I am working on changing a habit.
I like sleeping on my stomach. It’s something I’ve done most of my life, even after a C-Section!
My back hates it. I mean really hates it.
Sleeping on my stomach is a sure way to give my sciatica free reign.
I need to change the habit.
Problem is, I often roll over in my sleep only to wake up when the familiar deep ache in my lower back gets so painful, it wakes me up.
Rolling back over isn’t easy. I need to move with care to ensure I don’t A) scream out in pain and awaken C.C., Beaumont and Marley the Great Cat. B) my lower back doesn’t lock up.
So, I’ve devised a method to keep myself from rolling onto my stomach while conscious and asleep.
First, as I get ready for bed, I tell myself how much benefit there is sleeping on my back or side. I do this for a long time. Every time the critter sneaks in and whispers, “But you can’t go to sleep if you’re not lying on your stomach”, I face him square on and say gently, “It’s okay. You’re just afraid of change. I can do this.” And then I do it. (Yeah my team!)
Second, as I get into bed, I turn on the heating pad and place it behind my back — the warmth keeps me in place and helps me fall asleep. (My heating pad shuts off after half an hour. It’s the perfect gateway to falling asleep.)
Third, when I wake up during the night, and find myself still on my back or side, I turn the heating pad back on. It’s preventative.
So, why am I telling you all this? Because changing a habit in one area opens the door for other changes too.
And if you’re like me, there are areas of your life where some of your habits don’t really add up to a whole lot of positive influence on your happiness and well-being.
Like, playing Spider Solitaire every night when I get into bed. I’d much rather be reading a book, but I’ve acquired this habit of reaching for my IPad…
Time to apply some habit changing karma to my night time routine. Because, quite frankly, if I can change a lifelong habit of sleeping on my stomach, some piddly little thing like Spider Solitaire is a piece a cake.
Eons ago, Socrates wrote, “The soul, like the body, accepts by practice whatever habit one wishes it to contact.”
And that’s the thing about changing a habit. Our minds, bodies and souls are engaged in keeping the good, and the unhealthy ones, in place.
To change one, we must begin with putting it in contact with something different — like my heating pad for my back.
For me, beginning with a habit where the stakes are high (I dislike being in my body when my back is out) has given me the momentum and the courage to start looking at other habits that, while perhaps not as debilitating as my stomach sleeping habit, are not having a positive effect on my life and well-being.
In shifting my stomach sleeping habit, I have proven to myself, I CAN do it. I can take on a hard task and make change happen for the better.
I’ve also shown myself that changing a habit from ‘bad’ to ‘good’ reaps benefits — my back is not as sore in the mornings and it’s much easier to get out of bed too!
Do you have a habit you need/want to change? What’s your secret to making it happen?