Habit vs Practice

Habit vs Practice

Human beings are creatures of habit. Habits shape our lives, our future, and our destiny.  We tend to derive comfort in the consistency of everyday activities, like drinking coffee in the morning, brushing our teeth, or reading the paper. But many habits are harmful, like worrying too much, being on the internet for hours, or watching too much TV for escape. If a habit contributes to your well-being, such as regular exercise or keeping a clean house, fine. But many habits are often unconscious, mindless, and automatic.

In contrast, when we choose a practice that will help us grow and evolve, we become more mindful. We become more aware of our behaviors, thoughts, and actions. Practice is a conscious choice and requires time and attention. Practice enhances our life and improves our skills in the area we focus on.

For the New Year, instead of making resolutions that are difficult to keep, why not simply ease into a new practice? Start slowly. Ask yourself what habits are sustainable. What habits serve you? What habits do not serve you? Make a list and decide which habits you’d like to continue and which habits are no longer viable.

Choose the most useless or harmful habit, like ruminating or obsessing about your adult child. Get rid of it. Start a new practice – one of consciousness. Commit to a daily practice. For example, instead of existing on automatic, choose to practice mindfulness. When thoughts of your estranged adult child creep into your mind, gently say, “My child, I know you have to live your life on your own terms. I love you, and I always will. But, I love myself enough to let you go. I hope you’ll come back, but until then, my life is good, I’m happy, and I have faith that everything will get better.” Practice this everyday.

The holidays are very difficult for estranged parents and grandparents. Many of us waste this beautiful season worrying and obsessing about our adult child. We wonder if they will call, send a text or acknowledge us in any way. Before we know it, we’ve cried our way through the holidays and suddenly find ourselves on the threshold of a new year, exhausted by the intensity of our emotions.

What a great time to begin again. Commit to the practice of positive thinking and acceptance. Practice self- love. Practice detachment. Make hope and faith part of your practice. Open your mind. Fill your heart with love. Believe that all is as it needs to be and just relax.

In the words of Les Brown: Always realize that you can get better. Your best work has not been done yet. Practice! Practice! Practice!

Happy New Year to all of you who have followed my blog for all these years. I’m so grateful.