The first short practice is one of my favourite daily life practices from Russ Harris. Each stage is more than it appears on first glance. It can help us to ‘open up, be present and do what matters’ in our lives.
I won’t say too much about the details here as I want to focus more on building a practice. If you want to explore more of the specifics then check my two videos on this tool on our the YouTube channel.
The first question is how many times a day are you going to do a short practice. 1, 3, 5 or more times? What time will work? First thing on waking or last thing at night? Will you link it with established existing routines (think first cup of tea or coffee, brushing your teeth, showering, washing up, climbing the stairs, walking somewhere, talking to someone, waiting for computer to load up etc) or use it as a mindful pause in your day?
Would it help to set reminders on your phone, sticky labels on the wall, writing out a plan or schedule, ticking it off in a diary?
Daily reflection can be a key part of establishing these habits. What is the why behind practice, what is motivating you? Is it about self-care, self-compassion and nurturing your mental health? Is it about improving effectiveness, focus, stress management, mastery? Is it about being more present, connected and patient with your loved ones? Reflect and mentally review the core values and motivation that sit behind this and think about your values congruent goals on a daily basis.
Appreciate and savour when you achieve it. Give yourself a ‘mental pat on the back’, congratulate and appreciate your hard work in your mental self-talk. Even give yourself a treat or reward in the material world to re-enforce your hard work! Do the things you procrastinate with after doing the hard work rather than before!
Would it help to work on this habit with a friend or family member. An accountability buddy or an online connection to help motivate you?
Setting a 30 day challenge is a great way to start a habit. And remember the principle of slip and recommit. We only have two choices – slip and give up or slip and recommit. Only one of these leads to sustainable behaviour change. Do this with compassion and you are far more likely to make lasting changes…