Finding Joy in New Habits

This year, I’m trying to make good habits… But it’s not enough for me to simply make new habits — I want to actually enjoy life. I want to enjoy the things I’m doing. I want to be happy, I want to enjoy the process, and I’m convinced that I can be happy by doing things that are good for me.

I've got to learn to love life the way a two-year-old can.

Enjoying the process has been an interesting aspect to my New Year’s resolution. This has actually been an essential part of the resolution, and has also helped me to stay motivated to change my habits….but it can be hard.

It seems like with each of the changes I’ve made so far, I’ve had to really make an effort to be positive. It’s like I originally wanted the positive outcome of such a change without doing the hard work. But that isn’t possible. I must do hard work to reap good results. For example, if I’m looking to be able to do a pull-up, then there’s a lot of hard work involved! I will have to lose weight, train my muscles, and eat better – just to do a single pull-up. And in the middle of all of these things I must do, I have to overcome the desire to keep going down the pull-up-less path that I’ve been on – full of bad habits and instant gratification.

So…I’m learning to train my mind.

When I’m eating salad for lunch, or fruit for breakfast – and I think that I want something easy like a hoagie or a donut, I take time to enjoy my meal. My fresh meal. My healthy meal. The meal that will make me feel happier while I’m eating it, without a single bit of remorse later. I take time to eat my favorite salads. Instead of getting iceberg lettuce and some ranch dressing, I make a mediterranean salad – with pepperocinis, cucumbers, kalamata olives, shaved parmesan cheese, chicken breast, and tomatoes. (sounds good, huh?)…Or a fruity/green salad – with strawberries, mango, avocado, cucumbers, green onions, chicken breast, and poppy-seed dressing (totally amazing!). Then, I sit down and eat a huge salad, and feel a double whammy of happiness- my body is happy because I’m providing it with the food it actually needs to maintain good health. And my conscience is happy because I’m not eating something that is bad for me, and then leaving lunch riddled with guilt and regret.

There are other habits I’m working on changing, too.

Right now, I’m working on prayer. I’ve been horrible at prayer lately. So, for this three weeks (starting last Tuesday), I’ve been making a real point to pray morning and night – in my closet for privacy. Sometimes it is hard to remember. I’m tired. I’ve got kids crying for me. Whatever. But I’m getting better. And in the meantime, I’m training my mind to love this good habit. Even when it is hard to give up an old, comfortable bad habit, I know that the supposed comfort I feel from the way I’ve been doing things is a lie. These bad habits are what contributes to depression and guilt I feel – because I’m not doing what I know I should be. So…I get out of bed, and say a prayer, and feel happier for it. Amazingly enough, the happiness effects of prayer are almost instant. Even if you don’t believe in prayer, you should try it. I’m sure you’ll like it.

So – finding joy in the journey now is an important part of change. What do you do to find joy in the changes you’re making in life – even when they are difficult?

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5 Comments

  1. I totally agree ; positive lifestyles aren’t just going to come to you – the effort needs to be made ! Great post and I look forward to sharing more 🙂

    Reply
  2. Lisa S

     /  February 27, 2012

    Thank you!!! A most awesome post. This is just what I needed today. I just finished a successful week of tracking my food. When I weighed myself yesterday I had only lost a pound and a half. I thought I was on track to lose more. But then I realized that this was a great success for me because my previous habit, of not tracking my food brought me no results. So I am still motivated, and have a positive attitude.

    Reply
  3. Yay for Catania! I’m cheering for you, girl!

    Reply
  4. Training the brain is probably the hardest part, but it sounds like you’re doing a great job! Self-talk is probably the best way to get your brain to think something different than what it currently thinks. That’s what I do (a lot of self-talk – which sounds crazy, but I promise I’m not just talking to myself like a crazy person! OKay, well, sometimes I do that, too…)

    Good luck on your pull-up! My hubby is a soldier, and I am always jealous of how fit he is. But I’m working on my push-ups right now. Maybe I should work on the pull up next….

    Reply

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