Friday, February 01, 2008

Seeds of Change: Using Mindfulness to Change Bad Habits

Earlier in the month we talked about using your mindfulness to observe bad habits. If you haven't read the previous post already, spend a month observing yourself and write down things you want to change.

Even if you only did this a few days, most likely you have discovered some things about yourself you don't like. It's important not to wallow in shame and guilt; the point of this exercise was goal setting.

Now, go through your notes and pick a few choice things you want to change. You may already subconciously have started adjusting your behavior, but putting it in writing makes it a little more real. These are the things I observed about myself:

1. I waste time smoking when I could be walking at work.
2. I procrastinate on my writing projects and they end up late when
they don't have to be.
3. I overdrew on my bank account once.
4. I still haven't finished my brochure or gotten started on my website.

Notice these things are very specific. This month, we want to focus on good habits of others that we can adapt for ourselves. Ask people that seem like they've got it together how they do things related to what's on your list or anything else you observed you want to change.

Pick the most important thing that you've gotten good feedback on. Pray every morning for help with this situation. Write down things you can do to improve every night. Don't expect yourself to change instantly or become perfect all at once. Change takes time.

If you find yourself engaging in the same behavior, stop yourself when you're in the middle of it. Apologize if you are speaking to someone. Eventually it will become a working part of you and you will find yourself after a couple of months no longer engaging in whatever it is that's bothering you.

Don't give up! The most important thing is to pick yourself up and start again if you slip. Get support and find other people who are doing the same as you.

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