Recognizing and Breaking Patterns

I have to say I was a little bummed yesterday – after offering the ZOOMA registration, there was only one entry – and she realized she’d be out of town during the race. Today, though, we have a winner! Congratulations, Deasree! Email me and we’ll get you that free registration!

Speaking of races, the Iron Horse is coming up soon for me and Ryan. It’ll be the first half marathon we’ve run since last year, when I was just 8 weeks pregnant with little Finn. Running is something I love but struggle with – I am undeniably slow. But what is also undeniable is the benefit of focusing on something outside your comfort zone. Before committing to this race schedule, my pattern was to exclusively attend hot yoga classes, between four and six days per week.

The danger of patterns and staying inside your comfort zone, whatever your habits may be, is that it can make you less empathetic to people outside of your experience. Your pattern may be something we see as “good” — (like regularly attending the same church) or “bad” (food or alcohol addiction) or even something you know isn’t serving you but is culturally accepted nevertheless (like scrolling through your newsfeed right before bed).

Whatever it is, it will enhance your life to recognize it, remember that you’re not a robot programmed with this pattern, and break it, if only for one day.  We don’t have to continue doing something just because we’re used to doing it! You have the power to change your habits starting right now. And I know – even though it may seem small, changing can be scary. For example, I recently began leaving my phone in the living room so I’m not tempted during our 4 a.m. feeding. As silly as it sounds now, it scared me – would I nod off without the comforting glow of my screen?

Of course I didn’t. What I did do, however, was notice and appreciate more of what really matters – the curl of his little fingers around mine, his soft, barely-there hair, his intoxicating new-baby scent.

Another pattern that our family has broken recently has to do with our diet. After a few conversations with people we trusted, we decided to really put more of a focus on cooking unprocessed foods. I had my doubts on this as well (“But I love my toast in the morning!”) but we cut out bread and most dairy nevertheless, and committed to planning vegetable-based meals. I was sure I’d be hangry and lash out the first person I saw eating a bagel, but that didn’t happen. What actually happened is that I lost the remaining baby weight, and got more energy.

Tomorrow is Friday, and we’re all usually in a good mood anyway – why not start then? You could change up your exercise routine by walking a little longer than usual, going a little deeper in Warrior One, or just try resting if you work out everyday. You could adjust eating habits – ever wonder what the day would feel like if you started it with a run and a tall glass of water rather than coffee? Or what a day without dairy looks like? Remember, it’s just one day out of your whole life. Take another route to work. Wear something outside of your usual wardrobe rotation. Answer the phone with a new greeting. When standing around, rest your weight on the other leg. Do something! The point is to recognize a pattern and take a small step outside of it.

The least that could happen includes gaining a sense of control over your own destiny, and empathy for those who live their lives differently than you live yours. And the most that could happen? That’s completely up to you.

One thought on “Recognizing and Breaking Patterns

  1. I recently decided to limit my coffee to one or two days a week and focus on drinking herbal tea. It wasn’t like I needed coffee to get myself going in the morning but I really like the smell and the taste of it. But I must say I really like my morning tea and my body likes the change as well. Change even in small doses can be a good thing. 🙂

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