There’s this thing that I do.
My day can be humming along, checking things off my list – work, workout, yummy food, life – and making good choices.
And then, I make one decision that I’m not entirely happy with. Usually, it’s not a major decision but just one decision in a string of endless decisions in any given day. I don’t want to say a bad decision but it’s choosing the sweet treat instead of a piece of fruit or choosing to play on Facebook or Twitter instead of write an article or blog post.
But, it makes me feel like I’ve fallen off track and I feel like I’ve blown the whole day. If I’ve blown the whole day, then whatever else I do that day doesn’t matter, right? I can eat whatever I want, not write or work, not workout. I can just start again tomorrow, right?
Do you ever do that? You figure that you’ve blown it so you give yourself this grace period until the next morning when you wake up and try again? Or you feel that just because you’ve fallen off, you’re doomed to remain off-track?
It’s kind of like Newton’s first law of motion:
An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion…
unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.
I started thinking about this after reading Kim’s post last night about how she felt like she has fallen away from her good habits and Tricia’s thoughtful comment which was along the lines of, “just because you fall off doesn’t mean that you can’t get back on.”
Here’s the thing – that one decision you made doesn’t have to determine the course of the rest of your day or week or month or year. The very next choice that you have can be that unbalanced force that knocks you from rest into motion or, if you’re already in motion, can speed you up or slow you down. You don’t have to wait until the next day to change direction.
You can change direction with your very next choice.
Last year, I tried to build a meditation practice. It was kind of disastrous. I had the hardest time sitting. I kept thinking about what I should be thinking about (or not) during meditation and comparing it to an image in my head of what meditation should feel like. I became frustrated because I couldn’t just clear my head and just sit.
I had one teacher remind me that every breath is a chance to refocus.
Even if my mind started to wander, it didn’t mean that my meditation was worthless. With the next inhale, I had the opportunity to refocus and try again.
Lately, I have felt like I’ve fallen away from my daily goals. I’ve stuck to some (Pitch or work on an article pitch every day and practice yoga) but I haven’t always written 500 words a day or gone to bed by midnight.
But instead of giving up on them, I’m going to keep trying again with each breath and each new decision. So what if I don’t rack up a streak of 365 days?
How do you get back on track?
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