On March 19th I had my first class in a running group.  I had always wanted to start running.  I  know it’s great for my health, stress reduction and mental/emotional health.  I never had a desire to run marathons or triathlons – maybe a 5K, but that’s it.

Photo Credit

Photo Credit

Having said that, I didn’t quite believe I could start running.  But I attended my first class and was able to run the required amount.

 

I kept attending and kept increasing my distance and speed.  Eventually I was running 5 days per week and feeling pretty good about it.

 

Then I moved and started a new job and my life got busy.  At first I just let a day or two pass without running – I was still running 3 times per week.  But it’s a slippery slope I tell ya!

 

It’s now been two weeks with absolutely NO RUNNING.  I’m so sad.  I know I feel better when I run.  I know I can do it.  I simply made up excuses as to why I couldn’t quite fit it in, but that I would surely do it the next day!

 

I think this is quite common for people who are starting a new habit (exercise, meditation, cooking, sleeping better, etc).

 

Lots of energy and motivation in the beginning.  Then life gets busy and it’s easy to put it off for a day, or two, or a week.

 

Fortunately there is a way to get back on track fast.  Spend a few minutes thinking about why you started your new habit in the first place.

Value Based Decisions

 

Why was it important for you to start?  What value did it fit with?

 

For me, I value my health and know that running will improve my health.  I saw impressive changes in my body quite quickly, so I know it works.

 

It’s important for me to remember how good it felt to run, how easy it was once I got into a good pace.

 

It’s important for me to remember how it fits with my long-term goal of being healthy and having a good quality of life as I age.

 

Once you remember why you wanted to start your habit and why it’s important to you – do something to make it a bit easier to resume your habit.

 

For me, I will bring my running clothes with me to work so I can go right after work, instead of coming home and getting busy with house stuff.

 

For you, it might be playing certain music that motivations you, attending a class, saying No to another event so you have the time and energy to resume your habit.

 

Do something that makes it easy to get back on track.

 

Now that I’ve written this post, I’m already feeling my motivation coming back.  I think I’ll throw on my running clothes and shoes and get a quick run in before I talk myself out of it.

 

How do you get back on track when you’ve let go of a healthy habit?  Let me know in the comments!

Char

xo

Two things usually happen when people first try meditation.

 

1)   It’s too hard. You tried, but you couldn’t stay focused. Your thoughts kept going and you decided that meditation just isn’t for you.

Or

2)   You tried it. It felt weird. You were able to get through the whole meditation. You may have liked it, not liked it or felt unsure that you did it right.

Peace of Mind

This is completely normal.  No one ever sits to meditate for the first time and enjoys a long period of silent mind – it just doesn’t happen.  So no worries, you’re doing it right.

If you are choosing a period of time to practice for and sit through the practice you are doing what you need to do.

Your mind will wander, but as long as you are catching it and bringing it back to the object you are focusing on (breath, mantra, body part, image, etc.) then you will reap the rewards.

You may want to try different types of meditation practices.  Remember, you can do yoga, you can do a walking meditation, mindful eating, a loving-kindness meditation or a body scan – mix up your formal practices and see which ones you prefer.

There is one common mistake to look out for…

Marie was a client who came to me for therapy because she had a stressful job as a physiotherapist and she experienced anxiety on a regular basis.  Marie had worked with a therapist in the past and learned many great skills, but she felt she needed more because she wasn’t feeling the joy she wanted to feel on a regular basis and she noticed she was beginning to turn to food to manage her anxiety again. 

Marie had always been a high achiever, as had her sisters.  She prided herself on the accomplishments she achieved and could be overly critical of herself if she made a mistake.  But Marie had great insight and was willing to look deep within to see what she was thinking and feeling to try to work through it.

During our first session I asked Marie about her experience with meditation.  She regularly practiced yoga and had periods in her life where she did have a sitting meditation practice. Marie told me about her recent experiences with meditating and I began to wonder if she had been using her sitting meditation time to think and explore her thoughts and feelings.  

Marie agreed that she was rarely bringing her focus to her breath and that she was using that time to think things through.  She decided to add time in her day to journal so she could explore her thoughts and feelings and then uses guided body scans to focus during meditation. 

This is something that I hear often with people who are new to meditation.  It’s important to give yourself time to explore your thoughts and feelings so that when you engage in a formal meditation practice you have free space to sit and focus.

What was your favorite type of guided meditation when you first began and why?  Mine was the body scan because it taught me how to let go of focus on one area and move into another.