Breakfast and Trail Building

I sat down this morning and ate a legitimate breakfast at my dining room table over coffee and my bullet journal. It wasn’t anything I deliberately set out to do, I just woke up hungry – which is rare. I usually have to be up for a couple of hours before I want food, my stomach is not a morning stomach. But as I was sitting there eating it occurred to me: I never do this.

Most of the time I have breakfast sitting on the counter and I’m grabbing bites of it as I make lunches or clean the kitchen. Sometimes, especially on the days Donnie takes the kids to school, I don’t eat breakfast until I get to work and then I do it sitting at my desk working on my computer. And then there’s the Cliff-Bar-On-The-Commute days. But never…EVER…do I make a breakfast and sit down and eat it in my house. And I didn’t even realize that until I actually did that very thing.

It actually feels a little disappointing, you know? I don’t want to be the girl that rushes everything. I don’t want to be the girl who strategically places her breakfast on the counter so she can grab a bit as she grabbing other things for packing lunches. I don’t want to eat breakfast at my desk. I don’t want to eat breakfast on my commute. Breakfast takes about 7 minutes, I’m not eating a 5 course meal. Why can’t I take that 7 minutes and separate it from whatever other task I’m doing, and simply enjoy my meal?

(Especially when it’s Pumpkin Butter on a Pumpkin Spice English Muffin. Yes, I’m that girl.)

My therapist (DRINK!) talked about habits (both in thought and in action) as being like trails through the woods. If you want to change a habit, you have to make the current one a difficult option and the new/preferred habit an easy option. You take the worn trail because it’s cleared of trees and debris, but if you decide you want a different path, you have to do some work to make it the “easy” option. You have to clear it out and then keep using it to pack the ground beneath your feet. When we re-route trails on the Mountain here, we tend to throw in debris like limbs and rocks and branches so that people will see the obstacles and then maybe take the time to notice the other…NEW path. Over time that debris actually becomes a permanent fixture as undergrowth fills in around it packs it in. All while the new path becomes more clear with use. OVER TIME. You can’t just up and decide one day, “I’m going to take this new path now!” Because you’re used to that other path, the ground is smoother and the trees are cleared. It’s the easier option. It takes time to establish a new trail through the woods and time to allow the other one to become overgrown.

So this week I’m going to try to change my mealtime habits. I’m going to start with breakfast. I will probably always eat lunch at my desk, but I can take the 7 minutes to enjoy breakfast in the morning sans other activities. It seems as though that “breakfast on the go” trail through the woods is very clear and convenient because I didn’t even realize I was taking it, the habit was so deep. So I need to be consistent in my efforts or the new habits/trail will never become a permanent fixture.

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3 Comments

  • Lucy McConville

    I love your trail analogy! When I was in sales & marketing we learned it takes 21 days to create a new habit. 21 days of doing it every day. I didn’t believe that at first. But it is SO true! After 21 days it feels more strange NOT to do the new thing. So, keep that in mind as well. Happy Breakfast!

  • Lindsey

    Great analogy. To continue that on, you could set out some nice dishes for your breakfast ahead of time, so they become the obvious choice. And treat yourself with something yummy for the first few days so it is even more desirable.

  • CraftyHope

    Oh, my stomach isn’t morning stomach either. As much as I want to be, I’m just not a morning person in general. I can’t seem to gear up enough to even consider what I want to eat. Most days, it’s almost lunchtime before I want breakfast so I usually wait and just skip the meal. I KNOW this isn’t good for my metabolism at all. 7 minutes isn’t much, and is a habit that I can probably change if I just set my mind to it. Here’s hoping you were able to do it and that I can too. I’m glad I’m not alone in this!