Heather's MusingsA-New-Start

Often in January we get a sense of a new year, a new start and set some New Years’ resolutions – drink less alcohol, eat more fruit and veg, get more sleep, be more active, etc. Sometimes these resolutions last, but often not. We lapse, relapse and give up.

What is becoming clearer from psychological research is that change is difficult. Us human beings are creatures of habit. Often deeply ingrained habits. So, what can help?

 

NEW-HABIT-INFOGRAPHIC-2

Intention, motivation, practice enjoying the change, lapsing.

Then again, intention, motivation, practice enjoying the change, lapsing.

And again, until a new habit is built.

Just one habit at a time.

 

What also helps is tapping into our values as the foundation of change. For example, why drink less alcohol? Because when I have a few drinks I don’t get up in the morning to meditate. If one of my deeply held values is to be more present for my friends and family and to be less reactive, then I can reflect on how my morning meditation is crucial for me to meet this value, thus fuelling my motivation to drink less alcohol.

Then set a realistic intention, such as enjoying couple of glasses of wine, one day a week. Reflect on your intention and motivation each day and then practice enjoying a couple of glasses of wine, one day a week. Recognise that lapses of intention are an inevitable part of every change of habit, so that when a lapse occurs, there is no need to beat ourselves up. Instead, immediately refocus on the intention and motivation and continue to practice enjoying.

Another example, why be more active? Because when I am inactive I can’t be bothered to go out. If one of my deeply held values is getting out and experiencing nature, then I can reflect on how getting active is important to meet this value, thus fuelling my motivation to be more active.

Then set a realistic intention, such as enjoying a daily walk in the park on the way to work. Reflect on your intention and motivation each day and then practice enjoying your daily walk. Recognise that lapses of intention are an inevitable part of every change of habit, especially on rainy days, so that when a lapse occurs, there is no need to beat ourselves up. Instead, immediately refocus on the intention and motivation and continue to practice enjoying.

What are some of your values this year? Becoming more joyful, then start a committed practice of gratitude and appreciation. Becoming less judgemental, then start a committed practice of self-compassion. Being more present, then start an in depth mindfulness course with an experienced and compassionate teacher, such as one of our Level 1 Being Present courses. 

Have a look at THIS WORKSHEET to explore your values in different domains in your life a bit more:

Here at the Mindfulness Association we wish you well with your plans for 2023.

May you be happy and create the causes for happiness in your life.

 

Kind Wishes,

Heather

• Heather will be teaching an eight week Mindfulness Based Health Living Course online on Tuesday evenings from 18th April – yu can read more about that HERE. She also teaches on our Masters degree programs, please CLICK HERE for more information.