As a recovering perfectionist, I understand the brutal punishment and self-loathing that occurs when falling off any particular wagon. Maybe it is eating healthy, working out regularly, or keeping your home tidy, but whichever wagon the fall is from, we often beat ourselves up in an effort to avoid it happening again.
I’ve been there. About a million times. And over the years, I have learned that this scolding routine does absolutely nothing for the cause. It is with good intention, to implement a habit that brings pleasure to my life, but the action is useless.
During a lovely vacation in Colorado last month, I fell away from my morning writing practice. This vacation wasn’t the MOST relaxing due to a little too much fun with friends and family, and in order to make more room for rest, the first thing to go was writing. And that is fine, sleep is important! However, after returning home, I didn't write that week, during which I noticed increased irritability, decreased sleep, and an abundance of negative thoughts streaming in.
I asked myself, ‘WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?!’ and my sweet husband gently asked, ‘have you been writing?’
UGH. I hate it when he’s right.
I pouted and the next morning woke up early to get my writing time in. By the middle of my first page, I felt the veil of negativity lift and my normal happy-go-lucky self emerge. Seriously?! That quickly?! I was in awe.
My point (yes, I still have one) is that I had to fall out of my good habit and witness the less desirable aftermath to truly appreciate the habit. I knew I felt better with consistent writing, but being able to see all that changed without it was invaluable.
Instead of the self-abuse, the next time you fall out of a desired habit, be gentle on yourself and notice how you feel being out of the habit. What has shifted? Is it good? How did you feel before the fall?
Then, get right back in. We should be moving towards the things we want because of LOVE, not punishment or abuse. When we operate from that place, not only is real change possible, but it is way more fun.