As the season starts to change again, there remains fertile space for newness. Let's embrace the circulating energy - harness it and manifest it in from of habits that soothe you. Think of a habit you always wanted to incorporate into your life, a habit that does only good to your body, mind & soul, but you haven't found time, energy, or joy in following it yet.
Like all humans, your brain likes patterns. It’s hard wired to recognise and respond to them. By setting and following a daily routine, you’re giving your mind the structure it needs to keep you happy, healthy and moving forward towards our goals. On the other side, following a routine gives us feelings of familiarity and reassurance, which helps us respond better to change.
Charles Duhigg, the author of The Power of Habits (2012), found that there are three elements to every habit: a cue, a routine, and a reward. This is often referred to as the habit loop:
Trying these components together we get a well-formed habit loop. The cue that leads to a desire which commands a response. And if it is sufficiently rewarded it gives us a reason to perform it again. If the cue is removed, we don’t have the motivation or the reason to respond, if we aren’t rewarded, well then, we’re not going to spend our time and effort on the behaviour again.
"Mindset, habit, and routines are the building blocks for success toward your wellness goal."
- Robyn Conely Downs
Now that you know how to hack your habits in theory, how do you start?
According to James Clear, author of Atomic Habits (2018), accumulating habits involves deciding the kind of person you want to be and then empowering your vision with a process of small wins emerging from habits. One step at a time, you can create a personal system as these habits inform your way of learning, doing and being in the world.
1. SET A SPECIFIC BEGINNIN-TO-END POINT
That way you have a clear idea pf the time segment you will give your full focus and attention. Be mindful as you do, and bring your attention to your body. Take note of how it feels. Breathe.
2.CHOOSE YOUR CUES ACTIVELY
Establish associative triggers – such as listening to the same music, or arranging your yoga mat in a certain way – that tell your mind it’s time to get down on your yoga mat. Before I go to bed, I'll put my moon-pad® on the yoga mat as a reminder to mediate the next morning.
By setting and following a daily routine, you’re giving your mind the structure it needs to keep you happy.
3. SHIFT YOUR PERSPECTIVE
Modern life has given somewhat false advertising about routines. We're told to look for variety and chase newness. Shifting your perspective on repetition will help you see all the joyful sides of habits. Repetition is the basis for a path of self-cultivation. Try to regard daily chores in your daily lives, cooking meals, taking a walk, brooming your body, as opportunities to regularly check-in with yourself.
4. START WITH A SIMPLE STEP
Let yourself know that one small step at a time can add up to powerful new habits and behaviours. Clear recommends “the two-minute rule” as you begin a new habit. Break the habit into a small enough chunk that it can be accomplished in two minutes. For example, if you want to begin meditating, start your practice with just a two-minute window – After my morning shower, I’ll get on my yoga mat for two minutes.
5. CELEBRATE YOUR SUCCESS
It’s important to reward your efforts consistently while implementing new habits. Recognize your accomplishments when you hit a milestone, even if it’s a small one. This will motivate you as you continue moving forward.
Often the things that really make a difference in our lives are simple so start there. Take your time and don't rush things.