Saturday, August 25, 2012
I've been thinking a lot these last few weeks about the word HABIT, and about my own habits, good and bad. I actually looked up the word in the dictionary:
1. an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary: the habit of looking both ways before crossing the street.
2. customary practice or use: Daily bathing is an American habit.
3. a particular practice, custom, or usage: the habit of shaking hands.
4. a dominant or regular disposition or tendency; prevailing character or quality: She has a habit of looking at the bright side of things.
5. addiction, especially to narcotics.
Some habits are good, like looking both ways before crossing the street. And some are bad, like having a habit of addiction. And some are so ingrained in our minds, we don't even think of them as we do them, and it's only when we don't do them that we wonder how they became habits in the first place.
The habit in particular that I'm talking about is feeling that I DESERVE a treat, either because I've been a 'good girl', or because I've gone through some small trauma, like getting my hair cut. Not that a trip to the salon is all that traumatic, but it's a good distance from my home, and I'm usually tired and cranky on the drive back. What better way to cheer myself up than to make a stop at the local coffee shop? Same with going to the health clinic for one of those endless waiting periods, followed by some stranger poking you and looking into areas of your body that should be kept private. If I can get through that without losing my sanity, then I deserve a large iced coffee, right?
But the last time I went to the clinic, it was pouring rain all the way home, and it took all my focus just to stay on the road and avoid the other drivers. I totally forgot about treating myself, even though I had looked forward to it like seeking the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. And when I did get home, and realized I had gone past the shop without stopping, I felt bereft! Yet, really, what was there to be sad about? I'm a big girl and can make my own iced coffee, or get back into the car and drive to the nearest DD and buy one.
But I also wondered how it had gotten this bad. I've heard that it takes 21 days to break a bad habit, but how long does it take if it's not a daily habit, just a monthly one? And I want to be careful to not swing so far the other way, as food is to be enjoyed, and not perceived as the enemy.
I guess this is my long-winded way of saying that iced coffee from the shop will still be part of my repertoire, but I will make sure I really want one and am not stopping just out of habit. And I will also make sure that the calorie count fits into my daily range, not just tell myself that I can go over on calories because I 'deserve it'. I don't want the habit to continue, to become involuntary, just because I'm not paying attention.