Habits: Breaking Old and Creating New

They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit.

I have no idea who they are but it must be true, right? Because every time I try to create a new habit, I seem to self-sabotage myself way before the three weeks is due and BOOM, habit never quite reaches its full fruition.

I’ll give you a few examples:

Quit coffee. I think I lasted a week before I realized coffee makes me way too happy to deprive myself of it, and that I will continue to drip my cuppa (or two) to bring a little bit of joy into my life. The withdrawal symptoms also didn’t help.

Exercise daily. This lasted maybe four days before I told myself that Monday, the first work day of the week, should always be a day of rest; Friday should not include any exercise because it’s well, Friday; and errands occur on Saturday so that clearly counts as exercising.

Get rid of 5 items daily. Weird, right? But in my journey of minimalism, I have this strong urge to discard of any and all things. And it worked, for a while, a long while actually. I was easily picking 5 items out of my collection of things I own and either tossed, gave to family and friends, or donated. But now it’s been a couple of months since I’ve actually thrown out an item that wasn’t a cardboard box courtesy of Amazon, and I realize that I’m starting to… collect things again.

Ugh.

I have the best intention to improve my life and well-being but it’s almost like I’m afraid. Of what? I don’t know. There’s obviously something blocking me, something I haven’t quite tapped into, that makes me want to run away and hide at the notion of change. Like change is a bad thing.

But not all change is bad. Some change is good… great even! And it’s not to say that I’m failing at all of the new habits I’m trying to form. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, I promise.

I’m drinking water. Lemon water, but water, nonetheless. Yes, I was one of those annoying people that would say they hated water. What kind of blasphemy is that? you’re thinking. Well, in my mindset, water tasted like nothing so what was the point? This mindset lasted the majority of my life until a minor case of strep throat put me in check to the point that it’s now mandatory for me to have a water bottle at arm’s length at all times.

Water: 1 | Christina: 0

Water’s not the only habit I’m succeeding with. I now get up at 5AM daily. Okay, I lie. Sometimes it’s 5AM, sometimes it’s 6AM, sometimes a little something in between. This is a huge improvement from rolling out of bed at 7:30AM and rushing to make it to work. Or sleeping in until 9AM or 10AM on the weekends. I now love being the first person to wake up. I relish in the moment when the house is silent except for those odd house-sounding sounds. Where I can just sit and contemplate life, drink my coffee, and just be.

So yeah, I may never quit coffee. I will eat a chocolate bar here and there. Sushi is life.

But I also enjoy being a minimalist newbie and learning about what minimalism means to me. I love not having so much excess in my life. I love making life simple. I enjoy getting rid of things that no longer serve a purpose or bring joy in my life, and it is a habit that I will continue to work on.

I do enjoy exercising. When I’m in the moment of sweating my butt off on the treadmill listening to 50 Cent or Justin Timberlake, I feel invincible! I might not be doing it daily, but I try as much as I can, and that’s all I can really do.

I have learned not to stress when implementing a new habit in my life. How? Well, below are a list of a few things I tell myself, or do, whenever trying to break those nasty habits or start new ones:

Guided meditation. Meditating is new for me and I find that guided meditation is a great way of introducing me to it. After a session, I feel great! Content and relaxed, I feel that I can take on the world and it leaves me in a better mindset to tackle my goals.

Write it down. I’m a post-it note, agenda-writing individual, and I find that writing things down hits the spot. It makes it more real. By not attaining the goals that I have written down, it only makes me disappointed in myself. And that’s the last thing I want to do! As a result, habits are created and formed.

Take one day at a time. Remember to breathe. It’s okay if I have that piece of chocolate (it’s dark!) or decide to ditch the exercise routine for a movie… with popcorn. Tomorrow is a new day and a new day equals RESTART!

Healthy habits will bring me nothing but joy. It might seem like work at first, but the more I do, the more it’ll feel like second nature. Look at my love of drinking water now!

I drink water effortlessly to nourish my body.

I exercise and move my body freely.

I only eat what brings me joy, and feel no regrets.

I remove things in my life that no longer serve a purpose.

I write everyday, whether my blog, a story, scripting, a to-do list. I write.

I write the above in the present because I am affirming it all. These are my habits, and a part of my daily living that I will continually work on.

When I find my self-sabotaging creeping in, I reset by applying my list of guided meditation, writing it down, and taking one day at a time, and it pushes me to try and do better. But like I said, I will no longer feel bad about my so-called “failures” because to me, they’re not failures. It’s called life. Enjoy it. Feeling bad about not eating a certain amount of calories a day, or not hitting the gym on the daily defeats the entire process. This is a journey, not a race. This is my journey, and the only person I’m competing with is myself.

Because in the end, isn’t that all that really matters?

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Christina Channelle is the author of Young Adult and New Adult Fiction, her series including Four Letters and Blood Crave. She’s happily addicted to coffee, being surrounded by nature, and the art of decluttering. She’s also partial to quartz crystals and writing about angsty girls who may or may not have a potty mouth.

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