Despite being at this game of health for decades, I continue to fascinate myself with my own resistance to…well, just about anything. I need help sustaining healthy change, and you probably do too.
I’ve been reading lately about the power of implementation intentions. There’s good research behind it as a strategy to help us move through our day and respond to the inevitable hitches that come up. When we get challenged, we remember what we are trying to do – “I intend to enjoy healthful eating,” and have a few if-then contingency decisions we pre-make every day.
If my husband isn’t home I’ll go to an extra yoga class. If my mom wants to come to Thanksgiving, then she’ll do the turkey.
Turns out that when set intention and we pre-make these decisions, we are more likely to carry them out.
Here are a few that may be helpful:
- If I’m hungry after work and it’s not dinner time yet, I will have an apple.
- If I don’t have time for lunch, I’ll grab a couple handfuls of nuts.
- If I’m tired, I will move anyway – but it will be gentle and enjoyable.
- If I work late and can’t get to yoga, I’ll take 10 minutes to unwind and meditate before leaving work, then another before going to bed.
- If I haven’t eaten vegetables yet today, I will double up at dinner.
I find that having three if…thens on a given day do the trick for me. If you can take a moment in the morning and visualize your day, and create three if-thens for your day that help you set an intention to be balanced. If…then.Pinterest
If I see you today, then I hope you say hi.
Last year when I went to my plant spirit teacher’s retreat in Vermont, to the land of nature – outdoor showers, sleeping in bunks, and composting toilets, she asked us: How do you honor your indigenous self?
After a couple days of crud, I felt her – my indigenous self. As I got a little grody, I definitely got more ecstatic. It felt good to lie on the ground, wash in the stream and not worry so much about how I smelled. Something inside me became quite a bit happier than I usually am in my day-to-day connected life.
The more I’m outside the better I feel. But when I work (inside) a lot, I feel myself becoming outdoor averse – a little nature fear sets in – I get goo-averse. It’s not that I’m afraid of getting hurt outside, it’s more my aversion of being slightly uncomfortable. Then I think about bugs – then I think about Lyme’s (a real concern), and poison ivy (I am +++ allergic and have been hooked up to an IV for it). That is usually enough for me to excuse myself from what I love – to be close to, connected to, in and touching nature.
AHA! Classic resistance. There she is! Talk about our indigenous self! My negative fearful resistant brain, convincing me it’s too inconvenient and the benefit (happiness) is not worth the cost (bugs or…well, dirt…the whole outside is made of that!).
A wise friend told me that when working with these things – emotion, resistance, the following 3 step process can be helpful:
Feel it. Honor it. Release it.
I add step four: Repeat.
Feeling resistance, like fear of getting outside, could be a sign – I call them indicators – that it’s time for self-examination. Time to question and lean in, and in this case, get out(side). I know that if I feel the resistance and do it anyway, most often I will be glad I pressed through, worked through and did it.
Am I the only one who gets nature-averse while loving nature? What’s your experience?