Habits can serve us or they can hinder us.
Our habits can be likened to programs that run inside our subconscious mind and body, so we do not have to consciously think about taking each step, every time. Our habits assist us with all of the mundane tasks we do, day in, day out. This has its pros and cons.
A habit is really the opposite of mindfulness, unless we practice otherwise.
Our habits assist us to become ‘unconsciously competent’.
This unconscious competence is part of the reason that talented sportspeople or musicians can make incredibly challenging tasks or situations look effortless. They have built good practice habits that support their passions to the point where they can be running the rehearsed ‘program’ but still make mindful adjustments while they are in action. In this way, habits help create mastery.
On the other side of the equation, the hindering aspects of habits are numerous.
Over time we can develop ‘bad’ habits that have us remain unconscious in so many situations.
We might smoke or mindlessly snack or perhaps ‘snap’ at our partner or children when something doesn’t go our way. These poor behaviours are not choices we make in the moment, they are actions or reactions that have formed as our habitual patterning for various reasons.
The great news is that habits can be stopped, renewed, altered, rearranged, deleted and created, just like computer programs. While many of our habits are unconscious, we can be made aware that we do things in a certain way, typically only when we think about those behaviours specifically.
Tools like mindfulness, meditation, self reflection, counselling, NLP, hypnosis and many other psychotherapeutic methods can assist us to rearrange our habits.
You have to do something different to get a different result.
Journaling is a positive habit or ritual that you can choose to adopt.
The simple task of writing for 5 to 10 minutes per day, perhaps just before you go to sleep, brings greater awareness, gives clarity of mind, closure to daily events, reduces stress, and I believe, stimulates a greater level of mindfulness during the day.
This isn’t all it does, but it’s a good start to understand how powerful writing can be.
Journaling begins to create awareness and can help us steer our thinking. Our thought patterns are also mostly habitual.
There are estimates that people think between 10,000 and 60,000 thoughts per day, yet only 2000 of these are new thoughts and 80 per cent of the thoughts are negative!
Given that the quality of our thoughts creates the quality of our lives, any ritual that can help us to make a change in this area is priceless.
So what do I write about you ask?
The answer is that you want to ask yourself positive questions. This fills your mind with thoughts that will lead to positive answers, hence positive change.
For example, set yourself 3 questions every day.
Some questions you could use;
1. “What went well today and why?”
2. “I love the way that …” complete the sentence…
3. “To honour my relationship with (myself / my partner / my God etc…), tomorrow I am …”
4. “Three new things I am grateful for are …?”
5. “I choose to consciously evolve by …”
You can begin writing, even if you don’t yet know what you want to say. Just write what comes and keep the pen moving on the page. You may surprise yourself with what comes out.
Hit me up if you would like more techniques to positively steer your own mind!