Flexibility and Habits

I have been learning a lot about habit formation lately. It seems like it may be the key for me in putting my self-care and healthy habits front and center. Although, it may not seem to make sense, I am learning that some flexibility is required when creating habits. Let me explain what I mean.

A couple of the habits I am working on are daily meditation and daily physical activity. When it comes to my meditation practice, it has come along pretty easily, this time. Past attempts have not been as successful. I believe this to what I have learned about habit formation.

From my understanding there are 3 main parts to a habit. The trigger, the habit, and the reward. The trigger is the thing that lets your subconscious know it is time to do the habit. The reward is what you get for preforming the habit. When it comes to my meditation habit, my trigger is when I wake up in the morning. I go to my designated meditation space, light my meditation candle (a reward) and mediate for 20 minutes. At the end of my mediation, I track my mediation in my Adidas running app. (Side note: I love this app, it will track all kinds of activities and allows for live tracking as well as manual entries.) Tracking my meditation in the app is my reward. From what I have learned instant rewards are best. If we have to wait too long for a reward our brains won’t associate them with the habit.

So where does flexibility fit in? In order to create a habit you must do it consistently. I can’t say, “I don’t feel well” or “conditions are not perfect”, I have to find a way to get it done. For example: when I travel for work, I do not have my designated space or my candle with me. I have to allow for flexibility in my practice. I meditate with out theses things.

As I have mentioned in previous blogs I am working towards running a 5k. I am using the C25K app from Zenlabs. I love this app! It works great. I prefer to run outside. The fresh air and beautiful scenery are a part of my reward for running. This past week it has been cold and icy. I have severe osteoporosis and can’t afford to slip and fall on the ice. This past week I had to do my running on a treadmill. Running on a treadmill and running outside are not even close to the same experience. I am dedicated to creating a habit of daily activity and training towards the more far off reward of running a 5k again. I have to allow for the flexibility of running inside on a treadmill some days.

Another thing I have learned about habits, is that they are easier when stacked, habit on top on habit. For example: trigger – I wake up, habit – mediation, habit – run or yoga, habit – shower, habit – brush teeth, and then it is time to go to work. By stacking habits I am gaining momentum from things that I am doing anyway. When I choose a hike as my daily activity, I can’t get that done in the morning before work. It has to wait till the workday is done. I can not benefit from my morning habit stack. In this way, I must also allow for flexibility that on the days I am going to hike, it will not happen at the same time as my running or yoga will.

What healthy or self-care activities would you like to add to your life? What existing habits could you stack them onto? Where can you see the need for flexibility and grace in you habit formation? What will you choose as rewards?

Thank you for reading my blog today! May you develop many helpful habits that support you taking care of yourself.

Books to learn more about habit formation:

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Healthy as F*ck by Oonagh Duncan

Hello Habits by Fumio Sasaki

Why I blog

It has been quite a while since I blogged regularly. I stopped blogging after my youngest daughter was shot in a random act of violence. She has recovered from her physical injuries. She is strong and working through the emotional injuries related to this incident. I am proud of how she has overcome this experience. As her mother it knocked me for a loop. Now it has been almost 3 years. I am focusing on taking care of me. Fighting my demons instead of running from them is helping me grow and heal in a deeper way than I ever have before. When you talk about fight or flight, I have always been a runner. I am working to acknowledge my pain, my history, rather than trying to bury it or numb it. As I set off on this journey I feel inspired to start blogging again. I want to share what I am learning with others who may find it beneficial. I feel the more we share with one another the better we can all be.

I plan to write about self care and wellness topics. I have worked in Healthcare all of my career. The majority of my time has been in and working with Hospice. Because of the emotional state of hospice work self-care is essential. We all have stresses, drains, and demands on us that make self-care very challenging. Achieving true wellness is not a destination. It is a journey. It is a journey that I hope to travel with you. We can learn from one another as we travel towards personal wellness. By achieving personal wellness we will help to heal the planet. Each of us raising the vibration of those around us simply by letting our light shine and taking care of ourselves.

I hope that my blog speaks to you. I hope that you will feel safe commenting and sharing your stories and experiences. I wish for this to be a supportive and loving environment where we can acknowledge our successes and pick each other up when we need support or a shoulder to cry on. None of us have all the answers. We all have our own experiences and those are powerful! I hope this blog speaks to those of you who are interested in being the best version of you. I hope this blog speaks to those who feel lost and need some directions. I hope this blog speaks to those who have been diminished or feel beaten down by life. I hope this blog speaks to those of you who have or are in relationships that have minimized how spectacular you are. Let’s remember we are worthy. We are enough. We are special in our own unique quirky ways.

My intention is for this blog to create a community of people who are working on personal wellness, not for anyone other than themselves. I believe this blog will share tools, techniques, and insights to help you find your specialness and learn to let is shine through all the crappy days. I hope this blog will help you create more magic and blessings in your life. I wish for you to have a life where you feel special, worthy, happy, and have mind, body, and spirit wellness that is a little better today than it was yesterday.

Thank you for reading my blog today.