Roots of a Habit

In my past, I was often referred to as an “intense person”.

I used to adopt a single-mindedness that allowed me to accomplish a lot in whatever I was focusing on at the time. Some would call this trait “stubbornness”, while others would refer to it as “determination”. I just think it’s me being who I naturally am.

Or who I once was, at least.

I don’t know where or when it happened, but somewhere along the way, I lost it. I gave up who I am, and I don’t know where to begin getting back to where I know I should be.

As I think about it, I am slowly coming to the conclusion that determination, indeed any mindset, is not dissimilar to a muscle. If you don’t exercise it, it gets weak and flabby, unable to perform what it was meant to do with the strength and ease that it should be.

I sat around for years, happy and content to be mentally lazy, letting the world happen to me for far too long. Nothing awful happened to me, personally, thank goodness, but when I decided to make a change, to return to who I feel I once was (with the addition of years of intervening experience and wisdom), I found that these changes are more difficult to make than I anticipated.

For example, this posting is taking far longer than it should to complete. I keep getting distracted by unimportant things, and it feels like a job tonight. I am going to force myself to complete what I’m doing, though, because forming good habits takes repetition, even when one doesn’t want to do the thing. I also know how I am. If I let this night slide by without doing whatever it is I am trying to accomplish, then I may come back tomorrow, I may not. Even if I do resume writing, the next time I’m “just not feeling it”, I won’t feel so reluctant to skip it.

I’m like this in most aspects of my life. For example, if I start working on my eating habits, I am regimented and strict with myself, and that regimental attitude helps get me through the days that I just want to binge on unhealthy foods. I did this with the ketogenic diet. I was very strict with it for over 2 years, never once breaking the macro nutrient levels prescribed by the diet…and then I decided to take a “cheat day”, justifying it with the notion that “I’ve been rock solid on this for over 2 years. One night off isn’t going to hurt”. I was right back on the plan the next day and kept it up until 5 days later. I haven’t been back on it since.

Going to the gym, reading, online classes, etc. all end with the same results. Once I give into excuses, even once, the road to disappointment is laid out for me. I am not going to allow that to happen this time. I am going to prove to myself that I can do this. I have to. My faith in myself needs to have a win.

Change requires discomfort, and, though the change is infinitesimal in the grand scheme of the Universe–and the discomfort even more so, a win over myself would improve my self image by leaps and bounds.

…and by Gods, I am going to win this one.

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