It’s been just over two months since I began this Practice Project, and here’s what struck me as I walked through the aisles at the Farmer’s Market last Saturday: Wow, the art of practice really works!
I say that because I was able to walk by my once-favorite stalls and had absolutely no attachment to them. There was no internal fight of wanting something and not wanting it at the same time. The best part is that I had no mind-chatter going on in my head. That felt like total freedom!
I could still appreciate the sight and smell of the baked goods, and I’m sure the samples of artisanal cheeses I was offered were delicious, but I genuinely didn’t want any of it. I happily spent the last of my cash at the organic stone fruit stand purchasing peaches, nectarines, and plums to enjoy over the holiday weekend.
Looking back, it took me about two months of daily practice to teach my brain this new way of eating. I think this is really good information to know, especially because the diet industry has conditioned us to expect immediate results, and when we don’t get them right away, we give up too soon.
So, I guess what I’m saying here is that to change a habit, you must commit to the practice for as long as it takes—even if it feels hard or awkward at first. Go into it knowing that it could take a couple of weeks, or even a couple of months or more. Understanding this will help you stick with your practice and not give up.
Really think about it though: Say it takes you three months to teach yourself stop overeating at each meal; or to stop snacking when you aren’t hungry; or to build a consistent exercise routine. Three months is a small tick on the time clock of your life. Wouldn’t the results from mastering such a practice be worth three months of your focus and energy?
Now, to be clear, I’m not saying it’s “one and done.” As I mentioned in last week’s post, I still have thoughts that pop up seemingly automatic sometimes. You will have thoughts pop up, too. The trick is remembering that thoughts are just sentences in your mind and you do not have to act on them.
A thought can pop up like, “I want that,” and instead of automatically reaching for the bag/scooping another serving/cutting another slice, that’s the moment when you can choose to check in with yourself.
Are you really physically hungry? Or are you acting out of habit or trying to shut down your feelings? If it’s the latter, you have the opportunity to make another choice—the choice to honor yourself and your body by passing on eating food your body doesn’t need. Not because you should, but because you genuinely want to.
Remember: Thoughts are just sentences in your mind.
You do not have to act on your thoughts just because you think them. You get to choose how you want to treat your body, and you can’t go wrong when your foundation is love.
In any situation, ask yourself: What’s the most loving choice I can make right now?
Then follow through with the action that serves you best. Just this practice alone can change your entire life.
Note: If you are new to my blog, you can click here to read about my Practice Project journey and learn all the concepts and tools I used to successfully change my habits. Perhaps you will find the exact tool you’re looking for that will help you succeed in making the changes you want to make in your own life. I also provide private coaching to clients who want more support in the process of change. If you’d like to work with me, you can contact me here.