We inevitably fall back on old habits and routines during our journey towards self- betterment, and when this happens it’s easy to feel discouraged, like a failure, and out of control.
When we feel like we cannot stop the chaotic whirlwind of our lives, we tend to dismiss our own self-agency.
This is especially true during the holidays. We’re encouraged to relax a bit on our goals, to take it easy. It feels like a break from routine, and we let this act as an excuse for slacking off.
I used to struggle with getting off track. Every time I’d try something new, I’d be solid for a few days. Then, I’d inevitably slip up. Instead of getting right back on track, I’d wallow in the fact that I’d messed up; I’d take it as further confirmation that I was subject to uncontrollable forces within me and that resistance is futile.
Willpower is like a muscle: the more you exercise it, the stronger it will get. You have to shoulder on through the failures. Psychologists call these moments of struggle “inflection points.” Maybe we’re at a restaurant that doesn’t cater to our new vegan diet, or maybe we visit a friend who drinks socially, and this ends your sobriety goals. We all know this pattern; one slip up tends to derail the whole project.
There are many ways to combat this, and I’ll be giving away a lengthy guide to sticking to your habits soon, exclusively for email subscribers (so make sure to sign up). However, one of the most powerful tools I’ve come across is to schedule in an hour or so once a week–say, every Sunday, or whatever day and time works for you–to review your goals, make honest assessments of where you are, and plan out the week to come.
I treat these days as a spiritual discipline, because you are making time for renewal and refocus.
I ask myself what the most important thing for me to work on is, recommit to the habits I’ve been building, and feel gratitude for myself and for the universe. I use it as an opportunity to clean my living space up, and put things back where they go. Doing so seems to signal to my brain that I am starting fresh and on a new slate.
It’s by far the best practice I have developed recently for staying on track, and I highly recommend it!
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