How do I change my bad habit?
Most people want an answer to☝🏼 that ☝🏼question. As you know, I’m a firm believer that when you change your outlook, you can change your life (hence the name Outlook Good, Feel Good), and my favorite way to do this is through mindfulness and somatic experiencing. If you want to learn more about somatic experiencing, I cannot recommend @wakingwomb enough. She’s my go-to guide whenever I crave more space for somatic experiencing practices.
How do we take a mindful approach to changing negative patterns?
All our negative habits are tied to our beliefs or perspective about the world (conscious or subconscious beliefs). These are directly related to how we see our experience. What we see in the world around us and what we believe to be true of ourselves, friends, family, etc., become the birthplace of motivation to take (or not take) action.
Concrete Examples, Please!
Say you find yourself on social media looking at the feed of a new acquaintance. Their pictures look perfect. You grow to believe their life is perfect, and in comparison, your life doesn’t come close.
Or maybe you stumble upon an old picture of yourself and think, “If only I could be that skinny again.” You reinforce the belief that your body is not healthy or lovable as it is right now.
In both these scenarios, we build beliefs based on the things we see, and the things we see become beliefs we hold, whether we’re conscious of this process or not.
What’s wrong with building beliefs?
Nothing is wrong with building your life around the beliefs and values that are important to you. The only problem is when these beliefs are mindlessly guiding your life or when your beliefs aren’t grounded in reality.
If you’re not conscious of your belief that “only skinny bodies are healthy bodies,” for example, you wouldn’t think to educate yourself on fat bias in healthcare and western medicine. As a result, you’ll fall victim to every diet that promises to help you lose weight for good, which is an exhausting, futile attempt to control the aesthetics of your body. In this example, your belief (only skinny bodies are healthy bodies) is a mindless one.
In the example of the “perfect” social media acquaintance, you’re measuring your whole, complex lived experience to the highlight reel of your acquaintance’s life, which can leave you feeling hopeless or worse like your life is not good enough (when it absolutely is!). In this instance, your perception isn’t an accurate portrait of reality.
What can we do about these damaging patterns?
Changing our patterns is a complex process, so don’t expect this to be a one-and-done deal. Consistent effort is SUPER important, so we’ll break down this process in the following several emails, but one thing you can begin to do right now is say “maybe.” When we challenge what we see, we can help ourselves mindfully engage with reality and not our perception of it.
Maybe this person’s life is perfect.
Maybe my body was skinnier in that photo.
Maybe I don’t have enough time to exercise.
Maybe I’m too tired to make dinner.
As you can see, this doesn’t solve the whole problem, but it will help us be more mindful of the circumstances where we misjudge the situation.
Your mission for the next two weeks is to say maybe for the beliefs that aren’t serving you, then tune into how you feel afterward. What sensations do you notice? What emotions? Where do you notice them? Just get curious about your experience – that’s your number one priority. 😊
Next time I check in with you, we’ll add to your toolbox for times when saying maybe doesn’t bring about the change you desire.
Until then, I’m cheering for ya from afar!
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