Do your habits fill up your resiliency bucket or do they create a drain hole in the bottom?
My spouse and I have, very unsuccessfully, tried to “quit sugar” over the years. We attempt this significant feat and often finish with a feeling of failure. This long-term struggle has been an invitation to consider what makes a habit. So I decided to look at the good habits I have and considered how they came to be. Perhaps what I found will be helpful as you consider your own habit-wrestling.
My investigation revealed an element discussed by New York Times Business writer, Charles Duhigg, in his book, The Power of Habit. The journey of a habit starts with a cue (or trigger). Usually we do not realize what triggers the process, and so proceed down habitual routine rut, (whether it is a habit we appreciate or not) and finally receive the reward. Here is an example of how it can look.
Every morning before work I take my dogs for a walk down our dirt road. It has become a habit. My trigger is the action of putting away my meditation cushion after my morning sit. I go to the hook on the wall (the one that looks like a canine backside), grab the dog leashes and my coat. By the time I am appropriately dressed, the dogs are at my feet and off we go. Weather permitting, this happens Monday through Friday like clockwork. The reward is fresh air, a good feeling and less pee puddles in the house. Saturday and Sunday are a different story. It can be 4:00 in the afternoon when I realize I have yet to take the dogs on their walk. Why? My cue is gone. Weekend morning routines are very different from those during the week. My strong weekday habit dissolves into a relaxing morning cup of coffee and chat with my husband. To strengthen my meditation/dog walking habit over the weekend, I will need to establish a cue that matches my weekend rhythm.
Do you have a habit you would like to break to lower your stress? Or maybe you’d like to establish a new practice to build resiliency. If you would explore a change of habit, and do not want to do it alone, join us on the Facebook page called Sixty-Six Day Practice. New research has revealed it takes 66 days to create a new habit. Don’t do it alone! Start your 66 days whenever you would like. Break a habit, or start a new practice. Travel these next 66 days with a group of people who have decided to make a change. You will be encouraged and held by the community and most importantly, you will not be alone.
Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about The Power of Habit check out these links:
To watch a short video on cues, routines and rewards of habits: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1eYrhGeffc
To listen to an author interview:
Create the habit you’d like to experience,