Some say that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. A healthier habit. Others have speculated that it takes much longer. Over 254 days actually. Spend less, consume less, worry less. Trust more, love more, hope for more. It doesn’t matter whether you’re trying to do less or do more (or do the MOST), but I am in the camp that says it takes well beyond 21 days for lasting habits and true change to become real. To be more than just the motions of outward positivity, to be more than just the “no” to excessive bingeing on Girl Scout Cookies – but also “no” to excessive bingeing on Netflix, anxiety, and gossip.
There have been so many things in this last year that I have felt inundated with. Change this. Do this. Don’t do this. At the end of some days I wondered if there was anything I actually did that was okay.
Exactly 365 days later, I’m reflecting on the biggest decision and change I ever had to make.
For anyone who has ever fought against themselves and thought the worst things about themselves – this is for you. These things I’ve collected are excerpts from my actual journal because I believe that the habit I’m most proud of this year is the habit of being bold and brave with my emotions. I’m learning how to take ownership, how to rely on others with my emotions when that makes sense – and how to deal with them on my own because you just have to know how to do that.
I’m sharing this because I used to value people’s perceptions of me than my own perceptions of me. I’m not about that life. I can’t be. I don’t want to give the impression that I’ve got it all together. If anything, this year has taught me the opposite. Believe me, I’ll tell you when I’ve got it all figured out. Ha. But I’m sharing all of this to show you that finding new habits can sometimes feel like a part of you is dying. And sometimes that’s true. A really horrible part of you might be dying. A part of you that you thought was good and healthy can be realized, and the truth will always make itself known.
This is for anyone who is fighting. This is for anyone who wants to believe in change. This is for you. Know that whoever you are, I love you and there are others who care for you deeply. You’re a rockstar. Don’t ever forget it.
DAY 9 | “I am tired, unsteady, and easily emotional. I know that saying ‘this week has been the hardest’ seems silly because there are many other weeks that lie ahead and will be filled with their own terrors…the feeling of fear and danger surround me but I don’t know how to quantify them. I don’t now whether that is better or worse not to know.”
DAY 17 | “So much of me feels alone…my heart longs for resolution and a reconciliation that I know is not earthly feasible…in a very odd way I feel like God is chasing me. Every time and every moment that I feel my spirit being crushed, I feel God saying ‘I’m not going to let you forget that I am here.'”
DAY 19 | “Another day, another night. Things started out okay and didn’t really ever get sour except that things have been in that perpetual state of dishevelment, discomfort, and uncertainty. ”
DAY 31 | “This is my Father’s world/O let me ne’er forget/that though the wrong seems oft so strong/He is the ruler yet.”
DAY 39 | “Today was hard. I felt this low grade anger and sadness and irritation for most of the day. Happy Easter.”
DAY 40 | “I feel distant and detached. On the verge of emotional breakdown.”
DAY 40 | “Whoever said something about being in control over your own fate and for happiness clearly never had to make any hard decisions. The book “Best Advice I Ever Got” by Katie Couric is one I started on the plane ride back to Chattanooga and I’m glad I did but tonight as I sit in this sadness I’m trying to recall — what actually is the best advice I ever got?”
DAY 60 | “Honestly I am depressed. I don’t process it much because I feel like it would just annoy someone for me to keep saying the same things over and over again. Plus I don’t want to dwell…There are weird moments where I am very much more aware of the gravity of this an it makes me want to isolate myself. I feel like there are so many people who have offered to help or listen but I am fighting the voice that says I’m a burden. That I am doing the wrong thing.”
DAY 136 | “I don’t feel well. I’ve gained weight. I’m making weird decisions. I’m a bit of a mess. It’s not even that I want to go back, it’s that I don’t feel like I can really move forward.”
DAY 181 | “While I feel that anger is okay to feel in these circumstances, I feel the ugly emotions often take up residence in me and my body is still learning how to respond and either explore these new neighbors, these visitors – how to usher them swiftly out the door. Through this I am learning that the Lord has equipped me with a lot. I hope that down the road I can use these things to help and support others. These is an incredible need for it.”
DAY 284 | “My hope is not in the resolution of any circumstance, but in Christ who is good.”
DAY 311 | “I want to express my thanks much more this year. Being a person who acts out gratitude is a worthwhile pursuit. I do not want to be entitled or impatient with what others have done for me.”
DAY 365 | Today was nothing and everything. A year ago I made the biggest decision for myself. And one year later, it was just another day. In a weird way, it was perfect. A day of no consequence. I think that it’s okay to be sad when you miss what could have been. Sadness, to me, in an indicator that you are human and that you are real. Healing doesn’t mean that you ditch the sadness altogether. There are other indicators for that. Like seeing other people’s hurts, being able to empathize, being able to show up for others instead of being the one that everyone else is showing up for. Having the headspace and confidence that you’ll make it through full days without a breakdown. Having the headspace and confidence you’ll make it through full days without being so detached, cold to the outside world. I’m liking the world now. I feel like for a while my senses were dull – or like it was winter when everything is grey and nothing seems as alive as it does in the spring. This is my emotional spring, I guess. I am budding. And I am alive.