New Habits

I’m not very good at forming new habits.  Certainly not good ones.  I talk game and make plans: Eating Better, Waking up Earlier, Writing More, etc. But then I hit snooze, let the spinach go bad, and my notebooks lay empty. That last step of summoning up will power and pushing myself to do the thing, create the habit, that’s where I fall flat. I figured I was just bad at it.  I lack will power.  Some people can pick up languages with ease, some can see patterns in chaos, some people have will power, and some of us don’t.  But then I started a new book.  Maybe you’ve heard of it: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.  Within in 50 pages I was reconsidering my assumptions.  Perhaps I could learn to create habits and perhaps I just needed to start with one.  Just one habit.

It seems like a simple idea, obvious even, to choose one habit. But as we all know, sometimes it’s the most obvious ideas that elude us. I couldn’t think of a habit I wanted to form without thinking of five. The five would lead to five more and so on until I was overwhelmed and threw the whole metaphorical list out of the metaphorical window.

This time, I’m doing things differently.  Instead of looking at a laundry list of new habits I should create, I decided to choose one thing; one action I wanted to make into a habit.  I ran through my options and put off the decision until a co-worker told me about Mindful in May.

I’ve been toying with meditation sporadically for about six months.  I believe strongly that moving from occasional to daily meditations will have profound positive effects for me---physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, etc. But as with the rest of my list, I had yet to make the jump from ‘want to’ to ‘done’.  By participating in Mindful in May I will not only (hopefully) develop a habit I’m keen to lock down, but I can also (hopefully) begin to train my psyche to form new positive habits.  Just like an athlete has to practice to throw a ball just right, I will exercise my brain and try to create new muscle memories and patterns of behavior.  At least that’s the plan.