05 Sep Replacing Bad Habits with Good Ones
It’s hard to let go of a bad habit.
Bad habits are sexy, right? They’re addictive. They’re easy. Comfortable. Routine.
But: They’re also soul-sucking. They’re time wasters. Debilitating, deadening, destructive.
Yet at the same time: Very, very human.
Because we all hit bumps along the road of life. And we all take on ways of being that aren’t necessarily good for us.
Maybe you slurp down 16 cups of coffee every day. Or you sit on the couch and watch television for as many hours as you sleep at night. Or you waste your time on social media when you know you should be doing something more productive (or, you know, remotely productive!).
Whatever the case may be, your bad habit’s got you in its grip. It’s so deeply integrated into your daily lifestyle that you almost believe it’s a part of you. It’s who you are, who you’ll always be.
Don’t be fooled by this seduction. Don’t let yourself get sidetracked on the path of bad habits.
‘Cause, let me remind you: You’ve got lots of things to do during your time here on Earth. The part of the journey you’ve seen so far — that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much more to life.
You have so much to share in your human state, and honestly, you simply cannot waste another moment feeding a bad habit that’s only gonna lead you straight to nowhere.
So find a good habit to replace the bad one.
Ditch the coffee for green smoothies.
Get out in nature instead of deepening that ass imprint on the couch.
Block social media from your computer for a set amount of time, so you can put your full attention into accomplishing your daily objectives.
‘Cause you know what? The good habits you start nurturing today will determine the value of the rest of your precious life! They’ll wrap their arms around you, molding you like clay and shaping you into your highest self.
So don’t delay. After all, nothing’s stopping you. (Except yourself, but let’s be honest here: Shouldn’t You Be On Your Own Side?)
Also: Remember to be gentle. Don’t take on too much change all at once. Implement the good habits slowly, and with great care.
‘Cause if you start out by telling yourself that you’re going to the gym for 3 hours a day, 7 days a week, trust me: You’ll be sick of that program pretty fast. And then you’ll go back to doing whatever it was you did before.
When I was 21, I woke up one day and realized how sluggish I felt inside my body. Meanwhile, my face was all broken out.
Something was up.
For one thing, I’d just moved from college in Boston to Los Angeles, and so many transitions were happening. In the meantime: I knew that my diet wasn’t the best. I’d been able to get away with having cheeseburgers, pizza, and French fries during all those late nights at college, but now it was all catching up to me.
I needed a change. Big-time.
So I committed to being macrobiotic for 30 days. Macrobiotic (which translates to great life) is described as more than a diet — it’s a way of life. By taking in whole, unprocessed, natural foods and eliminating all the other garbage, my body was supposed to find its balanced, natural state again. I read many stories about people who had undergone great transformations in their bodies just from going Macrobiotic!
So I went for it, full-force. I followed all the guidelines to a T. Stopped consuming white rice, white flour, sugar, caffeine, dairy, meat, and alcohol. Filled my kitchen with organic produce, whole grains, tofu, and tempeh.
I was gonna do this all the way. Until when…after 2 weeks, I felt like I was gonna pass out.
I was in the middle of rehearsing for a play in Hollywood, when things went black inside my head. Dizziness grabbed me. Maybe ‘cause, um, my body was undergoing the biggest detox of all time?!
I was processing out years worth of sludge and processed foods. And although this was exactly what I wanted, I knew I had to bring a couple of old foods back into the mix to rejuvenate myself and find balance again. So I brought back a bit of sugar and dairy to my diet.
And then, when I was ready, after a steady month or so of elimination, I went back to my strict Macrobiotic lifestyle.
See, I could’ve easily gotten frustrated by my intense detox, and simply given up on the whole thing. But I didn’t.
Instead, I learned to be gentle with myself. Yes, maybe I did take a few steps back by incorporating the old foods that I’d been accustomed to, but I eventually left them behind, too (no regrets), and got to where I wanted to go — with no crazy dizzy spells along the way!
Three months into my “habit” of a Macrobiotic lifestyle, I looked and felt better than I ever had. In fact, I felt so amazing that I never went back to my old way of eating again. The bad habits of my early days were a thing of the past.
(Side-note: Currently, I’m not a strict Macrobiotic. I’m on a vegan diet, but I still enjoy eating Macro-style quite often!)
So: When you switch out your bad habits for good ones, don’t push yourself too hard, too fast. Be in it for the long-term. After all, you want the good habits to stick.
Key points to remember: Don’t rush. Be smooth. And extend a heaping measure of grace and kindness toward yourself.
This is, after all, your journey. So travel it wisely, and with great care and love for yourself.
And right now (by which I mean, like, today!), reach inside yourself, gather your courage, and start building the wild life your heart desires. Soon your bad habits will be but a speck in your rearview mirror, and you won’t be able to imagine, let alone remember, the time when you allowed them to rule you.