The human experience revolves around habits. We struggle to create new ones and fight to break old ones. Sometimes we revert to those that are not so good for us and lack consistency to continue those that benefit us. Our innate need for rituals, routines, and structure is often in tension with our love of comfort, freedom, and novelty. This complex interaction can be frustrating. But when we find ways to actively maintain good habits, we chart our path to well-being, inner peace and life satisfaction.
I’m guilty of getting sucked into the vicious cycle of habit-breaking. It typically goes like this: A challenging time or situation enters my life. I begin to incorporate good habits to off-set the difficult season. Life eventually becomes more manageable and enjoyable. Once things really improve, I slowly begin to get lax. I loosen my boundaries and break promises to myself. I re-prioritize external commitments. My schedule gets “too busy” to do the things I know are good for me. Then BOOM! Life becomes more stressful again. And I’m back where I started- in a challenging situation, searching for ways to cope and good habits to practice in order to make life more satisfying and less stressful.
It’s interesting how easy it is to neglect the very habits that keep us happy, engaged and connected. For me these tend to be spending time with friends, tuning into church on a Sunday morning, exercising, and listening to music. The other day, a friend told me how stressed she’s been lately and revealed she hasn’t meditated in months. We both agreed to recommit to our good habits. It seems that consistency is the missing piece to preserve our inner peace! When we prioritize good habits, we practice the highest form of self-care: discipline.
I don’t fully know the why behind our lack of discipline in keeping good habits, but I’m searching for ways to hack this cycle. One popular recommendation to automate habits and build strong routines is habit stacking. My friend Tracy recently wrote a blog post about this. Mindful and attentive engagement in our positive activities also helps us to connect to them more deeply. Taking some time to consciously consider why we’re doing a good habit and the benefits it offers might allow us to be more consistent.
Suitie, how do you maintain good habits and recapture the missing peace in your life?
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