Beginning a PracticeJan 13, 2023
Let's get real for a minute. Incorporating a new practice into one's routine is not always easy, despite our best intentions. Often we start out with the inspiration and will to get it going, only to find it's the first thing to go when life gets heavy or busy. The irony is that the practice is often what we need most to prevent or cope with the heavy feelings and to help maintain clarity and direction when things get busy.
So how do we set ourselves up for lasting success? Here are a few things that have helped me to be more intentional and consistent with my practices.
1. The WHY. This is a great journaling opportunity, but could also be practiced in the way of a vision board or a visualization practice. Get clear about WHY you want to incorporate this new practice, what kind of results you will achieve with regular action, and the vision for the life you want to create for yourself. Having a very clear why in an incredible motivator on the days when it feels a bit harder to rise to.
2. Make it achievable. Each journey is unique and no one understands your will, schedule and time constraints better than you. For some, the goal may be 30 minutes of meditation. For others, that goal may feel too daunting, setting them up for failure right out of the gate. Perhaps 5 minutes of meditation feels more attainable. Or maybe the goal is simply to put on some meditation music in the morning and see what happens.
3. Make it fun and/or rewarding! For example, if beginning a mindfulness practice, set up some things you really enjoy doing to sink into and appreciate. If beginning an embodiment practice, create a playlist of music that lifts your spirits (or click here to grab mine). If it is a practice that feels difficult to make "fun", provide yourself with a reward for committing to it! Celebrate the wins!
4. Find a facilitator that you resonate with! This can truly make all the difference! Having guidance and encouragement is such a boost to success. Perhaps you are into a very physical flow yoga with a teacher that will challenge you. Perhaps you prefer a slow yin practice that focuses on breath and spiritual connection. Don't settle until you find a leader that really inspires you!
5. Remember the Slight Edge principle! Each time you perform an action toward your vision, you are climbing toward the goal. Non-action brings you away from it. Even the smallest efforts are wins! Those small steps add up over time.
6. Commit to adding ONE new practice at a time. Don't try to do it all at once! While you may feel inspired to do it ALL, taking on too much can actually be detrimental. Try adding one new thing and, if after 30 days it feels locked in, add a new practice into the mix.
7. Remember it's called a PRACTICE for a reason! We aren't going to enter a body-building competition after lifting one weight. Like exercise, adding any new practice will be a journey. At first, it may feel uncomfortable. You may fight with feelings of, "I can't do this" and "I'm not good at this". But if you stick with it, you will find that it begins to feel more comfortable, more achievable, and more successful over time. Give yourself grace as you embark on the journey and let go of the need to be "good" at it immediately.
Be gentle with yourself as you embark on creating new habits. There will likely be ebb and flow along the way and that is okay. Each effort is an effort in the right direction!
If you need any support or are looking for resources on practices and/or facilitators, please reach out!
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