Humans are creatures of habit. At least, I know this human is. If I haven’t mentioned it before, I love to have a routine. I love to know what’s next. (Yes, I know I have mentioned this before. I was being facetious.) I thrive on my habits. (But somewhere in my heart, brain, soul I know that’s not all there is to life. Which is why I think God gave me an affinity for the arts… so, I would have to deviate from my well planned path to do what my heart longs for most. So, I could know how many beautiful colors there are in life instead of just the one color I would continue to choose over and over). There are so many things that just seem to be a part of me that I do without thinking. We create our habits by repetition… some good and some bad.
Over the last few years, I started evaluating myself and my life. It hit me that I was going to be… gasp, that I was an adult. I had to make choices about who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do in this one messy, beautiful life. I realized there were truths about myself that I didn’t want to be true anymore. Even more than that, I realized that it was within my control to change them. I could get rid of these bad habits that I had cultivated. I once heard that habit is overcome by habit… I just had to make a choice. So, I chose to better myself so that I could live a longer, healthier life. I made choices so that I could be the best me possible. A me that I (my harshest critic) could be proud of. I wanted to share a few of the bad habits that I broke and the new habits that replaced them…
1. My whole life I have been an avid nail biter. It was just something that I did… when I was nervous, bored, breathing… all the time. I always kind of hated it, but I just didn’t think I could do anything to stop myself. I thought it was just my quirk. Then my husband told me he thought it was disgusting. Yup. And at first I was hurt and angry with him… Then, I realized that is was disgusting. So, to spite him and to better myself I decided to stop biting my nails. I had read somewhere that it took 21 days to create a new habit… I planned to stop biting my nails for 21 days and see what happened. Well, it worked. I went 21 days. 31 days. 2 months. 6 months. And, ya know… I kind of just stopped thinking about it. Guess what? It’s been a YEAR since I was a nail biter. Now, I have beautiful, well taken care of nails. I love to get a manicure and have my nails painted fun colors. I never used to be able to do that because I would just ruin them, and when your nails look that bad who wants to draw attention to them with color too? Now, that is no longer a part of me. I love having great nails! And I love that I overcame that “disgusting” habit.
My pretty pink finger nails (In Meryl’s hand prints)!
2. Coca-Cola. If you have known me at any point since about 2nd grade… you know that me and Coca-Cola… we were an item. I became a Coke addict at such a young age that I just never really thought about how bad it was for me. I drank at least one every single day, but more often than not, I drank more than that. Family bought me Coke memorabilia as gifts. When I had a bad day, a friend would bring me a coke. People would just laugh when I would show up places and pull a Coke out of my purse. It was my thing. So great was my love affair with Coke, in high school I wrote a speech about it for debate and I won awards! I am not kidding! Well, at some point in college I realized what a vice it was for me. I had caffeine headaches and I was throwing so much money away buying Coca-Cola. I decided to give it up for 30 days and go from there. Well, I did it. Because I am stubborn. Then I just went back to drinking it. I knew at that point how terrible it was for me, but I just couldn’t let go. Honestly, I was struggling with the fact that Coke and I had been an item for over ten years. Jo and her Coca-Cola… it was part who I was. Wasn’t it? No. Coca-Cola did not and does not define me! This was probably the hardest habit I have ever broken, but I did it. I gave up drinking Coke. I never intended for it to be a thing where I never drank soda, but guess what? I don’t. I haven’t had soda in a YEAR! Let me tell you, if I can do that… you can do anything. Seriously. Now, I have a love affair with water (and coffee…) And ya know… I don’t really miss Coke at all.
Me and Coca-Cola before our break up
3. I don’t talk about this next one all that much. Don’t get me wrong, I am proud of what I accomplished, but it’s tender. I have struggled with my weight most of my life. I was never really big, but I was uncomfortable. I weighed more than a girl my height should, and I was unhappy about it. I didn’t feel good in my skin. My senior year I realized that I was about to be ejected out of my comfy college world into full on adulthood. The industry I have chosen is harsh, and I had to be honest with myself. If I ever wanted to be seen the way I wanted and cast in the roles I wanted… I had to make some serious changes. I did research about food and fitness, and realized it was within my control to do this. I was the only person who could choose, and so I did. I changed my eating habits, I worked hard, and I succeeded. It’s been a year and a half since I made these choices… in that time I have lost more than 30 pounds, countless inches, and several pants sizes. I have gained knowledge, muscle, a love of physical activity, a healthier body, and more confidence. I am in the best shape of my life, but I am not done. I made a choice and promise to myself. I am going to choose a healthy lifestyle from now on. That doesn’t mean I’ve given up chocolate or pizza… or that I work out every single day. But it means that I am trying and I am doing my best so that I can be my best. My new lifestyle is my best habit change yet.
Then and Now
Well, there you have it. Out with the bad habits… in with the new and improved. Here’s to creating habits that create a better you!