Friday, December 25, 2009

The Power of Habits

In the last week of December each year, I find myself thinking about what I may want to do different with my life in the coming year. Last year at this time, I decided I wanted to get my weight under control. On January 1st, I began a program of mindful eating and increased my amount of exercise. By changing some habits I had gradually developed over the past 20 years, I lost 30 pounds.

At first, the change in my habits seemed challenging, but I didn't give up. I persisted with making mindful choices about eating, counted my calories and gradually increased my amount of cardio minutes weekly. Before long, the habits that were challenging at first became the norm. I was rewarded with feeling not only great physically, but also more empowered.

It was a great lesson for me, not only about how to live a healthier lifestyle, but also in the power of habits.

So, as I draw on my experience of learning how powerful habits can be, I am now looking at what I want to change in the coming year. One habit has come to mind so far, but it doesn't pertain to my physical health. It is more about me growing up.

You see, I have a habit of asking for help before I even try to do something on my own, or, at best, after a weak effort. My very sweet and caring husband likes to know I need him and is always willing to step in. My business partner, David, also kindly comes to my aid. In addition, I have several friends that are extremely helpful in various areas of need.

What I realized today is that my quickness in asking for help is simply a habit. I have developed a belief that I am mechanically, technologically, directionally and mathematically challenged. Holding on to that belief as if it was true, I realize I have cut myself short. I have sold out on my own inner power. This habitual belief is not healthy.

Please understand, I am not saying that asking for help is wrong. On the contrary, I believe it is imperative to know when you honestly need help and to seek assistance from someone that can lend a hand when needed. What I'm getting "real" about in my behavior is that I want to be honest whether I truly need help, or just want it.

If I practice this level of awareness on a regular basis, it seems my old beliefs regarding my perceived shortcomings may change. Perhaps I may even develop some new skills in areas that I haven't believed to be possible. I imagine I will feel pretty good, even with simply trying.....maybe even powerful.

I just hope it isn't harder than giving up daily lattes.

1 comment:

LoriElsa said...

Sometimes the ability to take weight off can be an inherited trait.