What have you been working on changing in your personal life or business but have been getting nowhere? Progress is the net effect of all of our good and bad habits and habits are notoriously hard to change, as they are locked in place by a tricky combination of neurotransmitters and social context. One way to survive the difficult transition is to pick a partner to do the climb with. What do you want to change and who would you pick?
For a several years I had a pretty solid habit of clean eating until a short stint in the hospital for emergency bowel surgery triggered a relapse. My kryptonite foods are pretty much anything with high amounts of simple starches or sugar, or preferably both: the bag of chips and craft cider after a long salt-leaching group ride, the afternoon energizer brownie, the reward pizza justified with even the meagerest of accomplishments. Sugar is one of the most insidiously addictive things we consume and yet is hardly given its due as a destructive agent like its cousins heroin, cocaine and alcohol. For me it's a slippery slope. I don't do well on it–mood swings, bloating and brain fog.
Change is hard to sustain.
Thoughout the dreary and rainy spring and early summer I had been looking forward to completing 14 contiguous days of pure eating without any simple sugars and starch. It's how I reset my nutrition habits. But I failed three months straight. Starting and quitting was the new habit. Last week I made a pact with a client who was also trying to purify his habits and we agreed to do it together, putting our integrity on the line as mutual assurance for joint compliance.
The withdrawal from any substance that gets its hooks in us at a pharmacological level is hard. Energy depletion and moments of rage and anxiety accompany ever sugar detox I've ever done. It's easy to quit. But knowing that I was on the other end of a rope with Grant meant that I would be letting him down if I broke.
Mutual support makes it easier to overcome barriers.
We are halfway now and the crux of it is over. My energy is evening out, my moods moderating, my thinking clearing. I've lost over six pounds already as I head back to where my body really wants to live. Grant and I have spoken through out as reinforcement of the new habits we want to secure. The "rope" keeps either of us from falling down the slope. When faced with a tough challenge it's much easier to overcome the barriers and breakthrough when we do it together.