Resetting broken habits

The world hasn’t seen a situation like the one we are in for generations.   The internet is alive with fear, conspiracy, judgement and anger about this virus.  Through all that negativity shines examples of love, dedication and compassion so it is not all bad.  I am fortunate to live in New Zealand, where we truly have a democracy lead by people that care about this country and its citizens.

Broken habit

That’s it for the Covid19 talk.  I want to focus on how I see this situation, how it and some other factors have impacted me in the past few months.  As the situation escalated I found myself in another situation at work that meant I was travelling more than usual and had increased responsibility.  This had two results, firstly it broke my daily rituals of yoga, gratitude and meditation, secondly, I found myself "feeling" the stress again.  The age-old warning signs kicked in, my jaw ached from clenching it, my alcohol consumption went through the roof, I found myself turning up to situations poorly - being short with people, judging people.  Sorry, I erred.

Until a week or two ago I had my go-to coping mechanisms of jits and wrestling to fall back on.  Obviously, they had to go because of the virus.  Now I know as I write this there are people that are far less fortunate than I.  What do I have to be stressed about?  What indeed?  I am an extremely fortunate individual where life's lottery is concerned and I am thankful for it every day.  I have meditated on what is causing me to stress a few times and have drawn two conclusions.  Firstly, I am a passionate caring person who takes pride in their work, I own my shit.  When shit goes sideways I try to fix it.  Secondly, I had nothing to be stressed about, my reaction to these work situations in the past was to be stressed.  This stress is born out of fear, fear of failure, fear of being held accountable and fired, fear of upsetting people, fear of not being able to provide for my family, fear of being judged, fear of being laughed at.  I realised looking at my list that I couldn’t control any of these outcomes, why was I afraid of these things?  I am not afraid of these things, I thought I had mastered these fears a long time ago

I realised I needed to hit the reset button.  The problem I find with my habits once they are broken, it is hard for me to get back into the groove of the ritual.  My negative behaviours are easier to do, easier to succumb to.  For example, it is easier to drink wine than do a cardio workout, it is easier to sleep in an extra hour than get up and do yoga, it is easier to zone out playing video games than learn a new skill.  For over a week now I have been hitting reset, slowly building up day by day, taking little bites at the negativity.  I am pleased to say that today is the first day that I achieved my daily ritual again.  I am back at the line.  

I heard this phrase on my favourite podcast, Liberation Mentor.  Here is a link to the episode.  Towards the end, the interviewee Brad Waldron talks about the lowest point in his life.  He says that he "needed to get back to the line" the way he describes the line is that "it is a neutral space where I can see it, own it, solve it, do it"   I first heard this when I was in a deep dark pit of depression.  It was this and other podcasts that host Nicolas Gregoriades put out there that helped me get onto the path I am on now.  I'll point out that I am not depressed or anyway near the place I was in back then, I am in a good place but I recognised that I needed to "get back to the line"

What did I do to get back to the line?

  1. I stopped and took a look in the mirror.  I asked myself what was broken?, what was I feeling? 
  2. I took a positive step.  I wrote my goals for the day on my blackboard wall.  I kept the list short and focused on my daily habits
  3. The first step was doing half an hour of yoga.  The second step was meditating.
  4. When I meditated, I focused on the feelings of stress, what was at the root of it?
  5. I incremented my goals until I got back to today

There were a few days where I took two steps forward and one step back.  Yesterday I did my yoga routine, meditated, wrote my gratitude journal and weeded my vegetable garden (two steps forward) I should have done a mobility and strength workout, I couldn’t get into the groove.  I lifted a bit, did some single leg exercises but just wasn’t feeling the vibe.  I quit (one step back).   The thoughts about wine to take the edge off crept back in.  I didn’t cave in, I lay down and meditated for half an hour.  This allowed me to see that the stress I was feeling was again the way I was turning up to situations. 

Moving above the line

Now I am back on track, I feel centred again.  My calm has returned.  It is amazing how this one simple ritual at the start of the day influences how I turn up to the day.  The days I don’t do it always seem a bit or a lot stressy, less calm, more rushed.  Not doing it over time definitely has a cumulative effect on me. 

What now though?  I am in isolation, as the majority of people across the world.  Putting the disease aside, I see it as a massive opportunity.  I don’t have to commute three hours a day to work.  I don’t have to travel across New Zealand to customer sites (which I don’t mind that much).  I am off the mats, I can focus on getting my flexibility back and healing my back injury.  

I have three hours extra freedom a day to spend with my family, to learn new skills, to enjoy life, to keep my fitness levels up, to correct negative habits, to evolve.  I will not let this opportunity pass me by and I hope you don’t either.  Peace and love.  Andy


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