In a culture scrutinizing everything right down to the gender of a plastic potato, the one thing not being discussed is accountability.
Culture approves any chance to point the mirror at someone else, not look at it… into it.
Habit, as defined by dictionary.com, is a pattern of choices or behaviors that are particularly hard to break. Interestingly, habit also refers to the kinds of covering nuns or priests wear. In the verb form, habit means to dress.
A habit is something we choose to put on, often to define self…or cover the self we feel better left unseen.
When we are children, we are dressed by those around us. Our habits begin to form. We begin to wear them. Words. Hand gestures. Reactions. These patterns determine mindset which lays the foundation for aptitude. From breakfast choices to faith foundations, these habits, like cotton, become the fabric of our lives, woven into our thoughts without our permission nor investigation.
As we move closer to adulthood, culture has a greater influence on our thoughts that we’d like to admit. Marketing, peer pressure, and insecurity become the ring leaders of our personal big top three ring circus.
We hope the costumes and grandeur somehow cover the underlying fear of rejection that drives the show. Our show.
We typically keep our habits around because of the chaos- both internal and external– which would ensue if the familiar is questioned… or worse, abandoned. Deciding to create a new habit means we’ve recognized a need for change DEEP enough to work for it.
Unwinding layers of intertwined behaviors only happens when we see the impending destruction. Most don’t. Most won’t struggle through the internal and external conflicts because fear is a primary driver of every ego-centric behavior– but you can.
The effort required to disrobe self of tattooed facades is too difficult for most; those who attempt face abandonment, judgment, and humiliation.
The habits tattooed on my life, whether placed upon me or adopted by my own will, determine the fullness of my existence. What happens when these indelible pen strokes create repeated offenses within relationships? Or with stealthy invisible ink, they write a plan for chronic pain or lifelong disease? What good are these coverings when they lead to my demise?
Some of these seemingly permanent blueprints need rewriting. Life should feel fuller. Life needs to feel wholer. (Yes, Jill, it’s underlined in red. I know.)
The “Reds” or “Eights” or “Threes” of the world will even fail when the purpose is misaligned or weak. It’s why New Years Resolutions don’t work and 30-60 day challenges are not successful for lifelong change. A goal is never enough.
Science calls the driver all behavior fear; however, those who embrace the emotional nature of humanity insist the primary driver of human behavior is love. Showing it and receiving it. Heroes are full of it. Villains seek it in all the wrong places. Screenwriters and authors exploit the indispensable role love (acceptance) plays in the human condition. Jeopardizing acceptance for any reason is an inherent risk to a fulfilling life. My gluten free, dairy free, vegan, or alternative medicine friends, can I get an AMEN?!?!
Changing habits other can see FEELS like pointing the mirror in their direction. It FEELS like judgment. A rift develops where judgment lands.
The first thing to evaluate is what needs to change. We have to look in the mirror and be accountable for what we find. What is creating collateral damage that interferes with your best next steps to wise and healthy living?
Any of the things that get in the way.
Ice cream after dinner.
Fast food several times a week.
Porn. Or HBO. Or Netflix. Seems to be all the same nowadays.
“Dirty” books or music.
Sitting on your bum, doing nothing.
Stewing about what happened 15 years ago. Or the breaks you never caught. Or the ball you didn’t catch. Maybe it’s the “glory days” you can’t move past…
The cheapest step to creating health is figuring out what stands in the way.
Before we talk about food sensitivity testing or thyroid evaluation or gut health, a good old look in the mirror is in order. In other words, what are you doing to sabotage yourself? What can you (we) identify today or this week that needs desperate attention before it suffocates another dream?
Perhaps the easiest place to start is eating habits. Let’s be honest, almost all of us have some of those that we know are in need of attention. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be attempting specific BETTER health, just the obvious no-nos: dessert everyday, candy bars, soda, a triple double bacon with mayo, “shoot first aim later” tendency, lying….
Let’s pause for a sec– if someone ELSE’S face shot into your mirror just then, you’re doing it wrong. This is about YOU. YOUR fundamental shift in thought. A spouse or child or friend has to come to a personal realization of collateral damage or future destruction before effort– real effort– exists. If you thought of someone else, time to flip the screen back to selfie mode.
So, let’s find a thing this week that can start the process. Together we can execute on ONE change. Own it. As a team, we can look in the mirror and start with ONE thing. A little thing is usually best. Dropping one food/food type, think candy, soda, alcohol. NOT watching, listening to, or reading the thing you have to pause to turn off when the kids walk in. Giving a compliment instead of a critique. Wearing something besides spandex. (I felt personally attacked). Deleting the Amazon app. Not saying the ugly words. Ironing a shirt. (Do people do that?)
It starts with understanding what needs to get changed.
Friends, if we want things to change, we have to change the things.
This week it’s the obvious things. The things you know are holding you back from big trips you’ve always dreamed about, from close relationships you deeply desire; those knee walls in the way of promotions you seek, a shovel (or fork…) for your own grave.
Pick one. One thing this week you know is standing in the way of you and the next, better version of you.
I”m going to wear something other than spandex.
Disclaimers: if you purchase a book I linked from the link, I might make a few cents. Literally. A few cents. But I have to disclose that.