The other day was graduation day. I graduated from thirty days of juicing. Proper. I’d started building this habit about a month ago, using a different approach than normal. Instead of forcing change onto myself, too much of it at once usually, I took a more incremental, more gentle approach. And it worked.
I’m writing this not in order to boast about my habit building achievement. In fact, I’m not even sure yet if it will last. I can admit that now because in the process of that incremental approach I’ve learnt a lot about myself. Because part of the process was to actually listen to myself. My enthusiasm. My laziness. My resistance(s). And the entire spectrum in between.
In fact, if I was to share one insight about this process, it would be: Work with yourself, not against yourself. It sounds so simple and straightforward. But it’s not. It’s actually the hardest part. Because it requires honest self-awareness and self-observation. I certainly wasn’t always self-aware or self-observant in my habit building processes prior to that. Or any process, for that matter.
In fact, for a very long time I had not been quite able to feel and honor my needs and boundaries at all. It’s a fact that I’ve learnt the hard way, by means of an actual burnout that knocked me out for well over a year. And as horrible as the experience was, it also was very instructive.
So, as you may have gathered by now, this post isn’t really about juicing. It’s about how I’m developing a sincere, self-caring and non-judgmental curiosity about how I tick. What drives my decisions, the big and the small ones. What helps me follow through with my goals, and what is likely to throw me off course.
On a very practical juicing habit level this comes down to funny observations like: Oh, okay, when I’m really stressed out and tired in the evening after a long day’s work I tend to struggle more with assembling the juicer and washing and slicing my veggies and fruit for next morning than I would after a relaxed day.
Or: Once I do pre-wash and pre-slice in the evening there is a close to 100 percent chance that I will juice the next morning, no matter how tired I am. Also, when I juice enough for two days and put one bottle in the fridge for tomorrow, there is no chance at all that I will miss drinking my juice in the morning. And not to forget: I do like streaks. And I hate to break them.
So now, as I observe myself debating whether to pre-wash and pre-slice after a long day’s work, I know that the decision I’m about to make isn’t just one about washing or slicing right now. It’s a decision that kick-starts a whole chain reaction of decisions that will lead to me either drinking juice for two days in a row, or not. To continuing my streak, or breaking it. To keeping up this part of my self-care, or not.
This may all sound pretty mundane and weird and unimportant. But it’s not, at least not to me. It’s at the heart of the matter of establishing a new habit and making it stick. It’s about knowing myself and honoring myself. And using that knowledge gently to help myself succeed in what is important to me.
Juicing is just the start.