The first time it dawned on me that I had been living a healthier new norm, I was 21 years old and just returned from a 3 month trip to India. Previous to that I had kept up a habit of drinking a liter and a half of water first thing every morning, for over a year. To have kept consistent at anything other then college homework at that time in my life, was remarkable to say the least.
While in India I hadn’t had consistent access to ample amounts of purified water. The water either had to be boiled on a gas stove (which was delivered once every 2 weeks to the homes I was staying in) or I bought it in water bottles at stores that I had to travel out of my way to find.
Regularly drinking a liter and a half of water every morning was just not an option.
Although there were 2 big hassles connected to this habit like:
- The effort in actually swallowing that amount of water every morning (it took weeks to build up to finishing the whole thing in one go)
- Needing to wake up an hour earlier to make sure my body properly processed that water in the convenience of my own home before I had to get out the door
…it was small in comparison to the consequences of having stopped it.
Returning to The Old Norm
At the end of my travels I was lethargic on a daily basis, my digestion was sluggish, my sleep quality was skittish, my cravings for fatty and heavily condiment-ed food returned with a vengeance, my acne returned and I gained 30 pounds
Point of No Return
When I drank my 1.5 liter of water that first morning in the states, it was as if a giant gust of cool wind filled every cell in my body. In having finished it I noticed colors were more vivid as were sounds and smells, instantly.
The truth was that before my India trip, I was tempted many times to skip this habit and wasn’t bothered in the slightest to have to forgo it while traveling. To a certain extent I was relieved. On days I had a lot going on, the idea of waking up an hour earlier to drink that water felt like a total drag.
“What a hassle! Couldn’t there be some other habit that had the same effect in less time?” My entitled, consumer-conditioned mind would argue with me.
Vivid Contrast of Before & After
Not having the option to practice that habit though made it irrefutably clear, how valuable it was. That first morning in the states hit me strong and clear that before leaving for that trip, I had been living a new norm in which a certain degree of lightness in my body and sharpness in my senses was the baseline of how I started my days.
That lightness was in unmistakable contrast to how I started my days before establishing the habit which, was very close to how I had felt at the end of my trip.
After that pivotal morning back in the states, my commitment to the habit deepened and has served as my foundational habit on which I’ve gradually, over the years, stacked more wellness habits on to.
The Utility In “Slipping”
Although many people punish themselves for deviating from good habits they’re trying to establish, I know them to be the ultimate litmus test. Stopping the habits helps us see how much clout they hold in enhancing our lives.
If there’s no obvious difference in our state of mind, mood and energy when we stop them, we wont have that much motivation to continue them. When we find the ones that make the difference though, oh boy, life gets sweeter.
What new norm of health and buoyancy on all levels, do you want to create for yourself?
What habit can you integrate into your daily rhythm that would create that norm?
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