Have you ever wondered why habits are hard to break? Especially those habits that you don’t name as “bad” habits even though they cost you a lot of precious time?
Do you have such habits? Usually, they’re hidden and they keep you from living full-out. Let me share how changing one habit changed my life and how a long cherished dream came true. In that endeavor I also discovered that when you change a habit, you have to be ready to meet the new you.
One day in our Soul Tribe Coaching, I talked about our habits: how they’re formed without our awareness, and how they can keep us stuck without us knowing.
Each tribe member picked a habit, and I chose to change the habit of my daily food shopping. I thought that it was easy . . . but I was in for a big surprise.
Since we live in America, I drive daily to the grocery store, which takes about an hour-and-a-half of my time. You’d think I’d have lots of extra time. Not really! Imagine a household of seven people—including five teenagers, two dogs, three cats, and a litter with four cute kittens. Not only does everyone need love, care, and food, there are plenty of rides to basketball, baseball, and soccer games to entertain me in my schedule.
Why waste so much precious time on this habit? When our kids were little this habit served me, because in Holland I walked daily to the store with my kids in the stroller while we all enjoyed our time outside.
Living in America and having left the strollers on memory lane, I never realized that this habit didn’t serve me anymore. Unfortunately, habits stay for life unless you let them go. Here’s what happened when I decided to let this habit go.
Amazingly enough, as soon as I enter the grocery store my resistance comes up. Suddenly I am forced into thinking about tomorrow. What groceries do we need and what meals will we eat? Because I’d never worked with lists and planning meals ahead, this gives me an instant headache.
I never knew that to change this habit I had to change more than walking into the store and buying lots of food. I had to come prepared, and that had never crossed my mind. But more surprises were waiting.
I walk from aisle to aisle and improvise the various meals inside my head while trying to keep my calm. I leave the store with an overloaded trolley and an aura filled with bliss. I feel so organized until I come home and unload the groceries.
When I open the fridge I am horrified! There is no storage room for a week’s supply of food. When I open the cupboards, there is no space for planned-ahead pancake feasts and everything else I had in mind. My cupboards and fridge need a complete makeover to accommodate my new habit. Who had thought of that? I sit down and imagine the angels looking down from heaven and having a good laugh. There is more food in the house than there’s ever been, but no place to put it.
For a moment I wonder if I am ready to meet the new me who will eagerly enjoy the extra time to write. And then I start to fantasize about how to spend the extra time . . .
Changing a habit requires more than a decision. You have to be ready for the fact that one change ignites a string of other changes and behaviors. Are you ready to change a habit and change your life? Are you willing to remind yourself daily and reset those habits that don’t serve you?
What’s happened for me since this habit changed? I’ve been given and hour-and-a-half of extra time daily, and that’s why you’re reading this story. I’ve became a blogger!Needless to say, some days I want to run mindlessly through the store and check out at the express counter, but in those moments I remind myself that it will cost me a blog post . . . (Smile.)