We have almost reached the end of this course, and before we wrap things up, I’d like to revisit some ideas on mindset. Your mindset is one of the most important things for your success in building habits and routines, so we are going to talk about it once more.
Creating a new routine or habit is not about being perfect every time, it is about making a choice to create positive change in your life one day at a time. Each day is a new opportunity, and if you forget or mess up one day, remember that there’s always tomorrow to start again. We need to let go of perfectionism and all or nothing thinking. Remember that if your routine or habit is not working out for you, you can make a new choice—you have options! Try to stay flexible if things do not work out the first time. While it is important to create structure around your new behavior (planning what you will do, doing it at the same time each day, preparing ahead of time so you have everything you will need to complete the activity), it is also important to allow yourself to adjust if the plan does not work out or you find you actually dislike the activity you picked to start out with.
Keep in mind that starting small is the best way to go—you do not have to run ten miles (or even one mile) at the start of a new running routine. You can start by running around your block, that counts! Try not to get into comparison thinking. You might get good ideas for new routines or behaviors from another person, but remember that what is most important is what works for you. Maybe you want to try meditating, and everyone you see meditating is doing it for thirty minutes a day. But you do not have thirty minutes every day to spend in meditation. That’s fine! Do you have five minutes at a regular time each day? Great, find those five minutes and schedule in your meditation. You are no less successful because you’re meditating for five minutes instead of thirty. Keep in mind that you get to define what success looks like for you, based on your circumstances and your goals. Just because someone else is doing it, doesn’t mean you have to do it in the exact same way.
What are the most challenging parts of this mindset shift for you? Do you struggle most with all or nothing thinking or perfectionism or comparison? Or maybe there’s something else you’re finding difficult in terms of mindset. Try to determine what you might need to work on. For me, I easily fall into all or nothing thinking, so I know that if I’m feeling frustrated or beating myself up about sticking with a new routine, I need to keep flexibility in mind and think to myself “What’s another option?”
Finally, think about what you’re giving to yourself through this new behavior, this new routine or habit you’re trying to build. Think of the new routine as a gift you’re giving yourself rather than a chore you have to do or should do. Putting in the work to turn a behavior into a positive routine or habit is a gift! Celebrate your successes and remember that you are doing this for yourself, you get to decide what it looks like for you, and you can always make a new choice if your current one is not working out. In the next and final lesson, we will put everything together and review what you’ve learned in this course.
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