I’m not sure if I expected that silly 21-day challenge to wake up at 6 AM or earlier to affect me in more ways than just getting myself out of bed, but it turns out it taught me a lot about my habit of giving in to indulgences.
See, I was even going to indulge and start off this paragraph with a toot of the horn to say the challenge was a success – even though I did take one day off while we were on our mini retreat. In my indulgent defense, though, I still woke up at 8 AM to make it to our massage appointment the day after a rousing adventure in a small town that started with a bottle of zinfandel and ended 4 bourbons apiece later with everyone in the karaoke bar (including the 70-year-old waitress) hugging us goodbye at 1 am.
But still, that wasn’t 21 days in a row, even though I woke up at 5:30 the 3 days after the challenge was up to make it to yoga. So do I consider the challenge conquered, even after the 8 AM vacation hiccup? I do, and only because I’ve regained a sense of control and balance. Twenty days of early rising and only one bourbon bender – and even then, up at 8 AM? Yeah, I’m taking it.
Because here’s what I learned: When it comes to my habits, my brain is a whiny 7-year-old that constantly needs coaxing, maybe even some bribes, and a strict regimen. I can often hear it clear as day: “I don’t wanna get up!” I. WANT. MORE. WINE!” “Unnnh, I don’t want to DO that!” And on and on until I’m sitting on the couch in my pajamas at 10 AM, watching The Dish on DVR and eating chocolate pie and spiked coffee for breakfast because for some reason I deserve it, dammit!
But that 21-day challenge thing was a wakeup call that I can whip that little fucker into shape and not just give in to every whim. I just have to tell it no. No, you may have one glass of wine tonight and only if you drink a glass of water first. Nobody’s died from lack of wine. Or bourbon, for that matter. No, you may not go buy a cheeseburger for lunch because you forgot to make lunch at home. Eat some of that oatmeal you have stashed away. You won’t die of hunger. Waking up at 6 AM won’t kill you. Neither will yoga. You’re a grown-ass woman, please behave like one.
And when that doesn’t work, it’ll be back to some new 21-day challenge. Maybe I should start a one-drink-only-per-night challenge…