My 3 Day Technique for Establishing A Practice

I have noticed a pattern in my life which pertains to any new practice I wish to undertake. It may be a new daily meditation routine, visualization routine, running, or diet. I find there is almost always a 3 day adjustment period. What I mean is it takes me about 3 days of intentional focus before my mind and body begin adjusting to the new experience. I don’t necessarily form a new habit in that time. Instead what I find is I’ve gained momentum making me want to stay with it. I also notice everything else in my life starts to shift in order to accommodate my new lifestyle change.

If I’ve been diligent, about a week and a half or roughly 10 days into my new routine, the seeds of change take root.  By that time, I have become more efficient and better able to plan. I even notice subtle improvements in my performance. If it’s meditation, I will be able to breath deeper and quiet my mind more easily. I’ll be able to stay longer. If it’s a physical exercise I’ll start feeling more flexible or stronger as I gain new muscle memory. If it’s a diet, I feel more satisfied on less and not quite so tempted to eat junk food. I believe all of this is a result of establishing new neural pathways.

Then around days 11 through 21 is when I start experiencing a leveling off of my initial motivation. Occasionally I might feel the temptation to slack off, and make excuses to get out of whatever it is I am doing. If that happens I will spend a couple minutes reconnecting with my desire.  If for whatever reason I feel tired, emotional or unfocused, I find it best to turn off my brain and just get started.

Some people say 30 days is best but I find at around 6 weeks of sustained focus I often experience a major surge in my performance. I will have figured out my optimal training times, made the internal adjustments, and will have significantly improved quality of my practice. I also will know if I want to continue with what I am doing or if I want to start another practice.

Just don’t forget, three days can also be enough to establish negative patterns.

 

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The Commitment Step to BIG Change

Several times in my life I have procrastinated with certain tasks or major goals of which I believe could have been accomplished very easily had I just gotten started. There is something daunting about taking on a major task which causes me to sometimes go blank. I suppose it’s from intimidation of not knowing where to begin.

Of course that’s the problem.

In most cases, all I really needed to do was take one blind step in the general direction. Just those one small step towards my goal was often all that was needed and the path became more lit up for me. And it’s sad when I have come to the realization that I could have gotten started on many things so much sooner because I didn’t commit one step.

I feel it’s important to remember. If there is anything major that needs or wants my attention and I am procrastinating. STOP thinking about it as one monumental challenge. Sometimes all you really need is ONE step and let inspiration do the rest.

One step might mean getting out of bed early in the morning and just putting on my running clothes in order to validate my desire to run every day.

One step may mean learning a new recipe today on my way to becoming a better cook.

If one step means today I will write one paragraph towards my novel, that’s a powerful first step.

Even holding the intention to take first step might be enough and, if my one step doesn’t make it happen than I can try another step. Inspiration doesn’t have to hit the first time out. All that needs to happen is an internal YES.

Of course one step won’t drastically change my life but it’s the gateway to everything!

Disposable World

Yesterday I felt inspired to purge useless things from my life.  I went through my entire apartment clearing out things which I seldom or never use, or things I own but which are functionally flawed in some way. Usually those items are of cheap quality.

I also cleared out several appliances like a water boiler, a blender, lamps, a spare computer, cell phone, a cheap tablet,  and some sporting goods. I realized I purchased some of these items based on some future need, though that need was never realized. Throughout this process I had a few insights which have left me profoundly changed.

For one thing,  I consistently use only a handful of items that I own. I wear the same clothes most of the year while the rest hang or are packed away. I must have purchased them on an emotional whim or with some special occasion in mind.

By the end of the day I donated 2 full bags to Goodwill and recycled several other things.

What I learned from this experience is, I would rather have fewer things but higher quality things. I know there are certain items which I will always have use for, so why not purchase something I’ll feel good about for a long time?

One such item of quality I have decided to purchase is a Vitamix blender. Although they are expensive they do a fantastic job and as a bonus they are made in the USA. I have nothing against something made in China but it’s really nice to know that my country still makes things.  When I think about past substandard blenders I have owned, this one will live up to my expectations and I will want to hold onto for a very long time.

As I think about my clothes, I will say I don’t usually opt for expensive quality.  I like cute but cheap fashionable things. So with that regard, I will continue to buy clothes I like after a couple years, I’ll just toss them or donate them. To keep it balanced I am going to follow the one thing in, one thing out rule.

One other major change I plan on making is to avoid shops like The Dollar Store, Big Lots or Walmart. I don’t personally have anything against these places nor do I think their stuff is low quality. If I were poor and had no other choice I would be very pleased places like these exist. It’s just that these companies can indirectly encourage us to always need more things. And if we are always needing more we don’t appreciate what we already have.

I wonder if when we shop for extremely cheap items, some part of our minds gets conditioned to being wasteful with other areas of life. How many of us have a lot of stuff but don’t have enough time, friends, love ETC? I am not saying we should give up buying things, but what if invested more of ourselves into our values, our families and our communities? What if we stop filling our lives with frivolous things, and spend more time reconnecting with the world?

