When a new year arrives, we often set new goals or resolutions in order to improve or stabilize our life. As it turns out, goals aren’t always the most helpful tool of self-improvement. It is too easy to get off track and abandon a well-thought out goal. If instead, we build systems of self-care, we are more likely to reap the benefits of routines that nurture and support us. This is the key to sustainable change.
In the fall of 2018, Center For Self-Care and Your Mindful Coach offered The Well-Worn Path: Meditation and Mindfulness for Positive Habit Change, at the Tredyffrin Library. Through deep exploration and intentional practice, we can let go of habits we know longer need and cultivate new, supportive habits. You can enjoy a full recording of the fourth workshop below as well as the guided meditations on iTunes and Soundcloud.
We began our fourth session with a Lovingkindness practice. As we set out to make new habits and break old ones, the gift of kindness is critical. As we discussed in Patience and Self-Compassion, we need tools of resilience for when our plans don’t go quite right. In this practice, we use a different set of Lovingkindness phrases that really resonate for me:
- May you be seen
- May you be comforted
- May you be loved
Try it out below,
The word “identity” comes from the latin word Identidem which literally means “repeated being-ness.” What we do becomes who we are. We even create neural connections that reinforce our habits. Bringing intention to our thoughts, behaviors and words allows us to forge habits that are meaningful and healthy for us. But we need reminders,
Grant yourself a moment of peace,
and you will understand
how foolishly you have scurried about.
Learn to be silent,
and you will notice that
you have talked too much
and you will realize that
your judgment of others was too severe.
-The Tao of Wealth
Our habits have several stages where we can intervene, either reducing or increasing their likelihood. These are the pieces of the habit loop. Starting with a cue and a craving (problem phase) and ending with a response and reward (solution phase).
Cue (ex. drive by a Wawa) – Make it invisible by changing your driving route
Craving (ex. crave a treat) – Make it unattractive by remembering your healthy eating plan
Response (ex. buy a treat) – Make it difficult by not carrying cash
Reward (ex. eat a treat) – Make it unsatisfying by keeping track of frivolous spending
To build a positive habit, flip it around! Make the cue obvious, make the craving attractive, make the response easy and make the reward satisfying. This might include writing intentions, connecting cues to other routines you already do, or even rearranging your pantry to make healthier foods easier to reach.
As you explore identity and habits, try the guided practice below and let me know how it goes.
Visit www.center4selfcare.com to see our upcoming offerings.
Sunday, April 28 – Save The Date
A Mindful Pause:
Finding Refuge And Peace In A Busy Life
at Bryn Mawr College