The person reading this post today was not made overnight, he/she was created over many years and thousands of choices. Making a conscious effort to work on being your best self consists of daily action. So, what are you doing each day to inch your way closer to your best self?
Start by making 1 conscious choice when you wake up and you will change the trajectory of your entire day. Creating a morning routine is an entirely different beast to tackle, but you can absolutely win the day by making a choice for your healing, health, and wellness.
Ask yourself, “What area of my life needs the most improvement?” For me, it was my relationship with myself, always negative and being put on the back burner. If I didn’t get ahead of this at the beginning of the day I never stood a chance. So each morning I made a conscious choice to start my morning with an affirmation and a hug. This may not be your cup of Hennessy and that’s alright, find what is. Inner Work is all about getting to know who you are and who you wish to be.
There are lots of 4 week challenges to create a habit, but once those 30 days are up and you’ve stopped showing up, is it still considered a habit? Nope. Start slow and be realistic.
Ask yourself, “What is holding me back from being better than I was yesterday?” Get honest with yourself about how you spend your time, the energy you invest in your habits, and how they actually benefit you. From there you can start with letting go of 1 habit that is holding you back, and start to incorporate a new habit that will bring you closer to where you want to be. I once read that Jerry Seinfeld had a practice called Don’t Break The Chain, where he would mark the calendar with a giant red X on the days that he practiced his craft. If he didn’t practice, there was no red X, hence he broke the chain (also his calendar was hanging by a chain, but you get the jist). Keep yourself accountable with visual reminders and remember, it’s only a habit if you do it daily.
This one is going to be challenging on multiple levels, starting with the fact that you are essentially fighting yourself with every thought. When it comes to changing your thoughts and shifting your thoughts to a more positive attitude, it’s all about getting back up again.
You are going up against a powerful source that has been growing more powerful with every pattern. Each time you say something negative, or quit on yourself, or go back to the person who hurt you, or decide that you’ll start tomorrow, you reinforce the mindset you’re trying to fight. It’s going to take persistence, patience, mental strength and mindful awareness to chip away at the old ways of thinking to create a new, more fruitful path. The inner work for this will test you and that is your opportunity to rise, to practice being your best self.
Prioritize time for intentional movement every day. NO EXCUSE. 30 minutes would be truly be ideal but it’s much better to be honest with yourself and start small. Make movement a non-negotiable daily action. Choose to take the steps instead of the elevator, take a walk outside when you get the chance, move with the intention of showing up for your body the way it constantly shows up for you.
Part of the homework I give as a personal trainer is to choose 1 stretch for a particular muscle that is constantly tight or giving you an issue. Give it attention, show it some gentle compassion, be the change you want to see your body exhibit and do it everyday.
Prioritizing time for stillness everyday is an excellent tool for reflection, or sometimes just a breath of fresh air. When you’re always on the go, always feeling the need to be doing, chances are you’re doing just to do.
Daily inner work teaches you that sometimes you’re occupying your time with busy work just so you don’t have to sit with whatever it is you’re thinking or feeling. This is one of those habits you want to try and break ASAP, because you have to be with yourself everyday, why not learn how to practice it peacefully? Practicing stillness for the mind is as rejuvenating as movement for the body, it’s the lubricant your soul needs to revitalize itself.
The choices you make generate the habits you create, both of which are part of your daily inner work. Instead of taking a quantum leap into drastic changes, start small and start with self-awareness. Notice which choices and habits are burdens in your life and which ones are propelling you forward. Mindset is how you approach your habits, choices, inner work, and overall being. When you go into something seeking the positive you are more likely to find it, therefore the mindset you adapt will be an effective tool for skill set and resilience building.
Then you have movement for the body and stillness for the mind, both are essential for your well-being. While the mind works better after relaxing and practicing pause, the body needs to keep moving. Keeping yourself mobile is significant when you begin to consider all of the things you want to accomplish in your day. The more able your body is to move, bend, twist, and lift the better capable you are to keep up with your daily tasks. The final of the five is stillness, or the practice of being with yourself in this very moment. Such a simple task can often be incredibly challenging because of all the stimuli we experience everyday.
So what are you waiting for? Start right now! While you’re fired up and can easily picture sliding these activities into your schedule. Start with 1 or jump into all 5, be realistic with your planning but don’t be afraid to push your limits. And if you ever get discouraged or fall off the wagon, just start all over again. Keep committing to your progress because the only way the results show up is if you consistently show up and do the inner work.
Love. Heal. Grow