Habits – friends or foes?

by | Nov 25, 2020 | Uncategorised

A sharp intake of breath… teeth sink into my bottom lip… my whole body tenses… bracing for the pain!

I’m on my favourite early morning run along an unlit country lane with an uneven surface. It’s almost as if my body is braced for a potential sprained ankle as I run in the pre-dawn twilight. The body recognises risk even if the brain won’t acknowledge it.

These days I am running on a full stomach because there’s no time for breakfast between my return and departure for work. This week, I have even moved my stretching exercises to before the run, even though, I know I will be more flexible afterwards.

Amused, a friend listens as I share this information. We often share our running experiences, but, now, hearing my own words, I begin to see how ridiculous my routine and running habits have become.

This is a small and insignificant example in many ways, but it reminds me of how entrenched routines and habits can become. Their allure is their familiarity, the lack of need to think. Change, however, requires effort and planning, and is often tinged with fear of the unknown. This had trapped me in a previous job for over a decade. Not small or insignificant!

It took me a long time to recognise that, and even longer to overcome my fear, and do something about it. Mindfulness had helped: it had shone a new light on what I had been habitually doing for years. It opened my mind to new possibilities.

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