Have you ever had a habit that you suddenly wonder why you continue to do it?
Last week after my doctor’s appointment and the sudden realization that I had no idea how much protein I consume on a daily basis, I downloaded a couple of food tracking apps to start tracking how much protein I am eating. It’s been an eye-opening experience so far. I now realize that I am not getting nearly enough, and after increasing my percentage, I started having more energy throughout my day. Yet this morning as I was going over my morning routine of checking my stats, writing in my data, I realized that I still had my paper food tracker in my traveler’s notebook. I’d even written down some of the foods that I’d eaten yesterday…and that big assed epiphany hit me. Why the fuck are you writing this shit down when it’s in your phone and a hell of a lot more accurate than what you took time out of your day to write yesterday.
The answer? I don’t know why…other than it was a habit.
When I actually thought about my process, it didn’t make sense anymore to do it the way I had been doing it. Yet, my brain didn’t think to click in and say “Hey, you’re doing good things, maybe you don’t need to waste more time doubling your efforts”.
Now, I can tell you, looking back over my life, I have done some crazy things. I have done some amazing things. I have done some impossible things. All for various reasons. A lot of times it was because of goals I’d given myself, but quite honestly, some of those goals were simply set because people told me I couldn’t, so I did.
I think we all lose the ability to ask “Why?” when we are kids and our parents said “Because I said so”. I cannot tell you how many times I heard that growing up and I know for a fact it stopped me asking why. But now that I am older, I crave learning new things, I want to figure out how things work and I regret not asking why, even of myself.
- Why do I run? Because I want to continue to be the athlete I have become.
- Why do I walk? Because I can’t run right now.
- Why do I push myself? Because I can’t go back to being trapped in a 450-pound body ever again. Which is essentially the answer to everything I do athletically.
But you can boil things down even further than the general WHY of habits…
Why do I have a bell hanging on a chandelier in my stairwell?
- I need more shoulder mobility, and every time I see it, I reach up and ring it.
- But also because it was handmade in Prague by a blacksmith during my IMCF/BOTN Ironman and it reminds me that I did something amazing.
- And…every time a bell rings a fairy gets its wings! Yes, this is truly how some of my answers literally end up. Is that a bad thing? No! It’s just an Amy thing. It’s my reasoning, and it gets the job done.
Your answer to WHY only has to make sense to you. Not your parents, not your spouse, not society, JUST YOU! But if it doesn’t make sense to you, then you have to ask yourself why you’re doing it. Is it a habit? Is it peer pressure? Is it some sense of guilt that you can’t just stop doing it, even when there’s no reason for it any longer?
(PSA) Now, mind you, if going out and beheading cute little forest animals makes sense to You, there might be a bigger issue, but generally speaking, know why you have the habits you do daily.
Ask yourself why you do the things you do and if it makes sense and doesn’t break the laws of physics or cause rifts in the space-time continuum then great. But if you honestly can’t whittle down why you are doing something…is it worth the time to do it anymore?
Think about your day…we all have the same 24-hours. How many of those 1440 minutes are you going to spend mindlessly doing something that doesn’t serve a purpose anymore, just because you haven’t thought about the why of it in forever?
Why you do the things you do…is worth a few of those 1440 minutes to figure out.