How many things can we live without and feel abundant? Somehow I feel more complete knowing I don’t need a lot to enjoy life. I still want things, but my things don’t own me.

An Unconditional Gratitude Exercise

What On Earth is Unconditional Gratitude?

Unconditional gratitude is about experiencing a state of appreciation regardless of conditions in your life. It is a heightened state of thankfulness,  joy and sometimes euphoria that is experienced regardless of external validation. In fact I believe seeking external validation to be a distraction keeping people from their own limitless powers.

Why Unconditional Gratitude?

How is having unconditional gratitude going to change my circumstances for the better? If my life still sucks, or I have had an unfair deal, what would be the point of being grateful? Aren’t I just fooling myself? How will that help me get rich, meet someone special or live the life I want?

Unconditional gratitude is not about dismissing your circumstances, or pretending they don’t exist. It’s more like experiencing yourself in a different way.  People already do this when they watch a good movie, eat food, or engage in pleasurable activities. They often don’t know the reason they are doing it other than they enjoy it. The good news is you can experience a heightened sense of reality be experiencing unconditional gratitude without the consequences of spending money or gaining weight.

Imagine being able to feeling of joy and pleasure which comes from feeling gratitude any time any where!

A Bizarre Exercise I Do to Generate Unconditional Gratitude

Before I explain the exercise, I found a couple ways I like to think about a relationship with Gratitude. These are just my views and you can share them or think about them differently if you wish:

  1. Viewing Gratitude as an infinite source of flowing spiritual energy like a river from which you can draw from whenever you want to.OR
  2. A mental conditioning exercise that creates new neural pathways to better feelings. Much like building muscle or learning a new skill the more you practice the more automatic natural it becomes.

My Favorite Technique

The first thing I like to do is find some quiet time, or find a place where I like to focus. I like to keep my mind distraction free so that I can really get into this exercise.

Then what I like to do is take a couple of deep breaths, and really concentrate on the feeling of gratitude.  I don’t necessarily focus on any particular external thing which I am grateful for but if it helps getting the feelings flowing than I’ll go with it.

Now once I find the feeling of gratitude, I simply acknowledge it. It doesn’t matter if it’s brief. I could experience that feeling for half second but to me that’s enough to know I have connected. The next step is, repeat, repeat and repeat. What I like to is write the word “gratitude” on a piece of lined paper, and every time I get that feeling, I add a check mark until I have completed one line. Than I will write the word on another line and began again.

Sometimes this exercise can be challenging because I am either focusing too hard, or other thoughts and emotions are distracting me. If it gets to the point where I can’t focus anymore, I usually stop the exercise for about a minute to reset myself. It’s my version of catching my breath when doing a physical workout. Usually just a minute break will get me flowing again.

I usually do this for about 30 minutes to an hour every morning. Once I get going with this exercise I find it very enjoyable. It feels like a game where my goal is to see if I can fill that page with check marks. I haven’t timed it but I usually fill half a page with gratitude every morning. Some days this exercise gets me so high, I can’t even describe what it’s like. On those days I manage to fill 2 or 3 pages.

Now when I stated I don’t usually choose to focus on any external thing, my reason for this is because sometimes I may not really feel a lot gratitude for any given thing. It’s not for lack of trying, but sometimes feelings of negative emotion can override. To me focusing purely on the essence of gratitude rather than an object often gets me there REALLY fast.

My Experiences Beyond Expectations

I find when I do this exercise regularly I start naturally flowing with gratitude and the world seems to reward me with more things to feel grateful for. I make friends much more easily, I am calmer, more productive, more fun, confidence and often feel like I’m on top of the world. I have a greater sense of empathy, love and appreciation for everything in my life in general. Surprisingly I have an unforced appreciation for the not-so-nice aspects of life as well. Everything feels more purposeful and alive!

Will Life Still Be The Same With Gratitude!

NO.

For one thing, gratitude makes me more aware and appreciative of what I have going for me. It makes me notice what I already have in new ways so much so that sometimes it’s like experiencing them for the first time. So that alone makes unconditional gratitude a worthy endeavor.

But it goes well beyond that. Whether you believe in Law Of Attraction or not there is a cause and effect that happens when you feel appreciative. You become a kind of beacon that people and opportunities respond positively to. You being unconditionally grateful will be naturally more receptive to the limitless abundance in the world.

What is Your Intention?

I don’t try to feel grateful for the sake of attracting more good things. That is more of a side effect as a result of feeling alive.

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Words!

I personally prefer gratitude because to me it’s closer to LOVE but without the connotations associated with love.

In fact I have about 60 simple words which I train on regularly.

Able, Abundance, Acceptance, Appreciation, Calm, Centered, Love, Skill, Power, Wisdom,  ETC.

Simple though these words are, they have the ability to conjure very powerful emotions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why 30 days?

I believe if you want to make a lifestyle change, you need at least 30 days to make it into a habit. Although that’s not really the main reason I am doing this. I just wanted to log every change that I make for anyone to read about. Maybe someone out there is thinking of making a similar habit change and wants to see what it might be like for them.