Something I've noticed myself recently is how easy it is to fall out or give up on healthy habits when you don't have a routine. Habits that used to be second-nature to us before lock-down and that didn't take much conscious effort at all like walking, getting outside (at least once a day) or socialising.
With the turn of the seasons, gloomier weather and general fatigue of the ongoing lock-down life it's feeling even trickier, isn't it? Just last week I had to scratch my head to remember when was the last time I went outside, because I didn't have a reason to leave the house for a few days.
Since so many of our activities are no longer part of our regular routine or a side effect of commuting or meeting people through work, it requires a bit of discipline and awareness to look after our physical, emotional and social needs. But what it also requires is staying kind to ourselves and taking small steps to get back to the activities that support us.
When we deviate from our routines or healthy habits, it's easy to jump to self-judgement and feel the urgent need to make up for it, all at once and the quicker the better, right? That's how we often approach exercise or healthier eating or whatever the habit we want to go back to - setting up unreasonable goals and promises that become the very reason why we then break them.
As I've been contemplating this common mind trap we fall into, I've stumbled upon an excellent post by The Holistic Psychologist that paints so brilliantly just the process that can keep us stuck in this unhelpful cycle:
"Before I began my own healing journey, I had zero self trust. I didn't trust my own word or my own follow through. I had little self care, zero routine, and no clear boundaries.
I'd been conditioned to betray myself since childhood, where I watched other adults betraying themselves. This meant ignoring my own needs, attempting to please others/gain validation through them, denying parts of myself in order to gain approval.
Low self worth was the result.
When I started making small promises to myself, it was difficult. My ego wanted to make those big promises we all declare when we've had enough of ourselves. "I'll go to the gym 5 days a week for an hour!", "I'll wake up at 5:30am and meditate for 30 minutes." When we make ego based promises (meaning we skip all the necessary small steps) we always end up not being able to keep them.
Then we live in shame cycles because we've fractured our self trust on another, deeper level.
Self-esteem and self worth are the result of trusting your own word.
Create one small promise to keep for yourself. Keep it under 10 minutes. Forgive yourself when you skip, begin the next day. Keep it for 30 days. Add another promise. Build your promises, transform yourself."
I love that. Create one small promise. Keep it under 10 minutes. Forgive yourself when you skip, begin the next day. Build that trust in your own word 🧡
So let me share the promise I'm making to myself with you:
Go outside everyday, whatever the weather, even if just for 10 minutes.
Is there something you would like to get back to by making a very small promise to yourself?