Become aware of your habits and create the life you want
Habits got you down?
As humans, we are full of
habits. Habits are our
idiosyncrasies, our personality,
our uniqueness if you will.
Habits often get a bad wrap,
especially in a society that
focuses on the pursuit of
perfection, yet habits can
be empowering, if we are
aware of them. Becoming
aware of our habits can
enable us to create the
lives we dream of.
Healthy Habits VS Unhealthy Habits
Some habits are incredibly healthy and some habits are like parasites, they eat away at our energy leaving us feeling depleted. So how do you ensure your habits are helping you rather than hindering? Awareness. As soon as we become aware of our habits we are able to exercise more control over them. Instead of being ruled by habits, we can instead turn them into choices and choices are empowering.
When an unhealthy habit becomes an unconscious action we become disempowered by it. It is no longer a choice but something we are held hostage to. I heard someone recently describe habits as being like apps on a phone. You can upload and download them at any time. You can choose the habits you want and need and clear those that no longer serve you in order to create space for new apps. So checking in and becoming aware of our current habits ensures that we are living life on our terms. And if we are not, we are able to see more clearly those habits that are holding us back.
HABITS ARE NOT ALL BAD
In the book The Way of the Peaceful Warrior the main character says “smoking is not disgusting, the habit is”. Any action in itself is not good or bad but it is the context in which it is done that makes it a problem. Eg. washing your hands before eating or after going to the bathroom is most likely seen as a good habit to have as it helps prevent the spread of disease but if you were to wash your hands compulsively and it became an unconscious habit you no longer had control over then it might cause many problems. Some habits are designed to protect us. Habits such as curling into a ball when we are in physical danger to protect our vital organs. Yet if we get into a habit of always contracting even when there is no threat of a physical attack then we potentially ruin our posture and create more pain in our bodies.
HOW TO BECOME AWARE OF HABITS
Meditation is a great way to become aware of our habits, especially those that are thought based. When we tune into our breath and direct our awareness on to one thing we start to slow down the mind. We slow it down that we can start to hear and be aware of our constant inner monologue. When we slow down our mind it can actually be quite confronting, especially if our thoughts are self destructive. Meditation can also make us aware of how shallow we breathe throughout the day, especially when we are stressed. The act of closing down the eyes has a direct affect on our parasympathetic system, slowing down our breath and allowing us to feel more rested and relaxed. This relaxed state is a perfect state to catch our habits and decide whether they are helping or hindering us.
Try out some free meditation classes here and become aware of your habits.
Physical yoga practice is strongly connected to the breath. This connection of breath and body also helps to slow down our minds. A physical practice also helps us to tune into our physical habits. When you take your awareness to your body you start to also notice habits that we do unknowingly like constantly pulling down our shirt, scratching when we are irritated etc. How many of these habits do we actually need? How many are actually just avoidance of something else?
Try out some free yoga classes today and start to notice your habits
Pilates exercises are focused on precision. Each movement is a conscious movement with attention placed on alignment. Practising Pilates can make you aware of imbalances within the body. Performing Pilates exercises you are able to learn which side of the body is weaker and needs more work, where there is asymmetry in the body and how to develop better posture. Practising Pilates regularly will help you to avoid unhealthy physical habits such as slouching, sway back, sitting into the lower back etc which all bring a certain amount of pain and dis-ease into our bodies.
You can try our some free Pilates classes here.
Replace it with a new healthier habit
Once you are on the way to breaking a habit, you will have space for a new one, one that is healthy and moves you towards how you want to live your life. Write down some habits you would like to implement into your world and then start with one of them. Take it easy on yourself though, habits take a while to stick. A study by the European Journal of Social Psychology suggests habits take anywhere between 18 – 254 day to become automatic. However they also noted that missing the odd occasion did not affect the habit formation process. So let go of perfectionism and create a new habit today. I am the worst in the mornings and so I am currently doing a 5 day Follow the Sun Challenge to rise early to move, breathe and get motivated for the day. You can join me if you like here. Create new, healthy morning habits today!
I challenge you to become aware of one habit that does not serve you and become aware of how often you unconsciously sink into this. Eg. When standing sinking into the same hip every time. Then every time you catch yourself, don’t beat yourself up but simply change it. A habit only becomes a choice when we become aware of it. Also, choose a new habit that does serve you well and anytime you find yourself waiting or stopped at a set of lights etc, put the habit into place. Eg. Turning on your abdominals when walking or sitting. Or complimenting yourself. Or eating something green with every meal… etc. There are so many healthy habits waiting to be adopted! Start creating the healthy habits that will bring you closer to the life you want to live!