On various occasions throughout my life I have set out to: ‘fit into that dress’; ‘get fitter’; ‘get healthier’; ‘lose weight’ etc. The evidence up to this point in my life is that I have great intentions but old patterns and habits die hard, and after a number of weeks and in some cases over a period of months the less healthy choices get selected again.
And so this morning when I awoke to the sun streaming in the window I found myself hovering, would I surf the net, read a book, or get up and do a 5km walk. There was no one there to hold me accountable except that inner voice in my head. Well for once, the healthy option won out and off I went at a steady pace for a walk.
For company, there were 5 cars that passed by, 2 horses in a field, one man coming back from sorting his animals; a gentle breeze and endless birdsong. I took no technology with me so I was free to just enjoy the world as it presented itself to me. Nature and endorphins worked their magic and by the time that I returned home about an hour later I really felt good – so much so that I continued with a healthy breakfast.
Now as I completed my walk and my mind wandered from one thought to the next I wondered why I had even questioned whether or not to come out walking. It struck me that for years I have somehow excused my less than healthy actions (okay so I mean my love of sugar, chocolate and anything sweet and a preference for curling up with a book rather than taking exercise) as being somehow excused because of the power of old habits and patterns.
The clarity that came as I was walking is that in reality it is that it is all about making my choices more conscious, of being aware of the decisions that I am making about my health, sense of well-being, food intake and exercise. You see the old patterns occur when I am operating on ‘auto-pilot’.
And so my challenge to you this week is to consider actions that you engage in on a daily basis that you do on auto-pilot. Are these actions serving you well? If they are, happy days. If not, what steps can you take this week to get out of auto-pilot? How can you bring your attention back to the choices that you are making in the actions that you are taking? Be more aware of those choices and ask yourself is this actually the choice I want to make?