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Habits: Time to Break Them

hab·it  n.
a. A recurrent, often unconscious pattern of behaviour that is acquired through frequent repetition.
b. An established disposition of the mind or character.

There were more definitions listed that referred to the clothing type of habit which do not  apply here. I began to understand the nature of a habit better as I did more digging. An unconscious pattern of behaviour which produces no results therefore is a FAT WASTE OF TIME!

Then today I got a newsletter called IN OVER YOUR HEAD by Julien Smith and he said the same thing. What particularly popped out at me, among other things, was this line:

“Get out of your usual habits and do something different or you will get nowhere.” – Julien Smith, Author of The Flinch

One thing I can relate to is that we often tackle challenges or goals with what we think is our best shot, our effort seems to fizzle out or do not work and we question why.

For example, I have been trying to lose weight for about 2 years…after gaining weight over a period of three years I had finally had enough of trying “everything” to lose it. I mean come on, I am a swimmer and was swimming close to 10 -11 km in the pool per week. That is 3 ninety minute sessions, and here I was gaining weight. Okay I do admit that swimming makes you hungrier than a vegetarian at a South African Braai (translation: BBQ), but I thought I was doing my best to curb the eating and make healthy choices.

My doctor said I should start doing weights and my reaction was “Okay, I know I should, but I just can’t fit it in with all the swimming I do.” I know it was an excuse, partly because I didn’t want it bad enough, and partly because of lack of know-how.

Through various sources including reading The Flinch I really started taking a look at doing what meant the most to me. Pursuing what really matters to me, and not flinching at the thought of discomfort but using that momentum for my gain. (You have gotta read the book already if you don’t know what I am talking about.)

So that is how I ended up signing up for a trip to Siberia. Siberia is not for the feint of heart, especially in mid winter, but I wanted to go so badly that when the invitation came to go, I could not and would not say no. Thankfully I have a supportive husband and family and friends.  Suddenly I had a reason to improve my eating, cut out coffee and lose weight. All things that would leave me better equipped to handle the harsh conditions I will be facing.

I am a swimmer, and so I have great Cardiovascular fitness, but there is not much chance of swimming in Siberia. This kind of fitness does not necessarily translate onto dry land, so I knew I had to build up my strength. Suddenly I had something I was working towards that I cared about more than my comfort. Now giving up coffee seemed a small price to pay for the adventure of a lifetime. You see, I don’t have to take my preparation so seriously, but I want to be as prepared as I can. Physically, I want to be strong and be able to face whatever challenges may come along. Mentally I want to know where my limits are and that I CAN go further, do more than I think I can. Emotionally I want to have the peace in knowing I did all that I could do within my power to prepare so that I can have the liberty to enjoy the ride.

Would I get these results from doing the same things I had always done, eating the same things I always eat? NO WAY!

So I signed up with a Body Transformation Specialist, Igor Klibanov of Fitness Solutions+ who is helping me achieve my goals by making nutritional changes, using Omega-3 fish oil and multivitamins to supplement these changes. And I am swimming one time a week and working out at the gym 4 times a week.

Let me just say that seeing a photograph of yourself from the back, in a bikini when you are overweight is not for the faint of heart either! Wake up call, indeed.

If I thought I knew how to lift weights before I was dead wrong. I know HOW to do it, I know the technique and proper form, but Igor is making me lift heavier weights than I ever have in my entire life. I am not talking slightly heavier either, I am talking a lot heavier. He says that women tend to underestimate their strength and men tend to overestimate it.

With a fitness trainer calling me to accountability, my own steel resolve to make a change, my goal crystal clear ahead of me there is no struggle, there is only hard work and results. I am not saying that all I should have done was “try a little harder”…because that is not what I mean. Trying to do the same thing, but “a little harder” does not work. It is  after all, insanity to do the same thing expecting a change. What I mean is taking a fresh look at what you want and don’t let anything stand in your way.If you are not breaking into a sweat and pushing it to the limit, you likely will not be finding your maximum strength. Trust me, it will be greater than your thought it was. Where  I would have picked a 3 lb dumbbell for a triceps exercise, Igor handed me a 10lb. AND I DID IT. Not only that, my body, the amazing thing that it is, adapted and got stronger, in a short period of time. I guess I was one of those women who underestimated my strength. I admit it. Now that I know what I can do, I love pushing the limits further.

Do whatever it takes, change your approach, if you don’t have the know-how, find someone who does. Change your habits, NOT by trying “not” to do the old habit, instead replace the old habit with the new and improved one and focus on doing that. The old habit will be history and forgotten in no time if you focus on repeating the new habit until it too becomes an unconscious pattern of behaviour.

That being said, choose your habits wisely.

Melony Teague is a Freelance Writer and Columnist who lives in Richmond Hill, Ontario. The Biographer for Portraits of Giving (2014-2016), Aurora Sports Hall of Fame (2015 -2017) and teaches seniors in her community how to write their personal story.

One Comment

  • Yogi

    .I came here from your profile on Meetup Crazy Networking.

    This is a great post. I specially related to it as I lost 45 pounds myself in just an year after changing my habits…what was that famous quote? Habits destroy freedom? .

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