It’s just so easy to fall off the wagon, isn’t it?
Honestly, if I had a dollar for every time I decided to develop a healthy habit and stick to it, I would probably have a savings account, or a tidy little IRA.
But I don’t.
Like most people, I tend to make resolutions around New Year’s…most of them revolving around my eating, drinking and physical fitness habits…
After a long and replete Thanksgiving and Christmas season, I always promise myself to eat healthier, not drink and spend hours researching crazy diets, all of which I try, fail and fall back into my usual habits.
I am also one of those who always falls prey to trainers in gyms who all play upon the New Year, New Me idea. I have spent thousands of dollars on gym memberships, personal trainers at the beginning of January, sticking resolutely to the routine until something happens and bam…just like that, I fall off the wagon…
Of course, working in a restaurant is not exactly conducive to forming healthy habits: long hours, eating late at night, after-work drinks with colleagues after a particularly trying service…you get the picture.
Interestingly, I am a very disciplined person. When I commit to something, I usually take it all the way.
In my 30’s, I decided to take up flamenco dancing. And I loved it…to the point that I took what began as a hobby all the way to becoming a pro, buying a house in Sevilla, living there and touring Europe with a couple of different companies based in Sevilla.
Around the same time, I decided I needed a solution for my lack of closet space in my New York City apartment. I turned the solution into a business and launched “Garde-Robe,” a luxury clothing storage company that still exists.
About a decade ago, I decided to write and learn more about wine. Today, I am a wine sommelier and a published author of 6 books.
So clearly, I don’t have commitment issues.
Perhaps a good habit for me isn’t necessarily all about self-image related to food, drink and exercise?
When life as we knew it ended in March and I found myself out of a job overnight when the city went into lockdown, I, like everyone in New York, sat in my apartment and took stock…of life and health, which had all of a sudden, become so important in light of the pandemic that has held the world captive for five months and counting.
As I stared at unemployment and instability straight in the face, I wondered what to do with all this free time.
I could have started baking sourdough bread to pass the time, but no.
I could have dug out my running tights and sports bra, but the thought of squeezing myself into them made me gag.
Besides, I couldn’t give up wine in the middle of a pandemic? Now that would be truly insane.
In any case, wine is an occupational hazard for any sommelier, especially, if you’re like me, studying for my diploma exam that I hope to take when the world normalizes a bit.
Over the weeks of solitary confinement on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and countless FaceTime drinks and dinners with friends, I noticed how different people were dealing with the instability that has come to define this year.
Almost everyone I know told me how they now had all this free time to eat healthier, work out, blah, blah, blah. But they were all still so stressed…understandably so.
So why was I so calm?
I took a long hard look in the mirror and realized that over the years, I thrive during times of adversity and uncertainty.
As I looked at decades past and what befell me in those years, somehow, I had managed to pivot and move into something else, creating a new avatar for myself if it was needed or simply slipping into the one that was presented.
How had I done that?
By refusing to give in to anxiety and by being able to change misfortune into something good…for me.
Amidst all my bad habits and broken resolutions, I realized I had this one ability or habit I could rely on and that was resiliency. Every time something went wrong, I would just get back up and deal with it. And that is what I have needed to process and live through all this uncertainty.
Go with the flow and deal with the cards you’ve been dealt to the best of your ability. Get up in the morning, make your bed, have a coffee, put on your favourite music and smile when you face the day.
Believe me, it works.