Three days ago my family and I decided to go on a juice fast. After fasting for three days, we evaluated, and my aunt and I decided to extend our fast. Every day, I juice fruits and vegetables to create the gorgeous green elixir that we drink several times a day.
Well, it’s Day 3 and aside from the intense craving for french fries (with extra salt!), I seem to be doing ok. I started out thinking that this would be the jumpstart of a radically changed lifestyle. Sadly, I don’t think this is going to be the case. This craving for french fries is so strong that I’m pretty sure I’ll cave in a few days. That is because even though my behavior has changed, my mind has not.
Similarly, when I was working the job from hell, I went shopping on several weekends. Generally, I did well purchasing only what I needed. I bought consumables (tea, groceries, hair products) and things that I genuinely needed (new bras!). But I spent time shopping when I could have been writing. It is what I have always done. It is almost as if I gave myself permission to fall back into that habit because I made more money. The result? I got things I needed, and a few things I didn’t. While I did manage to limit my spending, the fact that I shopped recreationally is evidence that my mindset still needs some work.
I’ve heard it before, but over the last three days I have come to understand this truth: in order to achieve lasting change, you must replace old habits with new ones. Willpower isn’t enough. Sure, it will work for a while, but when you’re in a pinch, or a crisis, or even when you’re bored, you will go back to old habits. There has to be something to take the place of the old, destructive habits in order for a change to stick.
So my goal for the remainder of this juice fast is to look for ways to replace old habits. I have joined a 30 Day Vegan Challenge to help me find some healthy recipes and to replace bad habits with healthy ones. I have a new writing project that I will begin very soon. Over the next few days I will explore more ways to replace bad habits with good ones. And after the fast is done, I will begin installing those new habits so that the changes are permanent. I’ll keep you posted.