The New Year is a time of reflection and rededication to striving to overcome bad habits. In reflecting on my own personal growth journey and the areas that continue to challenge me, I decided it was time to work on it in a more disciplined and structured way. My old way of approaching things has helped me only so far. Now I have decided that I need to shift the balance. Up until now, I emphasized acceptance over change, when it came to personal habits. I accepted my own difficulty maintaining structure and the need to keep starting over and over again.
This new blog is part of the new plan.
Setting my intentions and committing to them publicly is a way of holding myself accountable and receiving support for my efforts. I also plan to be more systematic in my approach. Instead of trying to change several things at once, I am learning from my experience. What I noticed is that when I focused on being more disciplined about one thing, it became harder to be more disciplined about another thing. Recently, I was going to the gym twice a week and exercising at home other mornings. When I tried to be more structured in my meditation practice, my exercise routine suffered. So I intend to focus on one goal at a time and to stick with that goal until it is a more automatic part of my routine before trying to change something else.
There is some research to back up this approach. In a review by Mark Muraven and Roy Baumeister in the 2000 edition of the Psychological Bulletin (Vol. 126, No. 2) entitled, “Self-Regulation and Depletion of Limited Resources: Does Self-Control Resemble a Muscle?”, the authors concluded that the inhibition component of executive functioning relies on a limited, consumable resource, that needs replenishment. Resisting temptation to indulge in extra sleep or go on the computer instead of meditating in the morning, for example, would make it harder to exert self-control to follow through on exercising.
So once meditating is more of an automatic habit, then it won’t be using up my self-control reserve and I can apply it to become more consistent about exercise. So far, I have meditated every morning for the past week. I am off to a good start!
Now the question remains, how long do I need to work on meditation before I can move on to focus on exercise? More on that in next week’s post.
What intentions are you setting for the new year? What strategies are you using to try to achieve your goals?