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

Negotiations With Myself; 10 Tactics to Stay the Course

It seems like the hardest negotiations I have to have are with myself. This realization came tonight while I was having a conversation with Adventure Sister, Emy. We are great at talking ourselves out of doing things, but talking ourselves into doing things is a whole nother story. What can we do to be successful in negotiations with ourselves?

I am a world champion justifier. If you are not good at justifying something let me take a swing at it. Maybe this gift is a part of my Susie Sunshine Personality, where I can find the good in anything. But like the grinch, it doesn’t matter if this is because my shoes are too tight or my head is not screwed on just right. Being able to justify my way out of everything down not help me embrace healthy habits. Right now I am busy justifying that I don’t need to get my 10,000 steps a day because it is cold outside.

I have negotiated things with others through out my life. Many of these negotiations have been quite successful. How can I use these techniques to negotiate healthy habits with myself?

1. Be firm and set the expectations. That inner couch potato will want to have it their own way. Having a firm line and setting the expectation with yourself will help when your mind starts making up excuses.

2. Have a prepared response. Since we are talking about negotiations with yourself, you probably have a pretty good idea what excuses you will come up with. Be prepared with reasons why these excuses are just not good enough to set your healthy habits aside

3. Keep the goal in mind. Having a clear picture of where you are heading makes it easier to stay the course. This is true no matter if the goal is weight, career, financial, romantic, or whatever.

4. Stay excited! Having a goal can be very exciting, especially when you see progress. Celebrate small successes along the way to help keep the excitement flowing.

5. Ask for a little bit more time. Your inner critic may try and tell you this isn’t working or that you aren’t benefitting from this initiative. Convince that inner critic to keep trying, just a little bit longer. A break through may be just around the corner.

6. Remind yourself that you are worth it. This is such an epidemic of people not feeling worthy. Remind yourself your are worthy have having what you are working toward. You are good enough, you are strong enough, and you deserve success.

7. Ask yourself for advise. When you start hearing the we don’t have to do this anymore voice in your head ask it what it needs to keep going. Sometime just acknowledging the voice will be enough to help you push on. Other times a little inner dialog about what inspiration is needed will give you the power to get over the hump.

8. Use logic. Remind yourself of all the good reasons why sticking with this will help you in the long run

9. Be aware of your emotions. Emotions can pop up when we least expect them. Especially when we are working toward a seemingly difficult goal. (Most goals are achievable with persistence). When those emotions pop up, acknowledge them. Do not try to minimize them. Once you have acknowledged them, allow them to move through you. Release them, do not hold onto them.

10. Push past objections. Sometimes there is no convincing the inner Negative Nelly. Sometimes you will just have to ignore that part of yourself and just keep going. You can do it!

Good luck winning those negotiations with yourself. I believe in you! You can achieve your goals and live the life of your dreams. Keep going.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you effortlessly continue to move in the direction of you dreams, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken in Zagreb, Croatia

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