Recently a thought came to my mind – namely, how many benefits my work on myself brings me in everyday life. How much I’ve learned, how much I took to heart. How many things in my life have changed. How many negatives I got rid of. Why do I so rarely turn my attention to it? I focus on what is here and now, I often forget how far I’ve come, since I set my mind on health. And today is the day I share this with you. I will tell you about how much the power of habit has impacted my life and also, what it took.
Habit is a term that some of us associate with something like ‘ughhh’. It’s wrong. It’s not beneficial. It’s hard to learn. Hard to master. Hard to eradicate.
From birth, parents teach us certain habits e.g. brushing our teeth. And after a while brushing your teeth comes a habit so that it becomes something natural, although at the beginning you probably thought to yourself why do I have to do it every day, several times a day, and why do I have to use that burning mouth wash?!
Habits are all different. There is the bad and the good. These easy to learn, and these harder ones. Those that give us pleasure and those that are a real nightmare. But one thing is certain – our habits make up our everyday reality and that determines how our every day turns out to be. It’s a daily thing.
Today I will write a little about what habits I have developed and still am developing – what I learned through systematic work on myself – which ones I’ve added, which ones I’ve removed and what they all gave me. Not only healthy food and exercise, but also in matters of little things in everyday life. Let’s start! And I’ll start with the most obvious:
1. Habit of eating a healthy breakfast
You know that once I hated to eat? As a little girl, I was a terrible eater. I remember when my grandmother wanted me to eat something, she sat with me in the kitchen and told me, You have to eat, for grandmother’s health. Because grandma is sick when you do not eat. Breakfast before school: I did not eat anything or when I did I ate little. Usually a bite of a sandwich and that was it. Then these habits have changed considerably, because eating breakfast turned into eating something ‘on the go’, in other words, Karolina ate anything she caught at random, not caring too much on what was thrown into her stomach. What type of things were they? Usually donuts, or other pastries. Alternatively a chocolate bar. However I usually saved the chocolate bars for school snacks.
Seriously! It lasted until about the first year of university, roughly until the age of 18. I had a vague idea about what it means to eat filth and horrors, and what starting your day with these resulted in. As you know (or not), it has changed!
I do not know when, I do not know how, I do not know where, but – I realized that what I start my day with has an impact on how my day proceeds. The food has a much more important function than just clogging the stomach, so that it is not rumbling.
I have developed the habit of eating a healthy breakfast every morning. I do not eat any more donuts or muffins. I eliminated processed sweet breakfast cereals etc. from my diet. I learned to make my own food. Now I start each day with a breakfast, half an hour after starting work, which is still not ideal! Skipping them only when I need to, namely, when I forget to prep it before the night before or wake up 5 minutes before my train leaves the station. My breakfasts differ from phase to phase. One time I was obsessed with pancakes with peanut butter and fruit. Then came the phase of sandwiches with vegetables. Mainly avocado, tomatoes, onions and cucumber. Currently I am on stage of porridge with cocoa, bananas and different types of seeds! By having a good, well carbed-up breakfast in the morning I have an incredible amount of strength and energy. I feel completely different than when I ate a pastry.
2. Habit of getting up early
I used to be a terrible sleeper. I could sleep for as long as a human body could. Now, despite the fact that it is a requirement of my planned day, I learned to get up early even during holidays from work. As a rule, on work days my alarm clock rings every day at 7.30am (yes, I squeezed as much sleep as possible). And also this is the time I get up. I do not lie in bed staring at the ceiling thinking that if I lie there for another 10 minutes I’ll be more encouraged to do what I actually completely do not want to do. I get up and do my thing (during weekdays, weekends are still a little more relaxed so I allow myself that extra 10 minutes after 9am!).
3. Habit of systematic exercise
Indeed, it is such an obvious habit, but I could not miss it, because once it was a pure abstraction. Yes, I used to have a lot more time for myself, than I have now, but I preferred to lie with my laptop on my stomach and watch videos on YouTube, than to get up, put on some sports gear and get healthily tired. Damn, the thought of it wouldn’t even cross my mind!
Now I get home on average around 6.30pm every day. I try to exercise at least three times a week. Even sometimes I return tired as hell, but I jump into my gym clothes and it turns out that my body was waiting for it all day, and stored a lot of energy! I love how the endorphins hit the head. I love the feeling when it seems to me that I can’t do much today, but as a result I give twice us much. It’s the best habit that I could have developed myself. Now it is no longer a habit, but just a part of my life.
4. A habit of not buying what I don’t need
Yes, once bumping into grocery shopping, the first shelf to which I flew was a shelf with pastries and fizzy drinks. And the reason power has gone, and sugar took the lead. I was able to load the cart with such random things… Well, it was just ‘so good’, so it didn’t matter that it was fattening and unhealthy. ‘You only live once’. That’s right – you only live once, we’ve only got one health, so we need to take care of it as best as we can!
