Changing Habits

So often, we make decisions, then we complain about them. We stay in relationships, but they tear us apart. We feel unsatisfied with our bodies, but we continue to eat badly and do not exercise.

I cannot help but think of a bible scripture. Rowans 7:15 says, “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.”

This is human nature. It is human nature for all of us imperfect, messy humans. What if we DID understand it though?

What if we understood that the reason that we do the thing we hate, or the thing that makes us kick ourselves afterwards, is because we are more comfortable with what we are used to? What if we understood what pulled us to the thing we did not want to do? And what if we understood why?

Would you rather eat whatever you want, or would you rather have an amazing beach body?

I am seriously asking. And I will ask myself, too.

Right now, I am not hungry. I am sitting in my living room writing this. My answer to that question is that I would SO much rather have an amazing beach body.

Why don’t I have the body I would ideally like then? Well, saying no to eating whatever I want is HARD. Why? Because I have spent most of my life eating whatever I wanted. It was a habit until I was maybe 25 years old. Why? Because I live in a culture that says that normal. Most people do not really think about food for fuel and health, rather they think of it as comfort and enjoyment.

Changing that habit is a big change. The best way to change it is to practice self-discipline, but also to change the mindset about food, and adapt to a different food culture.

It takes an average of 66 days to form a habit. There is a lot of people, books, etc. that say it only takes 21 or 30 days. I am not here to argue that. I have read from some psychologists that it really takes roughly 2 months, so I am going to go with that. Also, my point is not just about diet. It is about more. Maybe it is about something deeper, which probably requires more than 21 or 30 days.

Here is another question: Would you rather avoid conflict, or would you rather have healthier relationships?

That is a hard one to answer for me! I HATE conflict! The amount that I hate conflict is greater than the amount I like to eat whatever I want.

The truest answer though, is that I ultimately, I want healthier relationships. However, I have been avoiding conflict most of my life because I lived in a home culture that did not leave much room for my feelings, pain, or opinions.

I have mentioned before that a dear friend of mine asked me: “Isn’t that heavy? Carrying that unresolved conflict around all the time?”

The truth was that it was not. It was much heavier for me to consider facing the conflict. It was easy for me to avoid speaking up about my needs. It was easy for me to let things go that I should not have. It was NOT healthier.  

I wish I could tell you that for 21 days, I stood up and approached every little bit of conflict in my life, and then I changed like magic.

What I can tell you is that I started making small changes. I started being intentional about setting boundaries. I started feeling less scared to confront conflict. It happened slowly, and it is healing parts of me slowly. It is a change for the better. It is worth it, so that I no longer keep functioning in my dysfunction.

Published by madewellminded

I am a mental health therapist in training. I am on my way to finishing my master's degree in clinical mental health counseling. I am also a creative nonfiction writer and a poet with a bachelor's degree in English writing. I am an advocate for mental health. I am deeply passionate about making a difference in the stigma attached to mental health through knowledge, awareness, and creative writing. I want to share my own story, as well as the stories of others who have persevered through great adversity. I am also a wife to an amazing husband, a mother of two beautiful babies, and a Christian who wants to show love, kindness, and acceptance to everyone I meet.

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