Start where you are

How are you doing on those new habits? 

I have started some new things and it looks as though those things are becoming a habit and I still have plenty of other things I need to start, which leads me to this blog topic.

Start where you are!

It’s a phrase that runs through my head from time to time.

Why?

I often want to change things in my life.  I want new habits.  I want a new routine.  I want to exercise but don’t want to put the time in to do it.  I want my office and desk to be organized and neat but don’t want to take a few minutes every day to make that happen. 

I have had in the past a pretty inflexible routine in the mornings.  I would wake up, medicine for me and then for my fur-baby Lilly.  Start coffee, sit down and check my social media.  I literally could not start day until I knew what all my friends had posted after I had retired for the evening.  Some days I would sit in my recliner with my coffee for nearly two hours after waking up avidly reading everything that had been posted.  I knew this was a recipe for disaster but I loved the laziness of it.  I knew deep down that the time would be better spent cleaning off my desk or just walking on the treadmill but I was a creature to that bad habit.

Then one morning I saw a meme that stated, “One day or day one.” It was though someone had taken the blinders from my eyes.  I cogitated on that phrase for a few days.  I kept thinking about it.  I have to start somewhere, right?  So why not start where I was.  Any movement would be a step in the right direction. 

I had been thinking about starting an exercise program once again. (I believe this one would be number 200,501 that I started in my lifetime).  And oddly enough that phrase popped up again on my social media and in my head.  

I bargained with myself to get started.  I would walk/run on the treadmill while watching TV.  I would exercise until I had at least 10,000 steps. I would be killing two birds with one stone so to speak.  I would start on Monday, the beginning of the week.  This time I was going to do it.

Monday came and went.  I didn’t start.  I made excuses.  I needed new shoes.  There was nothing I wanted to watch to motivate me into my TV time. I would start next Monday.  It was close to the end of the month so I would start at the beginning of the month.  The excuse list goes on and on. I tried to rationalize it every way possible.  But the fact is you have to take the first step to create any habit.

So, I took a deep breath and I went to the running store for new shoes.  I purchased a step counter.  Again, I had a renewed sense of purpose.

At 5:00 am the next morning which happened to be a Friday in the middle of the month, after medicine for myself and Lilly, instead of sitting down to catch up on facebook, I put on my ridiculously expensive shoes and reacquainted myself with my treadmill.  I turned the TV on and off I went.  I thought the world was coming to an end.  This was it.  The “big one” was coming to take me home.  But it didn’t.  I survived. It was hard but I was at day one. 

The next morning at 5:00 am it was a little harder.  I told myself, I can quit at any time.  No one is making me do this.  I am not accountable to anyone but myself.  But then another voice inside my head said, “Do something today your future self will thank you for tomorrow.  Create that positive habit, one step at a time.”

I really had to say that phrase nearly every morning.  My mantra was I can do this.  And I did.

It has been nearly six weeks now since that “day one” and now I don’t dread it.  I am actually starting to look forward to it (that could be an exaggeration) but it is the new routine, my new habit.  I often achieve way more than 10,000 steps.

One of the positives from exercise first thing in the morning is it is over with for the day.  Done. Finished.  Not dreading it all day and not coming up with excuses as to why I can’t exercise after work. 

How does this apply to massage?  Start where you are.  It’s okay if you have never had a massage before. Start now.  Its okay to ask questions (if fact, I encourage it).  Start a dialogue with your therapist.   It’s okay to have expectations that someday you won’t hurt.  Start a treatment plan that includes massage. 

Massage can help many things.  I intend to explain that in later blog posts but for now, start where you are.

I started where I was.  I took my totally sedentary lifestyle and starting moving it to an active lifestyle.  I get regular massages.  Now I need to work on getting started on new habits for my desk and office.

Where are you on your new habits?  Will you start where you are?  I did and it has been great.

“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending. “ – C.S. Lewis

New Year's resolutions

How are those New Year Resolutions going?  Have you abandoned them already or have they become habits?

My New Year is off to a rough start and I didn’t make resolutions.  I made a promise to adopt habits.  I want to improve my health and fitness as well as some new productivity habits for the business. 

Last year I loaded my online scheduler app to my phone.  After every massage, when someone rebooked, I consciously reminded myself to schedule through the app.  This small habit changed my stress level.   Prior to loading the app, I would put it on my calendar then have to come home and get online and schedule it through the on line scheduler.  Often times, someone would have booked online and now the appointment I had promised someone was on longer available.  Or I would forget to do it each night and then schedule two people for the same time.  I had lots of errors, mistakes and stress.  But by making this change in the way I did things, creating a habit, I have eliminated most of this problem. 

This is why I am talking about habits instead of resolutions.

A habit is an action you do automatically in response to your environment.  Webster’s defines habit as an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary.

A resolution is defined as the act of determining.

Studies indicate that it takes anywhere from 21 days to 66 days to form new habits.  But as with everything it is not that simple. 

First you have to identify your goal.  You have to set a tangible goal.  As with my example above, I wanted to eliminate the extra step in coming home and scheduling and the potential scheduling conflicts.  Goals could be doing paperwork consistently and in a timely manner so that it does not take a day to complete or making better choices when it comes to food so that you are reducing calories or exercising regularly or regular massage sessions.

Next you need to create environmental triggers.  Paperwork trigger could be instead of piling it up, setting aside 20 minutes each morning or evening and tackling the paperwork.  When offered a sweet, choose a fruit instead.  Instead of watching television you go for a walk first.  Instead of thinking about scheduling your massage appointment, you do it and then rescheduling before leaving massage office.  This connects the action you want to adopt with activities you already do regularly.

And last rewards.  Don’t motivate yourself with rewards.  Use them to help you enjoy your habits.  Rewards when used properly help to create habits.  They need to be large enough to create good feelings that you associate with the desired action.  Such as after finishing the paperwork each day you remember that you now won’t have to dedicate a day of leisure to the activity.  You are free to plan a day of fun for the day you would have spent tackling paperwork.  You have chosen to have a salad instead of carbohydrates and after the meal you check how much better you feel immediately.  Now when offered birthday cake, you can indulge in a small helping knowing you are making better choices every day and the occasional will not be your downfall.  After the massage, the feeling of relaxation and the better sleep you have.   You will be investing an hour in yourself care. 

So with all of this information, I am resolving to create better habits in my life and business.  I am a little late this year but it is never too late to get started on bettering yourself.  Join me.  We can hold each other accountable.

 

Namaste

 

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. - Aristotle