Sneaky habits (III)

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.


19 thoughts on “Sneaky habits (III)

    1. Yes, it very much is. Thank you for your warm words. Humor doesn’t come easy to me at the moment. It’s all the more important. Very nice to have met you, too. I’ll be reading some more of your wonderful poems. They are like a warm blanket in the cold.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I just laughed out loud. I would very much like that, a cheerleader in my pocket. Thank you. If you don’t mind I’ll take you on a walk in a nearby park now. It’s cold but also nice and sunny outside.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, exactly, you put it more eloquently and succinctly in one paragraph than I could in a whole post. It’s a curious thing, to observe my self. It’s like watching a theatre play in a sense – while at the same time playing a part in it. It takes some getting used to.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. It’s great that you are learning, & sharing. Thank you for sharing. Can’t wait to find out what’s next!

    I am happy to hear you’re building the habit 🙂 are you enjoying the juice? Feeling better for it? I have learnt to have a bottle of water with me because I am too lazy to get up & get a drink when I need one.

    Have you finished Atomic Habits? I haven’t read any more since. I was trying to explain it to friends last night from memory & all I could remember was to make good habits easy & bad habits hard.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Nik, I don’t just enjoy the juice, I‘m loving it. It tastes so heavenly that every time I take a sip I wonder how I could ever not want to prepare it.

      But this thought is fleeting…. Like right now I’m about to go to bed which is my cue to wash and slice my ingredients for tomorrow morning. It’s not a rock-solid routine yet. I’m certainly not doing it on total autopilot yet either.

      But I‘ve learned to help myself over that hurdle with Atomic Habits, and the one insight you remember from the book is certainly one of the most important ones. You’re already practicing it with your bottle of water.

      I‘ve finished the book (it was an audiobook, so way easier and faster), but I keep going back to it, especially when I waver….

      Alright, gonna do my evening routine now. I think your comment might actually have made it easier to do it. It’s always nice to be cheered on. Good night!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve enjoyed this series on building habits. I like the sound of getting to know myself better and being gentle with myself in order to build habits, of which I have a few to put into practice. 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you! It’s been quite a journey and it takes a while to cut through to noticing what’s actually happening when I do or don’t stick to my plans. I wish you all the best with your own habit goals. Getting to know yourself better and being gentle with yourself is a great way to start.

      Liked by 2 people

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