One of my favorite books is The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. For me, it was a fascinating discovery of habits I have created (or not), as well as learning about habits of others. The New York Times stated, “This instant classic explores how we can change our lives by changing our habits.” The Power of Habit opened my eyes to things I hadn’t even recognized as habits before. What was my morning routine habit? My shopping habits? What habits did my husband and children have? Were they positive and healthy habits?
Sometimes we look harder for what is already there, but it seems like lately I have been bombarded with stories, podcasts, videos, emails, and books that are making me think about my habits more often. I’ve taken a pretty deep dive into this, so I’m sharing a few activities I am participating in right now:
You can find more information on this at www.getmadefor.com. For 10 months, I will receive a kit that is designed to help establish healthy habits and a mindset necessary to live your best life. The first kit is focused on drinking more water. We all know that’s good for us, and I thought I was pretty good at this one, so this would surely be an “easy one.” It’s been harder than I thought, so it has helped me be very intentional about it. But it’s not just about the water; it’s also a method of tracking it and journaling about it in order to recognize the rewards. The theory is that I’m creating opportunities to teach my brain new tricks and harness its plasticity. Neuroplasticity is a scientific concept that refers to the many different ways the brain can modify itself. Whatever you want to achieve in life, you can use your brain’s ability to reshape itself to your advantage. It’s also a positive psychology; as a CliftonStrengths® coach and fan, you know I’m all about the positivity!
For the past 16 months I haven’t looked or felt like myself, and it’s time for me to make some changes – likely big changes. More to come on this one, as I’m just getting started, but I know I need to start by eating better to feel better.
It, too, is harder for me than I thought. I get two emails a day with written information as well as a video, and sometimes I have found it annoying and difficult to keep up with it. But every time I stop and read and listen, I am empowered with reminders and new knowledge, and I love it. Mine is from Dr. Gregory Bottaro, the author of The Mindful Catholic. Whatever your religion, or lack thereof, I think we can all relate to his comments around mindfulness:
“We miss out on so much of our life because we are distracted by the thoughts incessantly running through our minds. We live in our own little worlds inside of our heads instead of the beautiful and wonderful world around us. We miss out on people, places, and things around us in this state of ‘mindlessness.'”
Being “mindful” is simply a different way to say, “paying attention.” It means to be aware. It means to “come to our senses,” or “wake up.” This is a skill we can develop with practice, and when we do, we realize just how much being mindless makes our life so much more difficult.
Becoming aware of the process is the golden ticket to unlocking greater potential for peace in your life. Anything we can do that is healthy in our lives will be even more efficacious if we are paying more attention to it. Living mindfully decreases anxiety, depression, and anger. It increases joy, happiness, peace, healthy communication, and trust in God.
Just writing this blog forces me to realize how much I am taking on all at one time, yet the concept is really the same: it’s about habits! What will you do to develop better habits and be more mindful? Keep following us to discover more ideas along my journey.
“Most of us go through life focused on external rewards – things outside ourselves that bring us a dopamine hit of joy. But they are not the most effective motivators of positive long lasting change because they are not within our control. External incentives will always be very strong determinants of behavior, but internal ones bring about more stable and durable changes in behavior.” – www.getmadefor.com