Today we ask that you pay attention to habitual patterns you would like to change.
Habitual patterns have a typical cycle. You have a desire to engage in more healthy behavior. This is undermined by an impulse to indulge in unhealthy behavior. There is a brief rush of gratification associated with the impulsive slip. That is in turn followed by a lengthy bout of self-abuse and self-attack; you feel ashamed for slipping. Then you vow to do better next time, and the cycle starts up again.
For many people, such patterns exist around healthy eating, exercise, work habits/procrastinating, engaging in healthy practices like yoga and meditation, and so on.
It also applies to all addictive habits. All addicts experience this cycle.
This should indicate that all negative habitual patterns are in fact addictive patterns.
When you impulsively do things you don’t want to do, that is the very nature of addiction.
There is a way out.
Addictive patterns are really a sign that your energy is disorganized and messy. Entropy has gotten the upper hand with you.
It is like a messy, disorganized house.
You can look at the mess, throw up your hands, and not deal with it. Then things of course just get messier.
Or you can decide to start somewhere.
You take one messy corner, and start there. In a relatively short time, the corner gets clean. You feel a sense of accomplishment. It really wasn’t all that hard. This in turn encourages you to keep cleaning — to take on more small tasks, and finish them.
You can do the same thing with habitual patterns.
Just start with one habit you dislike and work on that. Don’t take on everything at once. Just start with one thing. But whatever that thing is, commit to it — don’t do it halfway. If you wish to cut out drinking caffeine, commit to doing that for a set period of time. If you wish to exercise more, decide in advance how much you wish to exercise in a given week, then do it.
It is absolutely essential that you not bite off more than you can chew. Make the goal realistic. Do not set the bar high. If anything, set it low! Make the task doable.
When you succeed in fulfilling the task, allow yourself to feel a sense of accomplishment. Please let yourself feel good about what you just did. This creates a positive feedback loop, which in turns creates a new, positive pattern.
Once you begin to “clean” a little in this way, your whole energy will gradually change. (The key word is gradual — do not expect total transformation all at once.)
Do not give into the Voice that says “Too late!” or “Not good enough!” That Voice wishes to drive you back into passive helplessness and negative patterns. It is the very engine of addiction.
Everyone’s life is a mess to some degree or another. No one “has it all together.” It is not personal. Lives get messy, the way houses get messy. It is just entropy. Entropy isn’t personal.
Just start with one little corner. That is all you need to do right now.