I've heard that a habit can be made or broken in 30 days- or is it 28? As each new year rings in, I try to reflect and find both a good habit that I would like to begin- and a bad habit that I would like to break. I would love to say that I've looked back on the year and I have seen a list of accomplished tasks neatly checked off as the months went by, but more often than not, I find the same few items shifting month to month in my notebooks, promisingly written in bright, flashy flair pen, but with empty check boxes. Sure there were times throughout the year when I donned my yoga pants, walked for a few miles, and came home to accomplish some other pressing task that I had been avoiding, giving myself the opportunity to feel accomplished, like I had climbed the mountain....but then I reached sweeping "valleys" where all I could feel up to was the bare minimum, like washing the dishes or picking out my clothes for the next day. My valleys often times feel like endless pits of guilt and procrastination. I know I am not alone in this, but it does feel lonely when I have been spending days, weeks, or months shifting tasks from the "to do" list to the "to do later" list, and it's only myself at the bottom of the pit, no one but myself who suffers the consequences. My years end up looking like line graphs or a heart-monitor screen- some mountains climbing and some valleys stretching uncomfortably long. I look back at some of the things I feel most guilty for, like binge-watching a new show on Netflix, lying in the bathtub for over an hour with a book, or even accidently falling asleep on the couch to the soothing sounds of Judge Judy. I tell myself that these indulgent moments could have been used to prepare a lesson for the following week, to purge my closet, or to make tedious phone calls I have been avoiding. Maybe one year I really will keep up with one of my "good" habits, like going for a walk everyday, preparing for work weeks ahead of time, or even bravely attempting Hal Elrod's "Miracle Morning", instead of just accomplishing short bursts interrupted by long guilt-ridden valleys of inactivity.
OR MAYBE.... I could reframe these mountains and valleys as the natural rhythm of my life.
Maybe watching a Netflix show with a glass of wine and my husband is bringing us closer as a couple, because we always have something new to discuss. Maybe I shouldn't feel guilty about actually using my luxury bathtub that was one of the reasons we bought our house- and I earned it dammit! And maybe, just maybe falling asleep in the middle of the day means I need to listen to my body and actually let myself rest. Still dealing with the mud swamp that is Covid-living, I feel like we all need those valleys, between the mountains, because without them, the summit, when it is finally reached will only feel that much higher.