Socrates said, “The secret to change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but building the new.” This is one of those quotes that’s been rattling around in my head for several years, and won’t quite ever let me go. I think he’s right– really right. Have you ever thought about how much habit influences what you do, whether for the good or for the bad? Think about your morning routine, for example. How much of that do you do completely on auto-pilot?
I roll out of bed, and go for the coffee. I turn up the thermostat. I run through my day and check the weather. I meditate. I get a shower, and make breakfast. I brush my teeth, put on clothes, and hopefully have a minute or two to put on my face. I don’t think about most of it. The body is always looking for ways to be efficient, so it creates habits. Because I have a habit, I can save my thought power for something else.
But the good and bad thing about habits is that they are incredibly powerful. I’ve been doing some reading about habits and one day I’ll get around to posting more about how habits impact your weight loss and food choices. (I’ll include the links to my fav reads at the bottom… they’re well worth the read, or the listen if audio books are your jam.) But if you have some very strong habits, which most of us do, they can be reallyreallyreallyreallyreally hard to break. And not being able to successfully break them may instead break your mojo.
So, maybe Socrates was onto something. Instead of spending all your energy trying to break your old thing, try making a new thing. Like this: My trainer and I simultaneously realized neither of us were getting enough Potassium each day. Each of us meant to start adding in a glass of low sodium v8 juice, but it never happened. Since we work together outside of the gym too, it was a logical thing to make a habit together. Every day at noon, we have a v8 date. We stop work for 5 minutes and make it a fun time of shooting the bull. But now the potassium problem is solved. We’ve done it for several months now, so we don’t even have to think about it anymore.
How can you make a healthy habit today? Maybe it’s packing tomorrow’s lunch before going to bed, or setting out your workout clothes for your early morning sweat session. How can you get your family and friends involved in your new habit?
Building a new habit can help you feel like you are more in charge of your life– like less is left to change. More healthy habits = more success with less struggle!