Hey Ego, Get out of the Way

An amazing thing has happened for the past 2 months. I’m succeeding in my micro habits! In my last post Macro Themes and Micro Habits I went into the New Year determined to try new ways to change my behavior. I’ve used myself as the guinea pig and I am happy to report my insights and the remarkable 180 degree shift of one habit in particular.

All or Nothing

One of the main obstacles that I share in common with the many people I see professionally is the “all or nothing” mentality. For me, this was clearly on display when an old injury flared up last year and interrupted my workout regimen. I tried alternative, less vigorous ways of working out but was left uninspired and then I basically gave up. It was my way or the highway. Sure, I had to forgo yoga and spinning for a short time, but I certainly could have kept up my weight training, modify my yoga or do less vigorous cardio. A treadmill and elliptical weren’t doing it for me but I could have certainly taken walks outdoors to my favorite music. I could go on and on. It’s taken a lot of effort to break through that internal barrier and get on with it. The one big obstacle I had to get out of the way was out my ego. Finally, I realized that it was more important to move more days in some way, no matter how small, rather than not to move at all.

So when I decided to work on my 2019 mini habit of daily meditation, I thought it would be helpful to apply the same mentality. It wasn’t easy. Regardless of trying to establish some a regular meditation practice for years, despite being a mindfulness facilitator and even a yoga teacher, I hadn’t achieved my goal of meditating at least 10-20 minutes most days of the week. Instead, I swallowed my pride, pushed my stubborn ego aside and lowered the bar to create a daily meditation habit of 30 seconds. That’s right, 30 seconds. Right away my ego scoffed at at such a trivial amount of time. I mean I had to put on the noise cancelling headphones to tune her out. And I’m glad I did. To date since January 1, 2019, I have meditated every single day for at least 30 seconds, mostly first thing in the morning, mostly for more than 30 seconds and sometimes more than once a day. I love it. I love it because I am doing it regardless of how I feel. I love it because I set a goal that was small enough to overcome the resistance that had gotten in the way before. I also get bragging rights (I love the bragging rights). It really goes to show that small incremental steps, sometimes smaller steps than we’d like to admit, will give you the confidence and discipline to get you up and over that hill.

I encourage you to rethink a New Year’s goal that may have gone by the wayside. What ways can you break that goal down to try it more often, but less of it in one shot? You’ll be able to get your foot in door and keep it open to possibility and change.

As always share your stories here!

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