A Habit Loop

I’m currently on day 22 of the Whole30 diet/detox/elimination diet. I feel like a goddess, I’m at my college weight and I have the energy of a toddler. Besides realizing that REAL food makes you feel like a rockstar, I’ve also discovered a lot about my habits (good and bad).

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The habit loop, in my situation, looked like this:

cue (overworking) > routine (neglecting self-care) > reward (eating out + shopping)

For so long I would try fixing the wrong thing. I would try to change the reward. Did you know that you can still spend way too much money on drugstore makeup and coffee? Then I would try to change the routine. I tried to wake up early but still work until the wee hours of the morning. Then I realized that I was just working way too much. So we made 10 changes that drastically changed my life and, in turn, saves us $3,000+ a month in shopping sprees and going out to eat. .

  1. We cut our client list in half. We had 22 clients in February. Now we have 7. Yes, we fired some.
  2. Adam and I meet every morning. No matter what. And we talk about money. Every. Day.
  3. You can’t schedule a meeting with me on Mondays or Thursdays. We use Calendly.
  4. We hired a business coach.
  5. Then I hired that business coach as my life coach. More on how amazing Trent is…later.
  6. Then we hired an assistant/project manager part-time.
  7. I decided to stop working after 6pm.
  8. We’re shifting our business model to accommodate small, intense bursts of work vs working with a client on a project that drags out for weeks or months.
  9. I stopped eating takeout and started eating real food.
  10. Gilmore Girls became available on Netflix on October 1 so obviously…I’ve been watching a lot of that. Just because I’m done working at 6pm doesn’t mean I’ve become a social butterfly.

Do you habits like this? Things that are consequences of poor self-care? What about awesome habits that have formed in your adult years?

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  • Ah, it’s so important to recognize these bad habits which turn into that bad cycle. I’m so happy to hear that you’re turning that all around and working on a better balance. I personally am on an upswing from my crap-food-too-lazy-for-exercise cycle and am making lists of what healthy whole food I can start eating and how to make sure to put exercise back in my priorities. I can’t wait to hear more about your business/life coach… that is pretty darn cool.

    • I’m with you!! And good job on incorporate exercise. I need to do that next. I hate going to work out in public so I’m going to do a yoga challenge for myself after Thanksgiving. Hit the mat daily!

  • Uhhh dude, this sounds kinda exactly like me. Stoked for you that you’re back into a good routine!

    I just joined the gym and hired maself a coach (something I’ve been wanting to do for ages)… Same deal on the projects that drag out a long time too, it’s so energy sucking, so I’ve been thinking of ways to switch that up too. I guess its all about boundaries though, and getting harder on client deadlines/feedback/etc, which sometimes I’m way too soft on, and that’s what drags it out.

    • It feels GOOD. And that’s awesome that you took the exercise/coaching steps. I got my diet locked down and now I need to mooooove.

      And seriously I get so bored with projects that drag on. It just can’t happen anymore!

  • My bad habit was holding onto things. Though organized and boxed up, just knowing I had a bunch of stuff in storage was like a cloud hanging over my head. When I made my last move I decided to be ruthless in pitching/donating. I pared down to the point I now have only a few boxes of things in storage (mostly holiday decorations). My current home has more storage and closet space than ever before, and it’s so nice to know that I use very little of it. Having less stuff has given me more enjoyment out of life. Now I just need to continually practice the “maintenance art”of letting go of something whenever I bring something in. Looking at things through that lens really helps you be discriminating about what you add to your space. They end up being things you love…instead of just things.

    • That’s so amazing, Amy. I just got tea with my friend Jess and we talked about getting rid of physical shit but also avoiding negativity too. She read a book and said everything in your life should bring about joy.

      We’re moving after Thanksgiving and I’ve started throwing so much away. Feels so good.

  • I spent so many years neglecting my own needs and have seriously paid the price for it! The process has been ongoing but like you, I had to identify the cycle. It’s amazing how naming something takes away it’s power over you (most of the time, anyway). F

  • I always love your honesty…because that’s exactly how my habit loop looks like! Self-care goes down the toilet when I’m busy. It feels so hard to break out of that cycle, thanks for sharing :)

  • I’m so proud of you Allison! And I love you so much. Your life has changes drastically over the past several months and your right, all for the better. Well, secretly im happy your off at night so you can text me:)

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  • I love that habit loop graphic! I’m reading It Starts With Food right now. I’m intimidated by elimination diets, but your experience makes me want to give it a try.