Content warning: diet speak, body speak
They say it takes 21 days to change a habit. And I definitely mean change a habit because you are almost always replacing one thing with something else. I’m busy replacing my old habit of eating sugar with eating more fruits and vegetables, and the habit of not exercising with going for walks.
The reason it takes 21 days is because you are creating new neural pathways. The first week is usually the most difficult, because forging the new pathway is like trudging through deep snow. It is hard work! And why would you want to cut a path through the deep snow, when there is a plowed walkway right over there?
The second week is a little easier. Now you’ve got a walkway started. It’s pretty narrow, and maybe the snowdrifts will still cover it up. The snow has continued falling and is starting to fill the old pathway, though it would still be easy to clear if you went back to it.
By the third week, the old pathway is really getting snowed in. You can still make it out, and the snow isn’t quite as packed in as the areas around it. The new pathway is definitely clearer now. Just a little more effort, and it becomes as easy to walk as the old one was when you started.
In theory, anyway. Some habits are tougher to “snow in” than others. For some habits, like sugar for example, your body and brain will pick up like you never left. I thought I had it under control, and before I knew it, sugar was ruling my life.
I’m just past the 21 day mark on the food habits, and just past 14 days on the walking habit. I had quite the interesting conversation with myself on my walk last night.
I *want* to make this change. I enjoy feeling healthier, and having more energy, and less pain. I enjoy my hands smooth and my skin clear. I would love to release some extra weight (never lose weight, because losing things is bad – psychology), not because I want to fit any beauty standards or BMI bull. Releasing weight means less inflammation and pain. It means more energy, and feeling more alive.
I feel like I’m committed to these choices in a way I haven’t been before. Now that I’ve made it two weeks hitting my step goal, I’ve increased it to keep stretching myself. It’s not much more, another 500 steps. Yet I have to work a little harder to get there. Tracking my progress also keeps me focused. The more days I achieve the goal in a row, the more motivated I am to keep up the momentum.
I’m looking forward to measuring my body and seeing the results there. It is strangely harder this time than it was last time. I want to see my progress, even though I am seeing progress in other areas.
Here’s to building, and maintaining, healthy habits.