While running with a friend on Sunday, we got to talking about the inner dialogues we’d had lately. Do you have conversations with yourself, weighing whether or not to do something? It could all be in your head, or if you’re by yourself, maybe you talk to yourself out loud or under your breath. Sometimes it might be encouragement such as “You’ve got this!” or “You’re gonna do great!” During long trail races, I definitely talk to myself out loud…and I make up songs. Ha!
One of my inner dialogues had been the week before while my husband and I were traveling to Vegas for a short trip to see friends. While some recent travel and other schedule disruptions have derailed some of my daily tasks, I’ve still been sticking to the eating healthy/not drinking part of the plan. After visits to Atlanta, Wisconsin, and then Vegas, I was feeling limited by my health challenge when I’m supposed to be on vacation (aka the time healthy habits typically take some time off too). The prospect of ordering a cobb salad and not getting to order French fries or a giant fried chicken sandwich made me feel surprisingly sad.
Leo Babauta would have been proud of me. I paused and noticed what I was feeling. I sat with the feeling, stayed with the yucky emotions, and thought through how comforting myself with a giant fried chicken sandwich was not what I really wanted. I was gentle with myself about almost cheating and thought about how well I’ve done with my eating goals. And I recognized that being hungry, a lack of sleep from the night before (from staying up to finish this blog), and a long day of travel hadn’t helped how I was feeling. (Hmm…it seems like there’s an acronym for this.)
By this point, my cobb salad and ice tea had come out and they were delicious. I felt much better…and I may have stolen one of the burnt crunchies from my husband’s fries. Even when life is going great overall, you may be working through some hairy thoughts and feelings and even though this may show up as a fry craving, there’s usually something else to unpack too. It’s important to pay attention, notice, and be kind to yourself when you experience negative emotions like these.
Turning Off the TV
Our running conversation also included the idea of inner dialogues around the question, “Who do you want to be as a person?”
What type of person do you want to be? What are your goals and what can you do to meet them? Are there things/beliefs/habits/people getting in the way of your goals?
In the past when my husband and I wanted to adopt healthier habits or both had a lot of extra work to get done for something, we would put the TV back in its box and store it in the closet. We would get through the sprint and once our work was done, we’d set it back up. When we moved to Decorah, we debated whether to sell our TV. Ultimately we decided to move it since it worked fine but we agreed that it would go in the basement so our living room upstairs could be focused on conversation and reading.
We had long ago stopped eating in front of the TV but we would typically watch an episode or two together sometime between dinner and bedtime. And of course Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBOMax, Disney+, Apple+, and company have entertaining shows. And I get that for many people, after a long day of work and running kids around, it is an easy activity to veg out and watch some shows.
For me, TV binging was the biggest habit getting in the way of my goals and it was often coupled with two other non-helpful habits, drinking and late night snacking. Since the beginning of January, I’ve watched a movie or two and a couple episodes of one show. By cutting out TV, I’ve had time for things like weekly mentoring chats, this blog, online trainings, and volunteering for Girls on the Run. I’ve read more nonfiction books…on the couch with my cat, a blanket, and a cup of tea. (Lovely!) I’ve gone on more walks. My running and swimming already fit around my TV watching, but thanks to the residual changes from not drinking or late night snacking, my swimming has improved and I may set a PR in my half marathon this weekend.
I want to read Atomic Habits by James Clear. I appreciated his ideas in Part 1 and Part 2 on Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead podcast. There are two quotes from Part 1 that I want to share with you related to today’s topics. James pointed out,
The difference between eating a burger and fries for lunch or eating a salad on any given day is pretty insignificant, your body looks the same in the mirror at the end of the night, the scale hasn’t really changed, it’s only two or five or 10 years later that you’re like, ‘Oh, those daily choices really do add up.’ It’s kind of like you go through your daily routine and then three years later, it’s like, ‘Knock, knock, who’s there?’ ‘Oh, the consequences of my past decisions’….that pattern of what starts out small and seems relatively insignificant, grows and accumulates into something bigger….it’s a double-edged sword, your habits can either build you up or cut you down, and I think that’s a strong reason, a good argument for why you want to understand what they are and how they work and how to design them, so that you can be the architect of your habits and not the victim of them.James Clear, Part 1 on Dare to Lead podcast with Brené Brown
Sacrifices for Success
The second quote from James Clear will probably be revisited in future posts once I have read the book. I love this idea and it certainly makes it into my inner dialogues:
Every action we take is like a vote for the type of person we wish to become. Your habits are how you embody a particular identity. So every day that you make your bed, you embody the identity of someone who is clean and organized. Every day that you send an attagirl to somebody on your team, you embody the identity of someone who is a caring leader. Every day that you go to the gym, even if it’s just for five minutes, you embody the identity of someone who doesn’t miss workouts. So in this way, our behaviors are like they’re casting votes for the story that we’re telling ourselves, and I think ultimately, at the deepest level, this is the real reason that habits matter.James Clear, Part 1 on Dare to Lead podcast with Brené Brown
As I brainstorm ideas for each week’s post, I skim through my items in Evernote because I’ve been using it for 10 years of curation. I saw this article, “13 Things You Need to Give Up if You Want to be Successful,” saved from 2016 and I had to share it. The author, Zdravko Cvijetic, put together an excellent list. I was proud to notice that he tied in quotes and details that I also thought of as I was reading some of the items. I highly recommend you read the entire article. Here’s his list as a preview:
- Give Up On The Unhealthy Lifestyle
- Give Up The Short-term Mindset
- Give Up On Playing Small
- Give Up Your Excuses
- Give Up The Fixed Mindset
- Give Up Believing In The “Magic Bullet.”
- Give Up Your Perfectionism
- Give Up Multi-tasking
- Give Up Your Need to Control Everything
- Give Up On Saying YES To Things That Don’t Support Your Goals
- Give Up The Toxic People
- Give Up Your Need To Be Liked
- Give Up Your Dependency on Social Media & Television
Thank you for reading this week’s post. If you made it this far, through all the feels, habits and sacrifices then check out this video to reward yourself with a little humor. Happy Wednesday! Don’t forget to subscribe to this newsletter if you haven’t already and pass it on to anyone you think might enjoy it!