Before we go running into 2017 with our lists of goals and good intentions, consider chucking the majority of them and choosing one goal and a single practice to support you.
Every new year provides a clean slate, ideal for setting new goals and establishing new habits. But if you aim your arrow at several targets simultaneously, you will hit none of them.
A few years ago, I decided I need to know the literature on forming good habits and set about reading everything I could find. Leo Babuta of the popular blog, Zen Habits, Charles Duhigg, who wrote The Power of Habit, and Gretchen Rubin, author of Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Life, all concur:
ONE HABIT AT A TIME.
OR ONE PRACTICE.
But how to choose? Rubin suggests starting with foundational habits, habits that are a priori, that support other good habits. These habits are worth forming first because they help create others or eliminate the need for others.
Rubin’s foundational habits are
- Nutrition and drink
For me, good habits begin with good practices, foundational practices, developed one at a time. My foundational practices are
- writing practice
- yoga nidra
Each of them forces a pause in my day, an interruption of thought and productivity. Each lets me rest and renew my spirit. Each feeds my writing.
The beauty of foundational habits is that they ripple out into other parts of lives, including our creative work and we find ourselves living and working more authentically and enjoying ourselves more.
Here is what I suggest:
Look again at that list of New Year’s intentions again and narrow it down. Set a goal for your work using SMART goals method and then choose a single practice that has nothing to do with it, a place to rest your mind, to listen and to receive.