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How I broke with destructive rituals and habits, Part 2

The first step to break with negative habits is to recognise them as such.

In my last blog post, I told you how, as an athlete, I had not eaten with my heart, but with my mind. At every meal, I asked myself: does it hurt me as an athlete, or does it benefit me? When it came to pizza, the answer was clear: a pizza was poison in dough form.

Today I think what a shame that was!

But I had many other habits that had been etched into me during puberty as an up-and-coming athlete, and which, now that I had retired from gymnastics, seemed useless – or even harmed me. I was never in the now, but always in the next moment. Even in the shower, I wondered what had to be done next. When I looked in the mirror, I looked at myself critically instead of seeing my positive qualities. In general, I always focused on my faults, because I had learned that only those who work on their weaknesses get better in sport. In the evenings, I was never satisfied with what I had done during the day, but asked myself: What didn’t you do today?

As I write it now, it sounds so obvious. The truth is, it took me years to realise that some of these athletes' habits were no longer useful in normal life because they restricted my perception and made me inflexible and rigid.

That was step one, the phase of self-observation: I had identified my destructive habits.

Step two sounds similarly banal, but is at least as central: you really have to want to change.

Only then can the third step take place: to actually break with the habit. I’ll tell you about this in my next (and last) blog post on this topic.


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