When I enter the ten-foot-long hallway to my office, I practice walking slowly and feeling my feet on the floor. I’m creating a “Tiny Habit” to be more mindful instead of rushing around. It’s a tiny habit* because it takes a few seconds not even a minute. I’m not practicing walking slowly everywhere, only this one place (at least to start).
I keep forgetting then I remember. Sometimes I remember after the first few steps or the last few steps, and sometimes I forget the whole distance. When I do remember to walk slowly all the way to the end of the halls, if I did even one intentional step, I cheer “WOOHOO!” and pump my arms up in the air while smiling. Surprisingly when I celebrate even one slow intentional step and not just go through the motions, I feel happy and proud, rewarded for my tiny effort. Sometimes the joy lasts for several minutes. (The joyful mood comes from the “happy hormones” that are stimulated when we have a goal and achieve it or have positive thoughts, even for walking one intentional step slowly and with full awareness.
It probably sounds silly to cheer for walking slowly or doing anything simple like this but amazingly, it works. If you want to make a change, it’s important to celebrate the small steps. Don’t forget to really celebrate every time you take a step in the right direction!
Don’t beat yourself up when you don’t do it perfect! Kindness and compassionate to ourselves are so important. When you are mean to yourself, you go into defensive or protection mode and there is no opportunity to really bring curiosity to what you did and to understand how you can do better. (P.S. This also applies to the people in our lives. Praise what you want, not what you don’t want.)
What you practice grows stronger! Practice what you want more of.
Dr. Joe Dispenza, in the book “You are the Placebo,” says that when you bring an intention (a commitment to a vision of a new future) and heightened emotions (the full positive experience of a new way of being) to this moment, then you trigger new brain chemicals which build new connections in your brain. And the more you mentally rehearse the intention and celebrate (the strong emotions) when the intention is being fulfilled, the more connections you build in your brain. This is how you rewire your brain for what you want. Instead of your old ways of thinking, feeling and acting, these new neural connections in your brain are creating new automatic ways of thinking, feeling and acting. What this means is if I want to walk slowly with more intention and awareness, then when I do it, celebrate and when I don’t do it, be kind to myself.
Okay, now it’s your turn….
Take 3 minutes and answer these 2 questions for yourself. (Don’t be tempted to skip these questions as they could really change your life. They have for me and my clients!)
- What are you practicing now that doesn’t serve you? Ideas to get you started: complaining, playing games on your phone instead of working or being with people, trying to do things perfectly, judging yourself and others, sacrificing your well-being to please others, etc.
- What could you practice that would serve you? Ideas to get you started: Getting more sleep. Being kind to yourself. Walking slowly down the hall. Walking outside and seeing beauty all around you. Starting a gratitude journal and feeling the gratitude when you are writing each item down. Being curious about why you got hooked by something someone said instead of blaming them.
If you make any shifts in your thinking, feeling and acting – even tiny shifts – be sure to CELEBRATE. When you are kind to yourself and acknowledge the effort, you will slowly but surely make changes in your thinking, feeling and acting! WOOHOO!
I’d love to hear what you create.