Breaking or making a habit is not easy, but it’s worth the effort when it makes for a healthier and happier life.
The key to any challenge is to set yourself up for success. This includes sorting out the logistics and getting clear on the why, what, when, where and how of your intention. In addition you'll want to enlist the superpowers of mindfulness and community to support your goals. If you haven't already please join us for #YearOfCalm: a 30 Day Meditation & Mindful Living Challenge.
Here are 5 Golden Rules of a Mindful Resolution:
1. Make it SMART
For example, I want to feel better in 2018 is not specific but I will drink more water is. Pro tip: It's actually good to start with how you want to feel, but then you have to take it a step further and ask yourself what can you do to achieve that feeling.
To make the above goal measurable, rather than how it is vaguely stated, we'll change more water in to an actual amount of water. I'll drink 8 glasses of water a day is an example of a measurable goal.
Now it's time to be honest with yourself. If you've been skipping water and only drinking coffee for the last few years, 8 cups might be a bit of a leap. If so, can you make the challenge more appealing for yourself, maybe 4 cups of water and 2 cups of herbal tea. Once your successfully able to do this with consistency, there's nothing stopping you from setting a new goal.
Make sure you've chosen something that inspires, excites or motivates you. Make sure you know the WHY behind your resolution otherwise your momentum may fizzle quicky.
Of course we want our new habits to last, but forever is a long time, and it can be demotivating or hard to begin when the goal ahead is so big. Instead, pick an amount of time to try on your resolution. For example: I will drink 4 cups of water and 2 cups of herbal tea everyday for a month. Now it's an experiment and that's an amazing way to learn about yourself. Once you've completed your goal, you can decide to keep going or shift the plan.
2. Write it down
Ideas can float around in our heads for a long time. Writing it down has a way of making it real. Put your intentions down on paper and place it somewhere that you can see it when you need it. Maybe on your mirror, on the back of your phone, or on your computer.
3. Make a Plan
Now that you know the what and the why, it's time to figure out the how. What do you need to do in order to stay true to your commitment? It's helpful to think about what might get in your way. For example, if you're trying to drink more water, but you're out and about all day without a water bottle, it might be hard to achieve your goal. Or maybe it's easy for you to lose track of how much water you've drank, so why not try pouring 4 cups of water and placing them on your desk so that you're aware of your progress over the course of the day. If you're trying to cultivate a movement practice, schedule the times into your calendar and make them non-negotiable. Make sure you know the when, the where and the how long.
3. Do it!
If you've set yourself up in the first 3 steps, remember that it is doable. Maybe not easy, but doable. Connect to your why to stay empowered and motivated. Perhaps even write it down somewhere for you to see.
4. Be Mindful
Get curious. Notice how you're feeling. If it feels good, soak up that feeling, so that your mind and body can integrate this new shift. If it feels hard, explore what's coming up for you in this process and pay attention to what gets in your way. If for example you're giving up sugar and it's been traditionally a way to self-soothe, things may feel super challenging. Explore other ways to soothe and what kind of supports you need to take care of yourself through the difficulty.
If it feels like you took too much on, it may be necessary to adjust the plan with compassion and inner wisdom. This is often the point where people just give up instead of modifying it to work for where they are at. Think of it like choosing a weight that was too heavy to lift, you could just give up on lifting weights and never build muscle, or you could scale down and build muscle in a more practical way. Let go of any all-or-nothing failure narratives you might have and work towards your goals in a more sustainable way. This is self-compassion in action.
5. Check in with your friends and community
It can be tempting to keep your goals to yourself out of fear of failing, but then you rob yourself of accountability, support, encouragement, and connection. Community is a reminder that you are not in this alone. Find people you trust and support each other. Share your stories, offer solidarity, cheer each other on, and tap into the strength of the collective.
Yeah, you could probably do it on your own, but it's so much better when you feel the support, wisdom and strength of others walking a similar path.
If you're looking for mindful community, join us in the Daily Calm Community. We'd love to meet you.
Wishing you nourishment and a sense of fulfilment in your journey ahead.
We're cheering for you!