My shopping now looks completely different. I don’t usually buy any more sweets because I don’t crave any. For things like chocolate I allow myself to buy some for larger occasions (e.g. exam time, lol!). But the most important thing – I take time deciding on what I buy! Because even if we think that the things we buy are healthy, in fact may be the complete opposite – READ LABELS! It’s not embarrassing, it’s a necessity. And this habit controls spontaneous decisions such as uuhhh I had such a hard day, I deserve this pack of biscuits! Sure, from time to time. Not everyday!
5. Healthy snacking
Something with which I had a problem, but slowly mastered it (although sometimes I catch myself at that). You snack here and there, and you don’t even notice how much you’ve nibbled, because snacking does ‘not count’. What matters is, our body knows this. While snacking on healthy things, the types of fruit and vegetables is okay, snacking on chips, cookies, chocolates, okay, definitely not. Long it took before I started to master this habit. But it comes to me is is actually pretty good. If you’re a snacker like me, don’t ever buy snacks that are unhealthy or you will find yourself having no control. Pick up a few goodies from a health store such as a 100% raw bar or a pack of nuts instead.
6. Habit of resting and regeneration
I learned that rest and regeneration, is a part of the success. The way you rest, and the way you sleep, affects how you will feel the next day. Well, obviously. This is a very healthy habit, which I particularly took to heart when my health started playing up. I really care about it every day. For myself, my inner peace and well-being.
7. The habit of reading
I started loving to read when I reached out for ‘The Children Of Noisy Village’ when I was about seven years old – before that book all of the others sucked. I had a phase of ‘reading all day every day (and night)’, and then rebuked to ‘long, long time of nothing happening’. Now I read regularly and I love it. I do not imagine the end of the day, not have read through at least a few pages of the book. I can not imagine not having a book in reserve. Expeditions to Easons and surfing through Amazon are truly blissful moments for me, and sometimes I feel that the time stops when I’m there. I appreciate the moments devoted to reading like never before. A day ends completely different with a book in hand rather than without it. I like to just fall asleep holding it (lol!). I mainly read self growth books and advice books (some of which are novels). I like to rummage on the Internet and read various reviews before I buy a book, and sometimes totally spontaneously make a decision. And most importantly, as much as I love Audible, there’s nothing better than a ‘nice-smelling’ paper book in hands.
8. A habit of not leaving everything until last minute
I used to be a master at this. Seriously, I left almost everything to the last minute – whether it’s education, cleaning, or other obligations. I think I got over that. Even when I really do not want to do something, then I do it, because I know that I’ll be grateful the next day. I make my meals in advance for the next day. I prepare my clothes to work. I wash my hair before going to sleep. At work I never leave anything to be done or checked at the last minute (or so I try!). I always have to have a written list of what I have to do. I have to have everything confirmed and sent. And then I can sleep peacefully. And it is my job that has taught me that habit. For this I am so grateful!
9. A habit of enjoying the little things
I think this habit benefits me the most. Life is hard every day. I can not write here, that I’m happy to the full capacity. That I jump of joy everyday. That I do not cry, do not grieve, I do not dwell on things. Because, unfortunately, it is not like that, but I’m happy with how I choose to enjoy a walk after work. I’m glad when my friend tells me that it’s so nice to hear from me again. I am happy as I can lie down on Sunday for the whole day in bed and read. I am happy to buy a perfume. I’m glad to cook something good. I’m glad to train properly (always!). I’m glad my dog brings me a dirty sock to welcome me home, which they took from the laundry. I am pleased with such things, because in essence it is them that lie as the meaning of life. As a song says – Let’s enjoy the little things, because the formula for happiness is saved in them.
10. Habit of jumping into the deep water
The habit of risking and going beyond your comfort zone. Once I was afraid to lean my nose outside the safe zone. Now I’m rarely afraid. And if I’m afraid I’ll still stick my nose beyond it, expanding my border of security. Whether in life, whether it be training or career. When you want more, you can do more.
In June of 2016 I have posted on my Facebook account that I got the job I wanted at the office. And I remember how I told myself that I certainly won’t be able to get a placement in Belfast or that I will not handle it. Now looking back, I think it’s ridiculous. Because I coped and am still coping. I’m still coping, even though life is not easy, and it is even more difficult than it was a year ago. However, such a jump into the deep end, allows us to learn to float on the surface in these difficult conditions, even if along the way we encountered terribly adverse currents.
Whew – it’s probably enough for today, but as usual I firmly extended my talking. I would like to talk to you in real life – it would be such great fun and a challenge for me!
I am very curious to see what habits you were able to put into practice? Have you quit smoking? Have you started to practice, run, jump, dance? Show it off and let me know!