Thursday, May 22, 2014

Are you Disciplined Enough for a Meditation Practice?

I have been having a rough few months with my eating habits.  Funnily, I just developed and tested a Mind Fitness Program that helps groups make more mindful choices in their wellness! And although I have believed in choice for many years, I realized I had turned to trying to be disciplined over the last few months... and kept making unhealthy choices.

Many people that are trying to eat healthier or lose weight often use the phrase, "I should be more disciplined."  Well, I disagree.  Your discipline muscle will get tired after a while and you will give in to your cravings and old habits... UNLESS you create new habits that are meaningful for you.

You make choices in life.  You choose how to behave.  You choose what to think.  You choose to eat that chocolate bar... or not.  Being mindful means being aware of your choices... being aware of the impact they have... and not judging... yourself or others.

Practicing mindfulness is no different from eating healthy.  Your formal practice is very important for growing your mindfulness muscle, yet every single client I have had finds it difficult to meditate daily.  So do I some days!  So what is the problem?  And what is the solution?

Part of the problem is that you haven't found the reason that is meaningful for you to take on a mindfulness and meditation practice.  Is it to be healthier?  Is it so you can stop missing out on the moments in your life?  Is it so you can share it with others?  Is it so you can reduce stress?  Is it so you can be a better leader?  A calmer parent?  It doesn't matter what the reason is, you just have to have one.

Part of the problem is also that you may not truly see yourself as that kind of person.  So you try to change yourself by being disciplined.  But your discipline muscle depletes its energy and you are back to old habits because you have not truly chosen to be that kind of person.

What can you do?  Make a choice.  Choose to be a mindful person.  Choose to be that person that meditates each day.  Choose a lifestyle that works for behaving mindfully.  Choose how you design your weekly schedule and incorporate formal practice into it.  Choose to build a mindful team at work.  Choose to choose meditation.  And accept that whatever is... is.  Whatever you chose, you chose.  You can choose something different now... or tomorrow... or next month.  It's your choice!  And the outcomes from your choices are yours too.

Indeed, making the choices is not always easy - especially if you are not surrounded by like-minded people.  But guess what?  Every time you practice making the choice to be mindful, you have improved your mindfulness!  That's how it works.  Before you know it, you will believe wholeheartedly that you ARE that kind of person... the kind that meditates... or the kind that eats healthy... or the kind that rides a bike to work... or the kind that remains calm in a stressful situation.... or the kind that lives life to the fullest.... You are whatever you choose.  

So what's your choice? 

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