We all have triggers. At least I hope so because otherwise this post will reveal a whole lot of my imperfection.
Triggers cause us to do habits unconsciously.
Some triggers are good. When I am working out ---> I always have to have a bottle of water. Which is great - because it keeps me energized, hydrated, and functioning properly.
But some triggers aren't good.
Some triggers cause you to habitually do something that - if you really thought about it - you may decide you should delay or even not do it at all.
For me, my bad triggers are:
- When I sit down to feed Will ---> I need an iPhone/laptop/TV to "keep me entertained"
- When I'm driving in the car ---> I need a coffee (more often a cafe mocha) to drink
- When I am awake --> I need to have the TV on and/or music playing
- When the kids go to bed ---> I need to sit and watch TV until it's time for me to go to sleep
And those are just a few.
But what is the big deal? Some thing just go together well. None of these are really harmful or unethical, right?
The biggest issues I have with these triggers are:
1) They prevent me from being present. I'm not deciding what's happening in my day, it just.. happens.
2) They prevent me from doing other things. Wouldn't I rather sit down to nurse Will and just enjoy the moment to rest, to bond with him, pray for him, or even have Evelyn sit down near me and read a story?
Wouldn't I rather save $5 (and 200 calories) every time I drive around by just grabbing a cup of coffee (or even better - water or a smoothie) from home?
Wouldn't I rather appreciate the noise that my kids make (or don't make) while they are playing and the silence that is offered when the rest of the house is asleep?
This is a big one for me. If I am going to live intentionally, I need to recognize these 'triggers', find out why they became habits, and eliminate them. And it's not easy. These things became habits for an obvious reason - I enjoy them. But I know for a fact that when I intentionally think about it, they aren't what I want to do.
Take control of your actions. Be intentional about what you are doing.
Because you know what's scary?
Even kids have triggers. At least my Evelyn does.
- Everyday, when she wakes up ---> she climbs into her chair to watch TV
- When she sits at the counter for breakfast ---> she asks for junky cereal.
- When we get in the car ---> she needs to watch a movie.
- When we go through the drive thru for my coffee ---> she needs a water and a cookie
It is really hard for me, as her mom, to admit I've allowed her to develop these bad habits. It's because of me. She's two. And I've allowed her to become dependent on unhealthy habits because they were a part of my routine..
I want her to wake up bursting with creativity and energetic to build a tower with duplos... not rolling out of bed and burning zero energy watching repeat episodes on Disney.
I want her to ask for eggs and oatmeal and fruit for breakfast... not eat junky, processed cereal because it's "easier" for me.
I want her to ride in the car singing with me and looking outside at the world wondering about other cars and the trees, where we're going, and reading books.. not be zoned in unconsciously to Charlotte's Web for the umpteenth time.
I don't want my bad habits to cause triggers for her bad habits.
And it's even harder because for her, I can't explain why things are different. I know. I can tell myself "this isn't what you want". She doesn't understand that.
What has worked so far, for both of us, is changing the environment.
- Moving her chair away from the TV, over to a bookshelf
- Closing the car's TV screen, opening the sunroof, and hiding books in her carseat
- No more drive thru coffee or other treats
- No more laptop or phone near me when I'm nursing
- Eating breakfast at the table, instead of the counter
I can't change what's been done. There's no point in dwelling on it. I can only commit to changing what I do now.
Recognizing what my triggers are, committing to change them - wholeheartedly committing because it will take time and it will take discipline.
What triggers do you have (good or bad)? Do you have any you need to change?
This is Day 11 of 31. Click here to see the entire series.
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"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."