When Good Habits Turn Bad

This lesson slapped me right across the face. As I lay on the floor, exhausted, dejected, wishing I could cry but knowing it would take too much energy, I was wondering what I had done wrong. This was my third long run that had fallen short of the goal in my marathon training. This could mean I’d not be able to run the marathon! For the other two failures, I’d found excuses that kept me in the game. I’d done some pretty big hills way too fast (true); I’d waited until it was too hot; I’d not psyched myself up properly (surprisingly, this is a very valid excuse); or maybe I’d worn orange when I should’ve worn purple.

But this time, I’d done everything right. I’d completely avoided the big hills; I got on the road by 7, and it was fairly cool for my entire run; I was SO psyched that I would finish this 23 mile run; and my running outfit was perfect! Why did I continue to fail?

There I lay, wondering, “Why do I keep running out of gas around 17 miles in? Why do I keep running out of GAS around mile 17? Gas…. Fuel…. Crap! I’m eating the same single nutrition bar that I was eating when my long run was 4 miles!” Of course, a 230 calorie snack is NOT going to carry me through a 23 mile, 5 hour run, even with eating a supplementary bar during the run. How had I just kept eating this amount as I increased my mileage? What a rookie mistake! But, wait…..

This was a great habit that worked well when I was starting my training. It fueled my runs perfectly. The habit wasn’t, in itself, bad. I just failed to reassess the habit in relation to my current situation!

Which got me thinking. (Watch out, you know what that means!) What habits do I have in other areas of my life that I haven’t reassessed for years to see if they still serve me?

I started reassessing my habits, and seeing which ones still served me, and which ones I needed to change. I have some distancing habits that I developed which served me in a romantic relationship 10 years ago, but they no longer do. Let’s get rid of those!

I have some spending habits that I developed when I was the CFO of a major organization. As a retiree who dabbles in this and that, they are getting in the way of my savings goals. I need to change those until I turn these dabblings into money-generators.

A recent trip to my Naturopathic Doctor told me that my current eating habits were no longer serving me. She said I am in the very beginning stage of pre-diabetes. Well, I’ve wafted from one eating habit to another, but always seem to go back to eating lots of sugar and carbs. (Hey, this time it was a training book that TOLD me to eat a high carb diet!) So I told my doc that, after my marathon (which I am still running), I will switch permanently to a primarily low carb diet. I’ve even bought a book to read on low carb diets for athletes.

Which brought me to a habit that IS still serving me. For the last 25 years, I’ve always had some type of fitness activity that I made a habit. It’s been running several different times, but it’s also been weight-lifting, step aerobics classes, walking, and yoga, to name a few. This is a habit that DOES still serve me, so I’ll keep that one!

I encourage you to look at your habits, too, and see if they need to be changed. Are you still treating your teenage children like you did when they were 5? Are you approaching work like you did when you were a busser at Red Lobster? Are you still dressing like you did when you were 20? (Well, I actually am, and I decided I’d keep that habit. I’ll just be that funny old lady on the beach with the horribly overdone tan, wearing a bikini.)

The point is, there will be habits you need to change, habits you need to keep, and habits that some people probably think you should change, but you decide that you will keep them for now. Do an inventory, looking at the consequences of each habit, and making a conscious decision about how you live your life.

Keep those good habits from turning to bad ones, my friends!

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