A Day of Modified Habits
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Constantly, I think about things being different, so in my head it seems to me like they should be different in real life because I am thinking about them so often, but many times I get in the habit of thinking about things without actually taking action. I am resisting. It usually takes me awhile to recognize this habit and do something about it. The longer I allow the resistance to win, the harder it is to overcome. But eventually through mindfulness, I recognize the stagnancy and decide to do something about it.
Throughout January I did Yoga with Adriene’s 31 day Yoga Revolution and during the third week I started to feel the resistance. At that time I was doing yoga as the last step of my Miracle Morning routine, but due to the resistance I was feeling, I decided to start doing it first thing in the morning and this made it so much easier to get it done. The longer I think about the resistance and allow it to be, the harder it is to fight. Doing the things I am resisting first thing when I wake up helps me win. This has been discussed by many self-help experts and is actually quite effective. One example includes Brian Tracy's book Eat that Frog - How to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time; he has a great blog post about conquering the action of eating that frog first here.
Yesterday, was a day I finally decided to modify my behavior. It’s been about a month of resisting, but I was traveling for work and we finished up a little early, the weather was beautiful out, and I wanted to spend my time in the sunshine and warmth doing something I preferred to do. The last few times I have traveled, I have contemplated going running but once I got back to my hotel room I would sit down, open Facebook, turn on the tv, and do nothing for the entire evening.
This day was different; I was going to finally eat that frog! When I walked into my hotel I had my phone in my hand and almost sat down, but recognizing that sitting down took away my need for action I decided to stay standing while I looked up a place to go running. I found a nice park with trails about 10 minutes away, put down my phone, changed into my running clothes (which I ALWAYS pack but haven’t used much lately), grabbed my keys and drove to the park. My husband had recommended a new audio book for me, so I downloaded it and decided to listen to that on my run. I get a lot of inspiration from audio books while running. The book was Extraordinary Leadership by Robin Sharma and it was fantastic and inspiring!
During this run, I began to smile. I am integrating practicing smiling into my day: 1) because I see my sphere of influencers with huge smiles on their face consistently, 2) it uplifts me, and 3) why the heck not? We practice all sorts of other healthy habits so why not smiling?? I may feel a little goofy, but that makes me smile even more.
I am always wanting to be seen and looking for connection every time I am on the trail, but always leave the responsibility on the other passing person. I am always providing the opportunity for eye contact, but rarely go beyond that and often people don’t even give me that in return. So as I am running around this busy park, smiling, and trying to make eye contact, I have an epitome: To be seen, I need to see.
I have spent so much of my life fearing people but have the insatiable need to be seen and accepted, but I rarely am. If I meet people with fear, why should I expect anything different in return? This made me realize that I shouldn’t leave the responsibility on the other person (because of course I cannot control that), but I should be the one initiating the connection, making sure others are feeling seen, in order to be seen myself. This is not an easy task for me but neither is running around with a big smile on my face, so why not?!? I spent the rest of my run trying to smile and greet every passing person on the trail, and the experience was so different than my typical disappointment and feelings of invisibility. I felt good about making other people feel seen and received what I originally wanted in return.
After I finished my run, I went and sat on a bench to enjoy the water feature and practiced some breathing and mindfulness just enjoying the scenery and people around me. Risking this type of exposure is not something I would typically do.
Upon returning to the hotel, I did something else that I would not typically do…I went straight into the little gym and lifted weights, patiently and completely. I would typically rush through this because of my feelings of uncomfortableness but not today. Then I decided to further embrace the day of modified behavior and I went out to eat by myself rather than going out and getting something to bring back to my room. I would say I beat resistance this day. Eating that frog was essential this day, and now my uplifted mood has continued into the next few days. Days of modified behavior lead to future days of modified behavior...