Breaking Bad Habits

It’s become a personal tradition for me to write a blog at the end (or now the beginning) of the year.  For the last few months, I’ve been truly reflecting on a lot of things.  My personal life, my writing, my career, next steps.  I’ve found my head a lot quieter than I have in the past and I feel like I’m watching and listening more.  

So when I sat down to write my “year in review” I stared at the blank page and heard the wind blowing through my skull.  I had nothing to say.  How is that even possible?  After mulling it over the last few days I realized that it wasn’t that I didn’t have anything to say – it’s that I didn’t have anything I really wanted to say out loud.  

In a desperate attempt to even fake a topic for this blog I went to one of those “inspiration” decks and the card I pulled asked “What will your life be like in 3 years if you continue to let your bad habits stand in your way”

Shut up, deck.  You don’t know me. 

For me, 2019 truly was all about hunting down bad habits and my own personal resistance to change.  Being a full-time artist I am very aware that the only thing holding me back most of the time is me – which is why I decided to find all my own roadblocks and get rid of them one by one.

When it comes to standard everyday change I’m totally fine, and after 13 years of therapy (and counting), I’m pretty solid at dealing with sudden change that you don’t see coming.  I’ve done a LOT of work.  A lot.  Loads.  Tons.  And after all of that work the only thing that’s left is the reaaaaaallly big stuff.  Two things in particular.  

2020 is going to be a crazy year.  There is a LOT of epic change on the docket – things that I’m choosing to do, to attempt, to achieve.  Things that are already on the calendar and involve other people.  And this is the year that if I don’t nip those bad habits in the bud, they ABSOLUTELY will get in my way.  So I need to face them, and face them yesterday.  In fact, I’ve been attempting to face them for most of 2019 but never achieved any progress.

And here they are. 

Bad Habit #2 is my manic ebb and flow.

How it presents: massive virgo over-planning culminating in a series of highly productive weeks where I appear to be Wonder Woman followed by a hard crash where I hide under the bed binging Pretty Little Liars or some other such nonsense and achieving literally nothing for sometimes 2 weeks in a row.  Emails don’t get answered. Nothing gets posted. I hide from all human contact.  

Why I let myself get away with it:  Sometimes I end up finding the answer to something I was stuck on creatively.  I tell myself when I come out of it I come back even stronger.  I tell myself everyone needs downtime.  I tell myself it’s self-care. 

Why I hate it:  Sometimes I do get “unstuck” creatively – but very, very rarely.  I tell myself that when I come out of it I come back stronger than ever.  But do I?  I was all caught up on work and now I’m behind again.    Being behind gives me anxiety. I’m so behind at this point I have no option but to Wonder Woman everything  – but I caused the buildup of work in the first place.  I tell myself everyone needs downtime – and that is 100% true – but this doesn’t feel like healthy downtime.  It feels like hiding and scared and fragile and crappy.  I call it self-care, but isn’t self-care supposed to make you feel good and stronger? This feels unhealthy and counterproductive.  And those crash periods also tie into Bad Habit #1.

Bad Habit #1 is my physical self-care.

How it presents:  meal planning, exercise planning, purchasing of food prep and/or exercise equipment.  Several days, possibly even weeks of improvement followed by immediate giving up of all of those things and reverting back to unhealthy comfort food and little to no physical exercise. 

Why I let myself get away with it:  Physical comfort, mostly.  I tell myself I had a bad day so it’s okay to eat comfort food.  Exercise rarely feels good so I don’t have the desire to do it.  I don’t manage my time well and “don’t have time to exercise today”.  I shouldn’t push myself.  I shouldn’t be hard on myself.  I want to WANT to exercise.  I tell myself if I wanted to exercise I would.

Why I hate it:  I have a few extra (30ish) pounds on me and have had for over a decade.  Don’t get me wrong – I am curvy and smokin’ hot, but  I’m aware that I keep that weight there as a sort of buffer between me and the outside world.  It’s like a defense mechanism.  But it’s bad for my heart, bad for my knees, bad for my asthma.  It affects my overall energy and ability to function when I’m on tour.  I logically know I won’t want to exercise until I get into a regular routine long enough that my body actually craves it.

When I go into a crash period (see bad habit #2) I go overboard with comfort (junk) food which makes me feel more lethargic because they tend to be carb-heavy, something my personal body does not like at all.  I screw up my sleeping pattern by staying up late to watch crappy TV.  I stop exercising. I stop creating.  I allow myself to melt into the couch or bed and mentally check out.  I feel like crap.  

That’s it.  That’s the pattern that is, after all my extensive therapy and self-work I still cannot break.  And this year, with everything planned, it needs to stop.  I need the energy and the consistency to succeed.  

But how?  Everything I’ve ever tried to change those two things always ends me back in the same place.  I find myself at a loss of what to do and feel helpless to change these things and yet feel obsessed with changing them.  

So – Help!  Do you have this problem?  What did you do to change it?  Tell me your secrets!  I truly want to break this pattern so badly.  

Here’s to 2020… I hope.  🙂


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