Making a successful change often starts with accepting all that you are and do – just as you are and just as it is – right now.
Thinking things like: I’ll feel better, or everything in my world would just be so much better, if I could just – get up earlier, go to bed earlier, meditate, exercise more, be fitter, read more, focus more, eat better, reduce my sugar intake, stop eating gluten, and on and on – have been so common throughout my life. Can you relate?
I’d try new routines, thinking they’d be a magic solution. Changes would sometimes stick – for awhile. But unless/until I discovered a benefit for the new routine that outweighed any challenges associated with keeping it going, I’d often fall back into my old routine. Then, I’d end up being hard on myself for my perceived failing.
(Related note: a great book on habits is the Power Of Habit by Charles Duhigg).
What I couldn’t seem to accept was that what I tried just wasn’t for me at that time. It doesn’t really matter why. It might not have been the right time for me to implement that particular change. Maybe it will be the right time later on. Or maybe it will never work for me. But there’s no judgment necessary. It just is.
It’s wasn’t helpful to remind myself over and over how I failed at sticking to my goal. And yet I did that very thing, many times.
There was a TV show in the early 2000s called What Not To Wear (bear with me, it does relate ), and on this show I remember hearing the message: Dress for the body you have now, not the body you plan to have (after losing or gaining a few pounds, reaching your ideal weight/size, etc.).
It made so much sense to me: accepting your body where it’s at presently and dressing for your current size will help you feel more comfortable and confident, and in a state where you are more apt to take action. Ill-fitting clothes are a constant reminder of how far you are from your goals, and can make you feel uncomfortable and decrease your confidence.
So, coming back around to new habits and magical solutions…
What if: … you embrace where you’re at right now, what you’re doing, all your good and bad habits and practices, just as they are?
What if: … instead of being hard on yourself if you don’t follow through with a new routine or habit, you just accept that you tried, without judging or berating yourself?
I’m not saying that all activities and habits are healthy, nor is this a carte blanche to just continue unhealthy habits.
I am suggesting that if you can accept where you’re at without self-criticism, it will help you feel better, lighter, and happier right off the bat – and everything is just easier when you feel this way.