We’re busy. Lots going on. It’s easy to get on auto-pilot just to get through the day. The alarm goes off, we trudge to the kitchen turn on the coffee pot, and permit the day to begin. Or maybe we’re even too busy for that and stop at the drive-thru for that latte on the way to the next thing. It doesn’t even occur to us that morning does not require hot drinks to launch the day and if anybody suggests that, we want to rip them into shreds. At least, that’s how I was when coffee was a part of my automatic world.
Being mindful challenges us to look at what has become automatic in our lives. To delve into those habits that are not serving our fundamental goals. Coffee is not inherently evil, but I knew that it was an appetite stimulant and stimulating my appetite was not what I needed when I was trying to release weight. I needed to re-evaluate why that ritual had become so important to me and when I did, I didn’t like what I discovered. Pure and simple–I was addicted to caffeine. Being mindful meant stop (look at the auto habit), challenge (ask myself if it’s serving my fundamental goal of dropping pounds) and choose (decide what is most important to me.) An extra pay off has been that since dropping caffeine from my world 3 years ago (and this includes those extra large Diet Cokes I never thought I could live without), I actually have more energy than I did before. Who knew?
Try this exercise. Take a few deep breaths. (No cool teepee in the Rutger’s Gardens required, but if you happen to be there…) Picture your day as if it were a movie unfolding. Look at those habits you have that repeat every day. Write them down.
Then define your fundamental goal. If that is to get healthy, check your auto-habits against that goal and notice (with compassion–be kind to yourself) if the two are lining up. If not, consider downloading new habits over your old ones that will help you meet your fundamental goals. (Starting the day with 8 ozs. of water?)
Be mindful. You deserve it.