Our lives today are obsessed with speed and instant gratification. We all want that ‘quick fix’, to take the shortcut or the ‘on-the-spot’ solution. We live in a world of crazy technology where we are available at all times and everyone expects instant feedback (I hate to admit it, but I have fallen into this trap too 😦 ). We want an instant response to resolve all problems, to remove temptations and to free us of hurt. We question constantly why it takes SO LONG to transform, to grow up and to change.
I’ve had many times in my life where I’ve known I needed to grow up, change and break a bad habit, but one sticks out like a sore thumb and it’s one that shaped who I was for many years. As a freshman at the University of Nebraska I was loving being a part of an amazing sorority where I met great women that were all in the same stage of their lives. New atmospheres, new challenges, new temptations and really, a whole new world! I loved every minute of college but I began to fall into societies standard of perfection and being skinny (something I NEVER thought I would have to deal with). I sunk into stupid habits of minimizing what I ate (never not eating, but eating no fat, low calories and only what I wanted– a control issue to be honest). I avoided social interaction unless it was our fun night life of drinking– anywhere I knew there would be food, I avoided. I had some great friends who were there for me and always tried to help me shake this stupidity I was dealing with. Looking back more than 10 years later, I realize they knew what I was dealing with– I am very habitual and had created a habit I didn’t know how to dig myself out of. Habits, as we all know, take time to form and even longer to break.
I stayed at UNL through my sophomore year and last minute, knowing I needed to be closer to my family, came back and completed my degree at Morningside. I have a very ‘OCD’, if you will, mindset and finished my degree early, in 3 1/2 years, found a great man (who I am now married to— everything seriously happens for a reason), started in on a great career, and worked through the tough road I had created. Growth and getting through the ANNOYING mindset was painful– I feel like I lost some great friends because of it and how I isolated myself. It was scary and I wanted to change, just didn’t know how to.
Within my Purpose Driven Life reading, this stuck out— “There’s no growth without change, there’s no change without fears or loss and there’s no loss without pain. Every change involves a loss of some kind. You must let go of old ways to experience new. We fear these losses, even if our old ways were self- defeating, because, like a worn out pair of shoes, they are at least comfortable and familiar.”
I knew I had to change and I had an amazing support system. I was so stuck in my mind of what I should eat,drink and do or what I shouldn’t, that it was tough to change. We identify ourselves by our defects and say “It’s just the way I am” and “If I let go of the habit, who will I be or HOW will I be?” All I have to say is thank God for my husband and for my family! They helped me realize what is truly important and they were there for me every step of the way.
What I have learned from what I briefly described of a 10 year struggle is that repetition is the mother of character and skill– both good and bad. Did I want to deal with that mind set like I did, NO! But it’s a struggle God put me through that I had to work myself out of. Do I still have an “OCD” type mindset and worry about foods I consume and exercise I get in? Of course I do (most people do), but now in a HEALTHY way! I have created good habits and healthy habits. I know my boundaries and know that being “skinny” isn’t the goal but being HEALTHY & HAPPY is. I workout because it makes me feel good and is a stress reliever (and honestly the only 60-90 minutes in the mornings where I don’t have my boys on top of me 🙂 )!
We are all in this hurry in life and get frustrated when progress seems slow– but looking back, I realize it was slow for a reason– I learned a ton in that time, both good and bad. I am slowly learning to be patient with the process and just live life to the fullest. I have a wonderful husband who supports me and our two boys and I’m grateful for him every single day (although there are days where he probably doesn’t think I feel that way! 😉 ).
So take this, if anything, from what I have blabbered– if you’re stuck in a bad habit (one like mine mentioned above or maybe just the complete opposite), and you’re using the excuses “that’s just me” or “that’s how I have always been” or “I can’t change”– think again! It’s a slow process, but we can all change a habit. Remember how far you’ve come, not just how far you have to go! Remember you aren’t where you want to be, but you’re not where you used to be.
Practice these things. Devote yourself and time to them so that others can see your progress too.
DON’T GET DISCOURAGED– God’s time table isn’t the same as ours– “These things I plan won’t happen right away, Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!”
Habits can be broken. Find your support system and realize that it will take time. Don’t give up. Do it for YOU!