Given that today is January 4th, most of you would not be. Yet… as bashing New Year resolutions is the new hobby for most of us in December and January of every year, we forget one of the most powerful drivers behind those resolutions.
January 1st gives us a clean slate.
Yes, yes. You can start on Monday. You can start now. You can start at 4.56pm on a Thursday night sometime in March.
Yet… January 1st. NEW year.
Anything you do on January 1st is SO EASY to do again on January 2nd, and again on January 3rd, and then 4th.
And then like me, you get to say: “I did X every single day this year”.
Even if you have been sedentary for twenty years, if you go for a walk on January 1st, and then again on January 2nd, you get to enjoy that consistency. That illusion of habit. That imaginary routine.
Sure, it’s just pretend. So what?
You can ride on pretend for a very long time. Sometimes, long enough to ACTUALLY make something into a habit.
One of my goals for 2014 was to build up a meditation practice. Note, we are not talking anything super involved here. Five minute meditation – done first thing after I wake up (yes, even before coffee).
My longest streak was 30 days in a row. And you know what? That was not difficult. What was difficult was to find the motivation to meditate again (notice how you can insert any behavior of choice here – exercise, eat vegetables, not smoke), once I missed ONE day. Just one.
Well, fuck it, right?
I ruined everything.
Every day or bust.
And I went without meditating for weeks.
The difficult part was to meditate sometimes. To meditate when I felt like it. To meditate every few days. To meditate just because.
July – 14 times. August – 11 times. September – 16 times. October – 3 times. November – 2 times. December – 6 times.
If all works out, this will be the longest streak of any behavioral change I have ever taken on.
I may love it. I may hate it. I may decide in a year that I do not actually want/need a meditation practice. I may wonder how I have ever functioned without it. But until next January, those questions do not matter.
Are you doing anything big and scary in 2016?
I want to hear about it. 🙂
Are you looking for a meditation app? Here are THREE that I recommend:
1. Insight Timer
The app that I started with – simple, few bells and whistles. It does not provide a lot of choice, and that’s exactly what I love about it – I do not have an opportunity to get lost in choosing the background theme.
This is the app I currently use (Premium edition). Calm has options for a simple timer, or guided meditations (what are consistently very high quality). I loved their 7-day free beginner course, and also some of the longer courses (10-day and 21-day) available to upgraded subscriptions. I also a big fan of the built-in tracking calendar, which marks the days you meditated in any given month, and also tracks your streaks.
This is perhaps the most direct competitor of Calm. I have heard great things, but couldn’t get over the male voice. He sounded perfectly pleasant, but I found something creepy about it, and as I was living alone in my condo at a time… Nope.
YOUR TURN: What are you going to do differently this year? What will you do the same as last year? What has been your longest behavior streak?