When is enough…enough?
I noticed something somewhat unusual recently.
I like empty rooms and calendars.
I like the sensations of a full belly and gas tank.
This came up when I was planning a short water fast. I’ve done them before and I liked the results.
But this time, I had so much resistance and I found I wasn’t sticking to my plan.
Around the same time, I noticed a lot of anxiety during the work day when the calendar is either too full or too empty.
It’s like I have a set point of comfort in these situations.
I put my master coach hat on and started to look for patterns.
There are places in my life where I crave the sensation of “empty.” It’s spacious and calming and freeing.
There are places in my life where I avoid “empty.” It’s unusual and ominous. (I even did a podcast episode about “too quiet”!)
One of the best things that has happened in my coach journey is learning that our minds don’t need to subscribe to what we label “being logical.” My mind and body can and will have sensations that are utterly ridiculous.
I love this. And it’s usually an opportunity to learn something about how my mind works.
When I understand how my mind works, I can see the logical fallacies and work on choosing something else. Easy!
I started to become a detective of where in my life I prefer “empty” and where in my life I prefer “full.”
What does it mean when I stand in an empty room? Why does a full belly have a connection to my sense of being safe?
Why does exploring this topic even matter??
Ultimately, I saw that a lot of my habits were a quest for a sense of security.
Empty to-do list? I’m good, valuable, and productive – safe!
Empty work calendar? I’m not valuable enough – unsafe!
Full belly but having an extra serving anyway? I don’t know when it might run out, so have it now – safe!
Full calendar of after work events? I will be stressed and feel like I can’t control my time – unsafe!
Now…again…these are not necessarily logical conclusions my mind is making.
Seeing how my mind is reacting helps me understand that the fast schedule I want to adopt isn’t about saying no to breakfast. Instead, it’s about what experiences have historically created a sense of safety for myself.
And minds will fight to keep us safe according to their pre-programmed paradigms.
I didn’t have to do anything. I just noticed. Asked questions. Treated myself like the most fascinating interview subject and I was the lucky journalist to get the exclusive interview.
And I softened into the safety of the lovingly curious relationship with myself.
Most of us try to change habits through doing, doing, doing!
But what if true habit change is easier, more fun, and effortless when the primary action is listening to why we’re having the reactions we’re having in the first place.
I’m seeing “empty” and “full” as triggers for my habit reactions everywhere in my life now.
Empty vs. full around eating and drinking, working and playing, socializing and being alone.
This is great news because I see it as an indicator that maybe there’s something else going on.
What about you?
What are your habit responses to “empty” and “full” in your life and what can you learn about how this affects your habits?
P.S. I invite you to fall in love with the “Less Stress, More Fun” podcast. Subscribe today! Each week’s episodes offer smart, fun ideas to reduce stress and boost your sense of playfulness.