I don’t believe in that old adage that says it takes four weeks to form a habit. It takes much, much longer than four weeks to make a permanent habit. Years. Over my long weight loss journey, especially from 2011 to 2014, I developed many really good habits. Eating fruits and vegetables every day, exercising 5-6 times a week, using movement instead of food to combat stress, etc. I remember the moment I knew something had really become a habit instead of something I made myself do. During the 2012 election, I was so nervous about the outcome, and instead of thinking about food, I kept jogging around my living room as the results came in because I simply couldn’t sit still. Just four years before in the previous election, I never would have done that.
Unfortunately, in moving to Boston in 2014, most of my habits died off. I was in a new area that was unfamiliar in environment, culture, and weather. I stopped exercising for long enough that the habit died. I ate well for awhile, but started beating myself up and actively eating unhealthy to punish myself. (Yes, I went to a therapist.) I developed new habits – binge eating, drinking too much, self-punishment. And while I’ve gotten to the point in my life where I have done away with most of that (the binge eating comes back periodically), I’ve never had the opportunity to regrow those good habits of the time. Too many moves, too many new environments, too many painful stressors and PTSD triggers. But I want to form these good habits again.
I want to choose not to binge when the urge comes.
I want to exercise most days of the week, including walking and running and yoga and dancing and all other sorts of things.
I want to get back to averaging 10K+ steps every day.
I want to start writing again, every day, even if it’s only a tiny number of words. Just to sit down and put ideas to page every day would be good.
I want to stop filling my time with meaningless things and work toward the things I want to be/have in my life.
I want to be confident in myself again and trust my body and this whole process.
None of that will come overnight. None of that will come in four weeks. I hope that I can look back on this post in a year (or two or three) and smile, because I will have accomplished all these things and they come to me second nature. One day, they’ll be true habits like those I’ve formed since childhood – buckling my seatbelt in the car or brushing my teeth or writing in my daily journal. One day. And the slow building of these habits starts now.