Lately I hear this a lot: I want to establish my morning routine, I want to start taking dancing classes, bake once a week, eat less meat, travel more, read one book a month, decrease alcohol intake, and on and on, and all at the same time.
I often see people setting unrealistic expectations, about their life and what they can achieve, because nobody is kind in their goal/expectation setting. And it’s not their fault.
The self-help industry in America is worth a Billion dollars and they are constantly feeding us with information on how we can become better and bigger in our visions and dreams, and it is a never ending process. You never feel enough, and by the way there are books and practices about feeling enough! They just want to sell you more and really don’t care about the rest.
My favorite is when people try to be more mindful but wind up adding 10 activities to the list of stuff to be mindful about. And so while they try to achieve mindfulness they are at serious risk of losing their peace of mind.
I had a client who told me that her goal was to establish morning routine and the routine will include:
- Wake early in the morning meditate for 15 minutes
- Exercises for 20 minutes
- Be mindful in the shower
- Drink her coffee intentionally
- Write her gratitude list
- Do morning pages
And ALL of it before going to work.
You guessed it, she failed. She had never done any of those activities before, and was trying to implement something totally new into her daily life.
And that is why it’s important to choose your battles wisely. You may want to implement many wonderful things but first ask yourself:
- When will I have the time to do this during the week or month.
- Do I have the time and energy for it
- Is it something easy or I will have to use my will power to make it happen (hint: willpower is a limited resource – use it wisely!)
And so the first thing we did with my client was start building her morning routine just one activity at a time. We started with 5 minutes of meditation AND she also had to go to sleep early (Ok two activities!). Within a year we had built her meditation practice, leading to other life changes – she became less reactive and more centered.
Choose your battles or intentions wisely and remember everything takes time. Less is more. Start with one activity, break it down into small steps that you can do consistently.
It is not sexy, but it works!