized the accomplish. Afterwards a series of stretching following rising out of bed became the accomplishment and mental knowledge, I am ready and this is possible.  The workouts did follow. However, it is not automatic as my natural rhythm prefers mid-day or evening workouts. understanding this and knowing consistency is not a given; it takes daily effort and mental work.  I treat any evening workout as a bonus.  

People are told from research that it takes 7 times of doing something consistently to form a habit.  People are not always told that getting to the 7 times can take a long time.  No matter the habit that you want to change or develop, understand it can take time.  The time to truly understand your needs and roadblocks and then preparing yourself to develop the habit.  Be encouraged you can seek support and guidance in this process and you do not have to face it alone.  Sometimes these roadblocks and barriers are blind spots working with a counselor can help you reveal these blind spots and plan for the roadblocks. 

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