Want to make a life shift? First you need an urgency detox
I had an epiphany the other day that I wanted to find a way to sustain my positive self-care habits for the long-term.
I feel my best when I move every day, prioritize cardio exercise and strength training, take a bath and stretch a couple of times a week, meditate on the train on my commute, eat fresh salads and balanced breakfasts, make sure to eat adequate protein and fat, and start getting ready for bed at 10pm every night. What do I need to be able to do this more consistently? (Because I've done all of it off and on in the past with much success.)
That is a direct quote from my journal.
In my journal, I proceeded to work out how I was going to make the change from intermittent positive habits to permanent ones. What did I need to make this change? How would I go about it? When would I start?
I came up with some answers and got very revved up to get going.
Ironically, the day before all of this I had written in my journal that I needed an "urgency detox".
I had this feeling that I had been rushing rushing rushing (figuring out the next phase of my life now that my husband just got his first job as a Rabbi in the Boston area!) and had not yet settled back down to a slower internal rhythm.
Before I had a chance to do this urgency detox, I had my epiphany and started to plan all of the ways I was going to change my life.
But everything changed over the weekend.
As planned, I took some time to slow down. I went for a leisurely walk in the woodsy park by our house, I sat on a rock and wrote a little lullaby, I avoided my phone and computer for a good half of the day, and I reflected on my hopes for the future from a place of curiosity and patience.
And I suddenly realized that all of my plans for change would sweep me right back up into urgency if I let them.
I was setting myself up for all of this self-made pressure to turn things around. Why?
This is what we do when we want to make a change. We think it has to be now and that it has to be a complete transformation.
But if we want the change to stick, and if we value focusing on the process and not just the outcome, as I try to do, then we need to pause and release this sense of urgency before we start making any change at all.
So I paused. And I made the decision to take on one little change that I thought would feel good. I would take five minutes every morning to stretch and do some core exercises. That would give me a moment every day to tune into my physical needs.
The rest can and will follow over time.
I insist on a personal transformation process that is grounded in gratitude, patience, and curiosity. Urgency doesn't have a place in my self-care.
If you have a sudden urge to change around your life - great.
Listen to that urge, it's important! But don't jump to action just yet.
Let yourself move into it slowly. Consider that not everything needs to change right now. And that if you try to change it all right now, it likely won't last.
Before you take your next steps forward, do your own version of an urgency detox.
Turn off your phone and computer for some length of time. Be in nature or go for a walk. Practice the mantra "there is time" and whisper it to yourself in the bathroom mirror. Take a few minutes to journal about your curiosity and excitement.
The change is coming - you've already set it in motion.
You can still take your time.
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