Tips to get Unstuck from Old Habits
“ The day comes when remaining the same becomes more painful than the risk to grow.” Phoebe Eng.
Why do we get stuck in our old habits and why is it so hard to get out?
I’d like to offer some insight from the sages and wise ones from the Eastern Yogic and Ayurvedic Tradition.
Whatever we think, say or do eventually become “impressions” or patterns what Yogi’s define as samskaras. Samskaras are sort of like grooves that are imprinted into our being that define and shape who we are and who we become. These grooves are difficult to resist. All of our actions defined as karma contribute to our samskaras. Many of the impressions we carry with us to this day are the ones already imbedded into our subconscious. We erase our samskaras through karma and repeating them reinforces them, basically a cycle that continues. They’re not only negative ones, so they can be positive too.
Scientifically speaking, for the western mind to understand this concept, through our actions we are basically creating and strengthening neuro-pathways in the brain that reinforce our beliefs and patterns.The more we do something, it becomes ingrained into our mind and body. For example, if we go to the gym every day to maintain our health and stamina, its most likely we will go to the gym tomorrow because it becomes a habit right? Likewise, if you don’t exercise or go to the gym every day it reinforces the habit of you not going to the gym.
Healing is the process of erasing samskaras. When our past doesn’t have control over us, we become free of our samskaras or tendencies/patterns.
One of my brilliant Yoga teachers Rod Stryker once said that 95% of human behavior is on avoiding pain. Makes sense, right? This is true especially when it comes to healing old patterns and habits and it’s one of the reasons why we might not stop to change in the first place-unless it becomes too painful and then the pain of not changing, will make you change!
Eventually the pain of staying the same becomes more painful than making change-and something has to happen!
Rod Stryker also spoke about 2 types of pain, regret and discipline. He says we choose which we’ll suffer, and a lot of us get stuck in regret when we’re in the vicious cycle of not taking proper care for ourselves. And the other is taking charge and using discipline as a tool to improving the quality of your life. Because lets face it, if we want to change our “old” ways, we gotta do something about it-action! And this takes discipline and practice.
I used to be ALL about the word discipline back in the day, but it sounds so regimental to me now. So I prefer the word “ritual”. Whether we realize it or not, we are creating rituals and routines around our lives in every moment.The choice is in the moment. And in every moment we have a choice that creates the next moment and so forth ( the cycle of karma and samskara)
Most humans have the ability to choose what that will be. And by creating new “rituals” in our daily lives is the key to changing those pesky old negative habits or samskaras.
Now how do we do that?
Just Start: No excuses, it’s gonna be a process so the first step is to start.
Be consistent: I remind my clients that its so much more important when starting a new ritual, to start small and make sure its a doable thing. If its not, it may deter you from continuing and following through. And being consistent is so important. It might be starting with an exercise routine 20 minutes 3 times a week at the same time and place and then building once you’ve got that new habit down, vs trying to exercise 2 hours one day here and there and then stopping ( a pattern for many of us)
Prioritize: You have to prioritize your self care! We’re taught to go go go, and then we burn out. Self Care is essential to our health and well being, and if we’re not giving to ourselves, how can we expect to give to others? Take time daily to set aside time for yourself, whether its exercise, meditation, or cooking a healthy meal. In the long run, self care will save you time and you’ll feel happier doing life.
Don’t be hard on yourself: There might be some fall backs, but thats okay. It’s a part of the journey. If you fall, or regress, dust yourself off and get right back up! And remember to be kind and gentle with yourself. You’re doing the best that you can!
Love yourSelf: Self Care is an act of Self Love! There might be times you feel guilty taking such good care of yourselves. It’s normal, our culture glorifies the busy-ness of life and self care might be a foreign thing to many people. The more we value ourselves and our self worth, the more conviction and determined we are to uphold those standards for self care. Don’t settle for less!
Blessings on your Journey: Start with these simple tips, and you will be well on your way!! Much love and blessings on your new path towards freedom, happiness, and better health!
And if you’re interested in learning more about my Upcoming Sacred Self Care 6 Week Course, check it out here!