Tired of Invisible Scripts...
Thursday, January 10, 2013
I caught myself doing something really stupid recently, thanks to an invisible script I've somehow developed of late...
So, this is generally how my commute home has gone, for the last several months: I pack up my crap, throw on my coat, head down the stairs and out the door, hit the cool air, yawn, and think to myself "wow, I'm tired tonight". Then I spend the next 7 minutes walking to my car and debating whether or not I'm "too tired" to hit the gym. Less than half the time, I make it to the gym...more often I decide I'm too tired to workout, so I run whatever errands I can before picking John up from work and heading home. On the way home, we generally chat about how our days were and how tired we are and decide that nobody really feels like cooking dinner, and the litany of "convenience" food starts...do you want pizza? tacos? brats? should we go out? order in? do you have the energy to chop veggies, or should we scrap the hope of freggies tonight?
And it is ridiculous. It is also exactly how we ended up having pizza for dinner 13 times in December. That's practically every! other! day! WTF?!?!
So after reconciling my budget for December (and realizing that all my work pants were getting rather snug), I decided that neither my waistline nor my wallet could happily continue down this pizza- & take-away-strewn path. And I thought about WHY we ended up doing this so often. What was the common factor? I backtracked and decided it all started every night with me telling myself that I was "tired". And that starts when I walk out the door from work.
And you know the SUUUUPER crazy thing? I realized I'M NOT ACTUALLY TIRED. Most nights, I'm low energy when I leave work (hey, I just got off 9 hours of work, who wouldn't be a little zapped?!), but if I'm honest, I'm not "tired"...I don't need to sleep immediately, my muscles aren't fatigued, and my brain isn't mush. But telling myself I'm tired is almost automatic. Which is super nutso. And it sets me off down a very predictable path toward getting nothing done exercise-wise, and making awful dinner choices. It's convenient, and nobody argues with you because, well, society says you should be tired when you get done with work, right? Bollocks, I say.
So I tried an experiment the first week of January. I stopped telling myself that I'm tired as I leave work. It's hard to break the habit, and I do still catch myself doing it, but I CATCH MYSELF and redirect. Instead of saying "gee whillikers, I'm tired", I say "holy bananas, batman, I'm glad I'm leaving that behind for a bit! Time to hit the gym and recharge." or "Time to run some errands and clear off my to-do list."
Whatever I've got planned that needs doing, phrased positively. Literally, I say that to myself. Word-for-word. It's my new script. And the path it sends me down is amazingly different. For one, I 100% do whatever the task I set is. If I say I'm going to they gym, I spend the walk to my car wondering if the ellipticals will be free, or looking forward to reading my book on the treadmill. I realize it's barely been two weeks, but so far I like it!
By not starting the evening saying "I'm tired" and letting that inform my every move, my energy changes. Instead of listlessly moping through an unhealthy dinner and vegging on the couch for a couple hours before bed, I get to the gym. I COOK dinner (and they've all been healthy so far, zero pizza!). I read a book instead of stare at the TV. I spend a little time tidying my apartment. And then when I do actually start getting tired, I notice it. And go to bed. Not to say I don't watch TV, too, but instead of feeling vaguely guilty about how much TV I'm vegging through, I feel like I'm watching it because I want to, not because that's all the ambition I can muster.
It's amazing how changing one invisible script makes such a difference. I'm not saying life is perfect and all roses now (I still haven't managed to drag myself to a bodypump class in ages), but so far I'm liking it.