After more than six months of tracking various health habits diligently, either to curiously explore where I am standing or to build new habits in my routine, and finding out a few things about myself in the process, I did a different experiment altogether in February. I ditched all of the healthy habit tracking altogether. Oh, sure I still did my daily, weekly and monthly check-ins, but I did not do the healthy habit tracking were I ticked off various healthy habits I wanted to keep an eye on.
Well, because it felt like it became something that I did way too automatic. I was not using it to support myself anymore, but to please my ego along the lines of the more ticks I had the better.
Let me show you by example. I have been tracking my water intake at the beginning just to make sure that it really was in the range it should be based on recommendations. I continued tracking it because it is such a basic healthy habit that I felt justified in just keeping it on my list. Yet I knew that I drink sufficiently on a daily basis. Yes, I may have the odd day when it is not enough, but overall I quickly find back into the normal routine of drinking enough!
So, what I did was keep water on my tracking list simply because it made me feel good about myself. There is nothing wrong with me making myself feel good about myself per se, but there is a subtle difference between the temporary, artificial energy I gain by pleasing my ego and the deeper, longer-term energy I gain by nourishing myself with something that is meaningful to my physical, mental and emotional body.
The temporary, artificial energy I gain is not long-lasting and leaves me feeling empty and drained afterwards. Take a few of having those little things and doing them with the wrong intention and mindset in your life and it starts adding up to become a real energy drain.
Ditching healthy habits to take an inventory
So what did ditching the healthy habits in February do to me? Well, it gave me a clean slate. Instead of being distracted by all those little things my ego was focusing on, I could focus on what my physical, mental and emotional body needed to feel nourished.
Funnily enough, I also became aware that on a few occassions, I had slipped up in the last few months in my relationship with food. The reason why I did not notice immediately at the time was because my relationship with food is overall so good now, that the slip-ups were really subtle. I went back into the mindset of treating myself with food on a few occassions and ate slightly ever so much but not a complete stuffing of my face anymore as before. Subtle… but there!
In February, I had the time and energy to re-connect with myself because I stopped focussing on what my ego made me focus on and consciously brought my attention to myself. Figuring out what I actually needed rather than what I felt I should need. What I observed were a few things:
- When you ditch your healthy habits…. life is not going off the rails! Trust yourself and your body that it already has found a balance that works for it right now, right there and it won’t let you down. You will still eat healthy, you will still get your movement in;
- My diet is healthy, varied and balanced enough so there is no need to tweak it further at this stage;
- Exercise and movement routines have become a bit of a ‘must’ and ‘should’ do recently, rather than being enjoyable;
- I am drained emotionally and mentally!
Starting from scratch with a fresh mindset
So, this month I started with a clean slate and reminded myself of a few key things that I also tell the wonderful and amazing women I work with. Like start small, take baby steps rather than setting yourself up to fail because you are too ambitious wanting to do a complete life overhaul rather than figuring out what works for you.
I have three healthy habits that I am tracking now in March. Three healthy habit that I hope will support me mentally and emotionally. Three healthy habits with no intention of making them more for the next few months.
I have a feeling that once those healthy habits become ingrained in my routine, movement and healthy eating become even more intuitive, joyful and a pleasure. Amazing how life works sometimes, isn’t it?
Main picture credit: http://www.deathtothestock.com