Episode 95: Building New Habits

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“This initiatory period of change may last from one to six weeks, or even longer. Unless the desire to change remains strong, body and mind tend to return to old, familiar patterns. It takes time--from three to six months--for old habits to become obsolete. By the end of that time, you’ll have adapted to a new pattern. In a sense, you’ll have found a new way of life.” ~ Dan Millman from Body Mind Mastery

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Building New Habits

“This initiatory period of change may last from one to six weeks, or even longer. Unless the desire to change remains strong, body and mind tend to return to old, familiar patterns. It takes time--from three to six months--for old habits to become obsolete. By the end of that time, you’ll have adapted to a new pattern. In a sense, you’ll have found a new way of life.” ~ Dan Millman from Body Mind Mastery

Reminds me of Seneca, the classic Stoic philosopher born in the Roman Empire about the same time Jesus was born. He says this in his classic Letters from a Stoic: “You have to persevere and fortify your pertinacity until the will to good becomes a disposition to good.”

Translated: you’ve gotta put in the time and demonstrate some strong will power so that your WILL to do the right thing becomes a DISPOSITION to do the right thing.

He also says: “How much better to pursue a straight course and eventually reach that destination where the things that are pleasant and the things that are honorable finally become, for you, the same.”

So, building some new habits? Keep your goal REALLY clear and you’re will REALLY strong to shape a new disposition.

One of my tricks? I like to say that certain things are “non-negotiable.” For example, eight months ago I committed to meditating for an hour every morning upon waking. I’d done a 10-day Vipassana meditation but when I got back it didn’t stick. Realizing the importance of training my mind and meditation as a powerful vehicle to do this, I decided to build the practice.

Now, in the past, I’d only meditate when I “felt like it.” Hah. This time around I decided the commitment was “non-negotiable.” I KNEW I’d wake up some morning and not “feel” like it. And I knew that it was on THOSE mornings when the habit would either be installed our thwarted. So, when I had the inevitable, whiney “But I don’t feel like it!” mornings (when I was able to conjure up all kinds of really sensible reasons why I deserved a day off! :), I told that part of myself that the practice wasn’t up for discussion.

It was non-negotiable. And, now, 250+ days into it, I’m groovin’ and excited to effortlessly cross the 1,000+ day threshold and beyond!

Back to you: What new habit are you gonna rock? :)