How do you break bad habits?
Can you even remember what it was like before March of 2020?
I had a pretty set routine. I’d get up around six. Walk the dog. Make some coffee. Take a shower. Go to work. Hit the gym for an hour, hour and a half. Come home. Have dinner. Hang out with Robin a little bit; maybe watch some TV or a movie. Go to sleep. And, do it all again the next day.
Then all of a sudden…that completely changed.
No more driving into work or going to the gym. Feeling confused and scared and helpless. Worrying about everything I touched at the grocery store, or if the virus might be on a package that just got delivered. It was crazy and I’m sure many of you had the same feelings as me.
Now, if there are two things I really know about myself it’s 1) I perform best when I am locked into a routine and 2) when that routine gets upset, bad things happen. Five terrible things started to happen to me throughout all this and I found myself falling into some bad habits. And, then I had to fight to break those bad habits I’d developed.
So what were they and what happened?
1. Eating Poorly
I’m not a huge extrovert, but I do enjoy being around people. So, not being able to see family or friends, no hugs or handshakes, led me to start seeking comfort in something I associate with being together with people–eating.
Robin, I know, felt the same way. We started cooking rich ‘comfort’ meals almost daily (my favorite was Peter Clemenza’s Godfather spaghetti) to cope with this unwelcome social void. It’s okay to have a meal like that once in a while, but everyday…it’s kind of a bad thing.
2. Drinking Too Much
There was the sense of dread, uncertainty, and just plain scariness of everything. Then came being cooped up with nowhere to go, and along with that, the loss of structure to the day. So, what else to do? Why not have a drink? I don’t have to go work. It’s three o’clock in the afternoon…alright, I’ll have a Negroni. Or two. Or three. Having too many drinks became a bad pattern. Not out of any kind of dependence, really, just out of boredom.
3. Not Exercising
As I was feeling so bored (along with all the uncertainty and fear), I got to the point where I felt like I didn’t have much to look forward to. One of the things I did look forward to every day before the pandemic was going to the gym. I remember the day I was on my way into the gym and as I got to the door they were closing up after a statewide mandate.
I don’t like working out at home. I need to be in a different space and have all the equipment at my disposal. So, I generally stopped exercising for a pretty long stretch. Throw in eating and drinking more than necessary and you see where this is going.
4. Letting Messes Pile Up
Where it was going was I felt like I had lack of control over everything. In the mental space I was in, instead of trying to take control, I let it spin more out of control. That crept into areas of the house, like the studio and my closet, where I just didn’t take the time to create order. That’s another way of saying I let a whole bunch of messes pile up. Those messes added to the sense of feeling out of control.
5. Not Taking Care Of Myself
I was unmotivated. We weren’t making videos. I wasn’t really producing anything at all, which led to me, in general, not taking very good care of myself.
How Did I Turn It Around?
Basically, I just got sick of it all. The way I was living was not me. I’m a healthy eater and I drink in moderation. I love to push myself with exercise. I like a neat living and working space. And I was just hating how I felt, how I looked, and having all of my clothing feel a whole lot smaller.
This comes back, though, to me feeling I didn’t have control or a routine. So, knowing those things, I decided to finally commit to making a better and healthier routine for myself. Was it easy? Absolutely not. The thing about bad habits is they’re easy to fall into, but especially hard to break. It’s much easier to do nothing than something.
I got back to basics with eating right and I completely cut out alcohol. I got down with resistance band and bodyweight exercises and got a rowing machine. Neatening up all my spaces and keeping them that way helped to restore some normalcy.
But, this wasn’t instant gratification and immediately feeling better. It’s hard to make a switch like that. It takes time, especially in the case of exercise and changing your body.
A funny thing happens, though, when you start to see results from hard work and commitment–it kind of becomes addictive. You want to keep moving forward and improving. Once you get to that state, you know you’ve gotten into a good routine.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, you have the power and ability to take control. If I can do it, you can do it. And one thing I believe is investing time into improving your style has a very positive effect on how you feel about yourself.
Have you had to break bad habits as result of all this? How did you do it?
Thanks for reading.
He Spoke Style