I am flummoxed by my inability to build habits. I know, I know, there are steps to take and ways to do it. But they defeat me all too often! Honestly, much of it is my desire to do things differently each day. I resist routine. But even in my resistance I have found I can take one good step to good processes for getting things done. Almost like habits. I engage in various practices.
To engage in a practice or to develop practices is powerful tool. Think of powerful tools — the Jedi’s light sabre, a firefighters’ truck and all that’s on it, an artist’s brush, the singer’s voice, Thor’s hammer — all powerful and productive in their own way. I believe we need to engage in practices, build habits, or develop new routines to help us accomplish things. We can help ourselves succeed in anything by making choices and setting up practices.
A practice is something you do regularly in working toward a process or goal. Practices apply to work, faith, relationships, study…we need to develop practices that bring us to where we want to go. No one knows how to do something instantly. It takes practice or engaging in practices.
For instance, i enjoy setting up the environment where I do my work. Setting up space is a practice that helps me concentrate/go deep/accomplish things. Even the practice of setting aside the space, making it fit me for work helps bring my focus stronger. I change my space regularly and use the practice of setting it up fresh again and again.
Practices come in many forms. Some will work better for you, others not so much.
Journaling is foreign to a lot of people but it can be a powerful practice. By journalling you can keep track of thoughts, dreams, conversations with God, inspiring verses or quotes and why you do what you do! Journalling can be a stretch for many people. But if you start out small, just jotting a few thoughts from quiet time or keeping track of important things in your day it can help you to move ahead in your endeavours.
Study is a practice. One many never really enjoy. They study only if they have to, in fits and starts. It’s something they are forced to endure for school. (I don’t say education since education is far more than school) They stop as soon as they can. Or they stop as soon as a distraction pops up.
Although it can be foreign and even painful especially to students who struggle with it, study can be pleasurable. It depends on what you study, how good your teacher or prof is at drawing you into the subject matter and how alive your curiosity is. If I’m into a book or area of study I can spend hours reading and even taking notes (gasp) as it. And these days, I know it’s more difficult with on-line learning. But even online learning can get better by using practices to help.
The practice of saying ‘no’ to stuff will free us up to accomplish what matters to us rather than other people’s expectations. Someone always has something urgent for you to do. Sometimes it must be done because it’s your job or necessary for your family. Do it. But sometimes it’s not. You can say ‘no’ because it’s not really your problem or isn’t your priority.
Cleaning is a practice that feeds healthy lifestyle and helps our mental health and organization. For most people it’s not fun. (Okay maybe it’s not fun for anyone!) But it helps our homes to function. It keeps germs, mold and bacteria which threaten our health from growing. Cleaning and tidying helps us to manage our homes and workspaces daily. A mess can be disheartening and sap your energy as you start your day. It can cause you to miss paying bills, meeting deadlines or having opportunities to do things and enjoy life. And by cleaning your space you have space instead of clutter around you.
These are just a few practices that can make a difference in our lives. And by engaging in these practices we get better at them and then we improve in our various pursuits.
There are so many practices you could start to help you in your day. Why not try one of the above or something else for the next month (might build a habit) and see what a difference it makes.