Oh I wish these blogs had an audio option! You’d hear this title in a Billy Fields swagger. I loved that song back in the 80’s, and now, as January comes to a close I find myself revisiting this timely tune.
Facebook in January can either be incredibly inspiring or terribly demoralising. Most of us would have friends who have declared their goals for the year and are now providing us with updates on their progress. For some of us it’s motivational – a reason to join them on their quest. For others, it’s a reminder of years of self-improvement promises that are still unfulfilled. Both outcomes are a gift.
I too have established new areas of focus for the year, but I’ve largely kept them to myself (hmmm…what does that tell you about my level of belief in myself!). I’m not keen on the term “resolution” or even “goals” because to me, the words infer something outside of myself with a finish line established. Personal focus, however, feels more internal and ongoing…almost a bit more self loving. One area of focus for me is to spend time visualising my daily affirmations. I have developed a repertoire of beliefs and I enjoy reminding myself of them everyday in a meditative like state. I have talked before about my attempts to meditiate, I’m not proficient at it, but I love trying. I also love spending time on our bench by the lake so it’s not too hard to make the time each day.
However, what happens if I miss a day? What happens if you don’t go for that run? What happens if you find yourself in a negative state of mind? What happens if you snapped at your partner? What happens if you eat that slice of white bread?
The answer is, nothing. The world will keep turning and life goes on. If there are any changes at all because you failed it’s likely to all be in your head. Yes, yes…I’m not ignoring long term consequences, but today I want to focus on missing a single event. It’s usually the first miss/slip up/bad habit that we’re most likely to beat ourselves up over. As Billy says…
“Well I’m in a mess, Cos I can’t repress All of these BAD HABITS”
I haven’t made it to my bench today, and the nagging in my mind is becoming louder. My ego is itching to remind me that yet again I’m not good enough, not consistent, lazy and not worthy of change. It’s like a train in the distance, you just know that soon it’ll be a noisy arrival. What do I do in this situation? Here is what I have learned:
1. Own the situation. The minute I acknowledge something isn’t going to plan, I make room for calm to descend.
2. Don’t try to blame something outside of myself. The only person responsible for my thoughts, behaviours and actions is me. I am responsible for making the time to sit on my bench. I am responsible for the words I say, or the look on my face. When I use something else or someone else as my scape goat, my own feeling of guilt intensifies. If I am open and ready for this new habit I will make it happen regardless of the world around me. I own that knowledge and accept it.
3. Check that the world is still turning. If so, I remind myself that I probably have about another 14,600 days available to me to focus on this area if I choose. I think I can find a day or two somewhere along my life to meditiate.
4. Know that if it is important enough at this time, it will happen again. It’s easy to recognise when our body needs something because we often seek it out – water when thirsty for example. I think our body’s desires are driven by much more than just food and water. When change is needed, our mind and body will tell you (and make it happen) providing we are capable of listening to ourselves. When it truly needs calm, it will make meditation a priority. If it needs connections, it will make love a priority. If it needs repair, it will make health a priority. Therefore, relax, if your whole self needs this change, trust it will happen. If it’s simply not important (your mind and body aren’t congruent with the belief), it may be harder to maintain the commitment.
5. Love yourself anyway. I know the internal dialogue of “I told you so” all too well. I’ve heard it too many times before and it certainly hasn’t inspired any long term change in me! Nowadays I’m trying really hard to come from a place of self-love whenever my bad habits appear. I’ve come to realise that being on my side (Team Leanne?) is the first step to a new focus on the areas that I want to embrace in my life. Are you your number one supporter?
If you’re now feeling the urge to thank me because Billy Field’s Bad Habits is humming in your head, I hope you enjoy this little trip down memory lane…