Establishing New Habits

This week, I’m in the second set of guided pages in my Happy Journal. And so I thought I would do something very similar to the last spread I created and use stickers in the same colours as each section. These stickers are from the coordinating sticker books for this journal: Happy Goals and Live Creatively, as well as the Detailed Florals book, by The Happy Planner.

I also added some foil florals and strips of washi (this is the Lauren washi tape by Illustrated Faith). I’ve learned from last week’s “busy looking” spread so I’m keeping both of these to a minimum this time. See the video linked below to see how it comes together.

For wellness, I’m continuing with the challenge from The Science of Well-being course. I’m in the final week of practicing meditation, or mindfulness really, to keep my mind in the present and focused on the positives.

Each week of this assignment phase of the course, we were given a tip to help us succeed in practicing this habit long term.

The first is to have a plan.

Have a firm idea of how often to practice the habit, where, when, how, etc. An important part of this is to anticipate potential obstacles and have a plan to overcome them.

Happy Journal Orange Section Moving Towards Best Life

I didn’t have much of a plan as I was practicing mindfulness and not the classic form of meditation. I just made myself a promise to be aware of my thoughts and when it started to wander, go through the process of returning it to the present and/or choose to find the positive.

The second is to involve others.

Tell them about the change we are trying to accomplish. This helps us to commit to it, and hopefully get encouragement from them on the journey.

I guess I am doing this to some degree here on the blog as well as YouTube. I also share my experience with my husband as well as my friend who recommended the course to me in the first place.

The third is to make changes in our environment to increase our likelihood of success.

For example, if the habit is to exercise more at home, then having the equipment and gear in a more accessible or attractive place might help. If it is to improve nutrition and eat better, then perhaps editing the pantry to remove the “unsavoury” food items would make that easier.

Now being at home with younger kids, the challenge in my environment is that it gets noisy. There’s only so much that can be done to reduce the noise. I’ve already created times for quiet during the day and especially in the evening as we prepare for sleep. My kids also have a play area on a lower level where they can freely be their noisy selves and I usually retreat upstairs to get a quiet break myself. This works well most days, so I would say my physical environment is what it is.

As my habit has more to do with the mind, I’m focused on making improvements to that environment. One bit of insight I received last week was that my brain is overwhelmed because I was taking in too much information unnecessarily. During my downtime, I was watching a lot of movies on my phone; “a lot” as in almost daily. I enjoyed doing this, of course; it was an opportunity to relax, turn off, maybe have a laugh. I don’t see anything wrong with that. But, in addition to this, my family, especially my husband, likes to watch movies while we spend time together on the weekend. So it just became too much in the end for me to take in.

My plan this week was to limit that – my unnecessary intake of information. And to give my mind a rest by doing quieter activities during my downtime like knitting or doing something crafty or creative.

The final tip we received was to have a growth mindset.

This means to see this challenge as a learning experience and be focused more on progress. It takes time and practice to establish new habits and there will be times of failure. We just have to learn from them, get back at it and keep taking those steps forward in the right direction.

Happy Journal Blue Section Moving Towards Best Life

Here’s how that all went.

I was initially going to say “epic fail!” because this was the most unmotivated, low energy and unproductive week I’ve had in a long time.

By Wednesday, I was at the status quo; nothing had changed and I continued to consume media in an attempt to relax. Every time I tried to do a task I had planned, even a creative and fun one, I would feel like “I really don’t want to do this right now” and walked away. This was perplexing and annoying!

But that same day, I had a chat with a friend who pointed out that I was indeed drained and needed to find an activity that truly relaxes me. So, I deleted the apps from my phone and spent the rest of the day doing some chores.

The rest of the week was still spent struggling to do things and my mind and body rebelling. It didn’t occur to me until today, that all these tasks I wanted to do involved some degree of thinking. And, what my body actually wanted was a break from mental work. In my routine of “doing”, getting those to-dos checked off, and being productive, I just wasn’t able to see that.

So, upon further reflection, I was successful in resting my mind this week. Thanks for forcing me into it, Body!

Is there a habit you’re trying to establish? I encourage you to make a plan, get support and try your best. If the results aren’t what you anticipated, then show yourself grace, learn and persevere.

Joy & Peace, Sister!

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