The habits that I have put in place, are now the systems that are keeping my weight loss journey on track. In so many ways, these habits are setting me free. For one, there is no tortuous internal dialogue about what to do next because I already know. Another reason is that I feel in control, and that is probably my biggest motivation for keeping my habits.
So what happens to these systems when circumstances change? Things happen that are out of control and I think (that when that happens) I am entering the danger zone (or maybe it’s just my personal danger zone). I think I might be entering the on-ramp to my danger zone now. Here is what’s happening, yesterday was the start of my spring break. YAY! What could be wrong with that? I was so happy until I realized I left my phone on my desk at school. There was a lot of yelling in the car… so I had to turn around and go back to school. On my second trip home… when traffic was at standstill I had LOTS of time to think. Maybe the better word is to perseverate on the workout clothes that were waiting for me at home. All I could see was the chair in my entryway with neatly folded clothes sitting with expectations.
I changed the subject, after all it’s spring break, and I’m going to visit my son who lives in New Hampshire. I miss him so much and I really can’t wait to go. But then, I started thinking about my huge 64-ounce water bottle sitting next to the work out clothes. New Hampshire is a ferry ride and hours of highway driving away. Drinking all that water on a long car ride is going to be problematic. When I realized what was happening, I actually said, “What the heck?” Well that’s the polite version of what I said…
Habits naturally bring expectations because they are tied to rewards. Plus, when you have systems that are working, time becomes the enforcer. Time is the pressure that keeps habits moving along in a nice controlled environment. Remember how important environment is for setting up habits? The chair in my entry way is not just a wooden chair it’s an object with a relationship to my workout clothes. I think, I’m entering a new phase in the journey, but first look back before proceeding forward:
- I re-engaged my weight loss journey – go me!
- I read books to learn more about habits – go me!
- I allowed myself to be vulnerable with my WW community – go me!
- I actually figured out habits that are working – (WOW) go me!
What’s next for me?
The best way I can say it, life is giving me a “BOOP”
Even though mine are not destructive habits- they are changing my life for the better and I’m so grateful for them – life is making me take a step back. This boop is like a combo of affectionate greeting to your pet, and an intentional step back. It’s like, “You’re doing great! Boop!” My life forcing a little break. But why is it important to take a little break? The thing is, I want to be fully present when I go away. I don’t want to be distracted from my feelings or the experiences I have. I also want to be able to come back home and resume them again. If I can do that, then I am on solid ground. It would mean I am in charge of my habits, and not the other way around.
Fun Fact: Habits are linked to environment
I learned about this fact from my WW leader, and in the books: The Power of Habit and Atomic Habits. Basically, people can drop habits in a new environment and resume their habits when they return home. This doesn’t mean that when I go to New Hampshire, I want to go overboard I plan on tracking food, and I know I will be active. I just want to be present and I can’t be present if I am worrying about losing my habits that are sustaining my weight loss success. This is just want’s next, am I nervous? Yep, a little. But, I believe in me, this was all meant to happen, and now I get to learn even more about myself as I continue on the journey.
One thought on “Highway to (my) Danger Zone”
This is me! I always get anxious when I’m going away from my home because of my “routine”. I work with a nutritionist on and off and she has helped me with that thinking of “everything needs be exactly what I do at home”. It definitely helped on cross country travel early in the year.
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