No Rules – Just Better Choices.
This is the conclusion I’ve come to recently. Do you ever fret and worry a thought or an idea for weeks on end and then one day finally come to a place where you’re ready to just lay it down and move on – or away? That’s what I’ve been doing. For a long time now I’ve been slowly working on getting healthier. Not that I’ve been ill, I’ve just been noticing a lack of energy and an increase in “ailments.” Now and then I’ve looked around and wondered what happened. It would be a lot easier to embrace my age if it weren’t always getting the better of me.
In my head, I’m still 28 and wondering when I’m ever going to be a grown up. The rest of me is telling a different story. It’s been a rough few years and I suppose like most women care of self has given way to care of others. That and I’m actually kind of lazy. Lately though I’ve been making plans. I’ve been thinking more about things that I still want to do and places I still want to go and there’s not a single thing that wouldn’t be better if I were healthier, meaning the usual loss of some weight and gain of energy.
I wish I were very, very wise and could tell you the magic formula for doing this, but I’m not. It’s true that after a certain point everything becomes a bit more difficult. Weight wants to stay. Muscles want to relax. Will power and common sense want to take a vacation and there’s a part of us that just wants to be left alone. Then, when we think it’s all becoming just a little too much, the first thing we do is make a list of everything we are going to change. Eat this. Don’t eat that. Walk 50 miles a day. RUN 50 miles a day. Join a gym. BUY a gym. Only eat celery. Never eat pizza again. You know the list. We all have one. A list of rules to Whip. Us. Into. Shape. Ho Hum.
You know what’s coming. The minute we make a rule, the first thing we do is break it. Oh dear. Failure already. Ok, next rule. Brake it. What an idiot. Next. I can’t do anything right. Next. This is too hard. Next. Where’s the chocolate? Been there, done that.
It’s not just about health, either. We do it with everything we decide needs to be changed. I know there are volumes written about the human psyche and just what it is that makes us resist change so much. Why do we get so locked in to that comfort zone? Because it’s comfortable!!! DUH!!!! That is until it’s not. We all know that change can be a really good thing. Do something different. Go someplace different. Do SOMETHING to make our lives a little better or easier or more fulfilling.
Personally, I want my morning routine to be a little calmer. I want my days to start with prayer and morning pages and a stillness that can see me through the long workday ahead. For months I couldn’t seem to make that happen. Old habits kept getting in the way. Lay in bed 10 minutes too long. Turn on the TV for the morning news then stand there mesmerized by it. Whatever it is, it’s getting in the way. The sameness of daily routine. Every time I want to change it…well, see above.
And now I’ve worried it and chewed on it long enough. What if there were no rules? What if there was no one standing over me wagging a disapproving finger. (You know her – she lives upstairs in the back, just behind your right ear.) What if it wasn’t a mistake to eat that slice of pizza or ice cream? What if it were just a choice. Today I chose fudge, tomorrow I choose celery.
I have things I want to do and it bears the question, “What’s stopping me?” Not the rules. Those kind of rules don’t mean anything. Besides, we’ve already got all the rules we need. There are ten of them, and they have served us well for thousands of years. Instead, I want to try to make the best choices I can about everything I can – and sometimes I won’t – but that’s OK, because little by little, I bet I start making the better choices more often than not.
They say it takes three weeks to develop a new habit. However long it takes, I’m going to plug away at it. If I eat that pizza, I’m going to enjoy every bite, and next time I’ll have a salad. I’ll turn the TV off and read, or go for a walk. Unless there is a show I especially want to watch. I’ll set my alarm 15 minutes earlier and that should give me time to stretch and get my eyes open, without causing a rush in the morning. No rules – no grand blueprint. Just the choices I want to make to start on the road to where I want to go. Just little things – just one at a time.
Want to come along? I think it will be a nice trip.