In my last blog post I talked about how making a tiny goal can help you to fly under the radar of resistance (if you haven’t read it yet you can look here). I made the tiny goal to work on my blog for 30 minutes a day with almost no expectations that it will turn out well.
Here’s the thing: I wrote that blog post while my children were in camp (my husband and I were working at the same camp but we had a lot of free time to read, write etc). Once we all returned home, everything got thrown off. I didn’t write a thing for over a week. With each day that went by, it got a little harder get back with the program.
This is how life goes. It’s hard to get momentum because, well, life. Someone gets sick, there’s a holiday, you’re traveling - and it messes with your routine. As the saying goes, the only thing that is constant is change.
So knowing this, how do we ride the waves of this erratic ocean called life?
Here’s one life surfing move you might try - I’ll call it a comeback.
If you’ve ever been in a meditation class I’m sure you’ve heard instructions that go something like this: Stay with the breath as it comes in and out through your nose. When you find your mind wandering, simply come back to the breath. WHEN you find your mind wandering. Not IF. WHEN. That’s how the mind works. It wanders.
Our lives are like one big mindfulness practice. It wanders. Just come back. Easy, right?
Not so much. The comeback is simple move but humans are hella complicated. The main thing that gets in the way of us coming back is our negative self talk. Our mind clutter. Our stories. We tell ourselves if we were only more X, Y or Z we wouldn’t have to come back - we would just always be able to stay with. Don’t believe it.
The real challenge in meditation and in living a mindful life is NOT the capacity to stay with the breath, or your writing or whatever your goal is with no wandering - it’s to come back as quickly as you can without beating yourself up.
This week I tried a new practice that has been very helpful to me. When I find myself going down the path of negative self talk, as soon as I notice, I sweetly say to myself (like a mother with wide open arms to her child) it’s ok honey, just come back. Just come back.
If you find that the comeback is not enough, and you still have a goal, that you more often than not, can’t reach, then you might need to make some tweaks. Is the goal realistic (is it tiny enough)? What might need to change internally or externally to make reach your goal? What kind of support do you need?
In order for me to reach my goal of writing for 30 minutes a day it meant shifting my schedule.
When the kids are in school my normal routine is to wake up, walk the dog, make the beds, unload the dishwasher, deal with any breakfast mess and start a load of laundry. I like starting the morning with a clean house - it’s calming to me. And it helps me to write.
But that routine was not working with my kids home because, well, kids.
Luckily I have teenagers that never leave their beds before 10am (at the earliest) So I realized that I have to write before they wake up. I can do all of those cleaning things while they are awake but in order to write I need to have no interruptions.
This week has been a comeback week for me. I went to a Yoga class for the first time since I had my appendix out a year and a half ago. I went swimming three times. I’m writing. Not every day - which is still my goal - but most days.
Now, I’d love to hear from you!
What do you want to come back to? What story are you telling yourself that’s making it harder to come back? What tweaks can you make to get more support for your goals?