On Starting Over

Coming back to a broken habit is typically considered in a bad light. You quit biting your nails or twirling your hair, and curse yourself for mindlessly slipping right back into it. Maybe you hadn’t changed the habit yet, after all.

Old habits die hard. What about new ones?

When I quit smoking the first time, it didn’t stick. After six months of zero cigarettes, I went back to it. It’s not as though I thought I was just having one, but I didn’t quite think beyond that very day. I figured I wouldn’t want them again in the morning or the day after that. Another six months went by before I realized: Oops…I’m a smoker again. I had to quit. All over again.

And you know what? I did it. And it sucked, all over again. But, last month marked eight years of a smoke-free Katie. I’ve now been a non smoker for the same number of years that the habit dragged me around.

Phew.

So picking up new habits like daily meditation should be easy for my addictive personality, right? What a shame it is that such a rule only applies to the damaging stuff. The bad habits.

Otherwise, after 120 practice sessions, I’d be a meditation guru. (Trust, it took a couple/few multiples of 120 days to reach as many sessions.) Too bad I broke this good habit, because as soon as I realized this was the case, I became convinced it’d be just too tough to pick it back up. 

Restarting seemed daunting: What if—this time around—I fail, hate it, or NEVER restart? 

I was avoiding the inevitable fresh start. I didn’t want to face the fact that I’d messed up. I knew I had broken the habit of doing something I had come to cherish, and missed doing. Oh, the mind is a tricky beast.

This morning I took this screenshot of my two-day streak. It otherwise shows my history of 30+ hours of practice, proving my failure to keep up the daily habit consistently.
Headspace keeps track of your meditation sessions to encourage daily practice. I had some decent streaks in the past, but fell away from it for a few weeks. My day streak reset itself. But, I’m back at it. And two consecutive days are better than zero.
 
In this case, I’m encouraged by a large,  invisible community (+49K people) to keep up my progress. And now, the whole world knows I’m trying to re-create this habit. So you’d better hold me to it, WORLD.

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