There have been many books written about the subject of humanity’s attempt to improve their daily practices. I don’t have a book for you today – just a little epiphany that occurred to me this past month that I will share.
I’m sure you’ve all had the occasion to say, “I’ve GOT to start doing this! I’ve GOT to add this positive habit into my daily routine! But I don’t know how!”
Our days are already filled with habits, whether we know it or not. Especially in the morning, and perhaps also in the evening. Our morning coffee. Perhaps an evening glass of wine.
We have no problem with keeping the appointment with this habit. It comes naturally like breathing. If only we could make other new practices happen the same way!
Attach your habits. Piggyback them. Link them.
Let me explain.
In the past year I have became acquainted with green matcha tea. It is extremely healthy for you, but that is not the focus of this blog. I began drinking the tea first thing in the morning, a morning ritual, where I sat and savored it, and gave it the moment of mindfulness it deserved. I was unwavering in this ritual.
But I had been unsuccessful in my life to come up with a method of incorporating meditation into my life in the way that I really wanted to. I wanted to make the habit of meditation convenient and have it occur easy and naturally.
Then it dawned on me. They say meditation is best in the morning. My morning matcha tea habit was firmly ingrained in me, and while drinking it, I was being quiet and still, so … hmmm.
Link the meditation habit to the tea habit! I began a meditation practice while drinking my tea!
It was only fitting. I had read that over a thousand years ago Japanese monks had discovered that matcha tea helped them be alert, calm and focused. Science has since confirmed that it is the amino acid, L-theanine, that creates relaxed alertness.
The linking method was successful.
By linking a “difficult to set up” habit to an already easily practiced habit, I was able to establish this new habit in my daily practice. I liken it to how train cars are attached, one to another.
I had linked two habits. Could I link more? I drank my tea and meditated. Now it was time for – a little morning stretching? A little yoga? The possibilities are endless!
What habit do you want to start? Is it something that will go along with your morning coffee or tea, or another established habit of yours?
Link a “difficult” habit to an “easy” habit and you will be on your way!