JUST START NOW. If you want to create a new habit or start a different routine or practice – maybe you’ve been thinking about it, or you planned to start this past New Year’s but didn’t follow through – DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME LAMENTING OR BEING HARD ON YOURSELF for not doing it before now, or how it’s too late, or dwelling on whatever it was that prevented you.
Just start now. Don’t wait for the 1st of next month, next Monday, or next New Year’s, or the start of the next school year. Of course, you can wait if that feels right, but don’t just wait because those are ‘standardized’ times to start new things. They’re really just arbitrary dates and times that can have the feel of a ‘fresh start’ if we believe them to.
Every moment is a new moment to begin something, to break unhealthy habits and create healthier ones, to shift your thinking, to start again.
Each moment is ready for you to mould it the way you want it to be for your experience.
If you’re wanting (or have been already trying) to start a new practice or stop what you’re finding to be an unhealthy one, I invite you to experiment with these ideas:
~ DROP the approach that has you saying ‘I have to stop [doing X]’ when you’re trying to break a habit. That highlights it being a loss of something that is familiar.
~ INSTEAD, PICK UP the focus on what you’ll swap that habit out for: what will you put in its place? Replace one habit with a healthy alternative that you can get on-board with. In this way it doesn’t feel like you’re losing something, but rather you’re gaining something that you can get a little excited about.
EXAMPLE: If you want to get more exercise (which would involve letting go of some inactivity) – it’s important that you seek to find exercises that you like, maybe an exercise class you like, a walking route you like, maybe it’s swimming, maybe it’s an accountability partner to check in with. Find something that your drawn to, something that has you actually wanting to replace that bit of inactivity with this new bit of activity.
EXAMPLE: If you want to start meditating (which would involve letting go of a few minutes of thinking), start with it in a form that you enjoy. Maybe you’ve been stuck thinking that meditating has to be silent and only focused on the breath – and you just can’t get into that. Instead of forcing yourself to do a silent meditation, try a guided meditation instead.
Find a version of whatever it is -that you will look forward to.
~ DROP the ‘shoulds’ – I really ‘should’ meditate every day, or I ‘need to’ start going to the gym.
~ INSTEAD, PICK UP the approach to your new routine as being an experiment. ‘I’m giving it a go’ or ‘I’m trying it out – doing [X new practice].’ You’re experimenting to see how you like it. Experimenting means you’ll be noticing what you enjoy about it (or what you don’t), how you feel, what works, what doesn’t. This leaves open the possibility of changing it up – after all, you’re just giving it a go, it’s not necessarily forever.
Which brings me to this next one…
~ DROP the idea that this has to be your new routine for the rest of your life – which, let’s face it, can be a little daunting, hard to imagine, and maybe feels like too much of a commitment for this particular thing.
~ INSTEAD, PICK UP the focus on it being just for today, or just for this moment. Small, even mini-sized goals help you move forward and feel a sense of accomplishment more often. Small steps are still steps.
~ DROP the thinking that you’ll notice a difference or major change right away.
~ INSTEAD, PICK UP the idea that you’ll check in once in awhile to notice the positive impact of the change you’re putting in place: do you feel better physically, how about mentally, emotionally? Or maybe you don’t feel anything noticeable in those areas (or at least not yet), but do you feel a sense of accomplishment for having followed through on your commitment for this one day (or whatever small chunk of time you committed to)? Feeling a sense of accomplishment more often (rather than looking for a monumental change) will likely inspire you to continue.
Inviting you to let go of the doubts, fears, and the self-criticism today – and begin experimenting with that new healthier habit or routine you’ve been contemplating. ❤
(Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom, pexels(dot)com)