mindfulness and renewing habits

In a post last week I talked about the day to day of mindfulness, including renewing habits. I want to expand on that concept with this post. What do I mean when I say renewing habits?

I’m totally 100% positive that nobody who ever reads this post will have tried to start a new habit and had that attempt fail. That last sentence is false.

Why do our attempts at new habits fail? Often, it’s down to falling off the wagon once, and then staying in that failure. It’s often easier to do something every day than once a week. Why is that?

Think of meditating. Is it easier to count every breath, or every fifth breath? Every breath right? To remember to do the habit is one of the biggest obstacles.

It is also down to conditioning. Often the habits we try to develop are for health or motivation reasons. Perhaps you are often too lazy to go to the gym, just to combine the two.What happens here?

What happens is your mind fails to overcome the laziness obstacle in the way of completing the task of actually going to the gym. The way to overcome this is to condition the mind to consistently overcome this laziness obstacle.

Now anyone who has ever tried to condition their body knows that your body conditions faster if you are working out several times a week rather than once a week. It’s just a fact.

You might say “sure, but if you work out every day, in this example, you will get burned out.” True. One needs days off.

Similarly in a diet there are often built in “cheat days” where a person can eat whatever they want. Depending on what the habit you are trying to form is, this might be possible. If you are trying to quit smoking cigarettes, this is a bad idea because of the chemical dependance. If you are trying to form a habit of writing every day, taking one day a week off (so long as it is preplanned) is fine.

It is fine so long as you renew the habit.

Every time you bring yourself back to concentrating on the now, on your mindfulness practice, you are renewing that habit. You can always renew the habit.

Related posts:

  1. mindfulness basics: the day to day
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