Change. It seems humans are constantly struggling with this inevitable part of life. Some of us are terrified of change. Others find that reaching the change they desire is a constant uphill battle.
In order to feel well with endometriosis and manage my symptoms, I’ve had to embrace a lot of change over the years. Every day, I have to make choices about change, specifically, creating habits that enable me to not only reduce my endometriosis symptoms, but also enhance my abilities so that I can feel my best, rather than just feeling “not in pain.”
I’ve managed to master some habits. For example, eating dairy-free and gluten-free is pretty much second nature to me now, and I don’t find myself wandering to the dairy aisle when food shopping. Yet there are other habits — such as energizing myself with regular exercise or going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day to help with my fatigue — that I struggle with daily.
So, I’ve been exploring the world of understanding and creating habits to help me achieve my personal health goals and really feel good with endometriosis. In the last month, I’ve implemented some new habits that have changed how I manage endometriosis. Some key takeaways that have helped me the most with implementing these changes are:
100 percent commitment
Sometimes it’s not the goal, but the deciding factors related to that goal that matter. I recently watched this video as part of my coaching course, and it made so much sense to me. If you add exceptions to goals such as “I won’t drink caffeine unless I’m really, really tired,” then you’ll find yourself constantly asking, “Am I tired enough for a tea or coffee today?” You’ll always be tempting yourself. I know that’s how it works for me. A 100 percent goal such as “I only drink decaffeinated drinks” can sometimes be easier than a 99 percent goal because it forces you to commit totally and there are no decisions to make.
Habit stacking and intention setting
Chic Media creator Rachel Hollis swears by writing out her goals every day. These aren’t to-do lists such as “I will do 30 minutes of exercise every day,” but more like visionary DUMB goals that keep you inspired, such as, “After I make my morning tea, I will meditate for 5 minutes.” Writing these out every morning reminds me of what I really want and makes the small habits much easier to work with.
I add to that author James Clear’s advice of writing down a habit and linking it to an existing one. So for me, it looks like this: “After I’ve written down my goals, I will do 5 minutes of cardio.” There’s no question about when and where I will fit exercise into my day, and writing this down makes me much more likely to commit.
1 percent every day
A short but sweet tip Clear shares is the idea of gradual change, improving by 1 percent every day, rather than trying to stick to a new, radical regimen every day. If you improve on something by 1 percent every day of the year, what will your health look like by the end of that year? It’s a pretty powerful thought.
We’ve all been under the myth of willpower for a long time. We berate ourselves when we fail at a goal because we think we’re weak and don’t have enough willpower. But how many of us set up our environments for success? Clear talks about this in his book, “Atomic Habits,” and argues (with research and evidence backing it up) that we are really only as strong as our environments enable us to be.
For example, a heroin user who returns home from rehab to the place and people he started taking heroin with is, statistically and significantly, more likely to relapse compared with someone who leaves rehab and moves elsewhere to start a new life. For most of us, moving isn’t really an option, but what about your environment is making it harder for you to commit to the goals and habits that will help you feel better with endo?
I know caffeine makes me feel worse with endo, but when I’m really tired and I see my partner’s tea and coffee sitting next to my rooibos, I reach for the caffeinated option. I’ve moved them now, and have also asked my partner to assume I only ever want a caffeine-free drink, rather than asking me what I want when he makes me a tea.
What about you? Do you struggle with creating good habits for endometriosis? Or do you have some tips that have helped you along the way? Share in the comments below.
Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Endometriosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.