“A Habit is a routine of behavior that is repeated regularly and tends to occur unconsciously. In the American Journal of Psychology (1903) it is defined in this way: ‘A habit, from the standpoint of psychology, is a more or less fixed way of thinking, willing, or feeling acquired through previous repetition of mental experience.’ Habitual behavior often goes unnoticed in persons exhibiting it, because a person does not need to engage in self-analysis when undertaking routine tasks. Habits are sometimes compulsory…. Old habits are hard to break and new habits are hard to form because behavioral patterns we repeat are imprinted in our neural pathways, but it is possible to form new habits through repetition.
As behaviors are repeated in a consistent context, there is an incremental increase in the link between the context and the action. This increases the automaticity of the behavior in that context. Features of an automatic behavior are all or some of: efficiency, lack of awareness, unintentionality, uncontrollability.”
Now that we covered Habits and Rewards, we will get into more meaty topics regarding staying in the present. But first, one super important habit to get us on our merry way so that we can do this work as easily as possible*.
Action Item: Find ways to be accountable on this journey of new habits.
1. Start a small journal (spirals from my kids old spelling classes works great, or even just a stack of stapled paper with a page for each day). Use it only for this HArmony journey. Date your entries so you can review and see your progress. Some days you might be too busy to write much, even 3 words a day will help! On the front of it, write More Harmony, Or Spiral Up! Or something positive. Start a new page every day and write down the title and date at the top of the page. Write your own affirmations every day so you can come back to this book. Keep this book positive, don’t journal in here about anything negative unless you are writing about overcoming circumstances.
2. Keep it next to the spot you read this book. Write down quotes you like, books you want to read, the affirmations and your responses to the Action Items.
3. Add stars or colors or underlines too, to attach to it personally.
4. Tell someone that you are working on being present and peace of mind habits. You know your friends and who is the best to help you to think about it more deeply. (My Mom would not understand, and might even be discouraging. But my friends Liz and Delia have reactions that will help spur me to deeper thoughts about it- As they say in Alanon, “Don’t go to the shoe store expecting to buy bread. You will be disappointed”.) Friends won’t do the work for you, but they can support you.
5. Find the Time. Set the same time and commit the 15 minutes of focused daily work with no interruptions for 21 days. Keep this date with yourself. You are so worth it!
“Nobody makes you go after a dream. It’s not like doing your schoolwork or paying your rent. No one is waiting for you to realize all your talents. You’re on your own. Fulfilling your own potential, realizing your gifts, these are the only important things in our culture that are left entirely up to you.” -Live the Life You Love by Barbara Sher
Affirmation: It is my work to develop my habits for my peace of mind. I am willing to do the work. I got this.
*What is your reward for doing this journal daily? (I am strongly motivated by morsels of dark chocolate, a candle burning, a cup of tea with fattening creamer, and hot baths). Whatever you use- don’t blow it off. Be consistent with your rewards and habits! This is not easy work you are pledging to do, Friend. Find time for the work, and time for the reward. 15 minutes of work and 15 minutes of reward for 21 days. And don’t skimp on sleep this month, you may need a little extra.
PS-this is a really good 15 minutes, just for you. See you tomorrow 😉