Last weekend, I found myself seriously resisting my morning meditation routine. I came up with excuses like “It’s the weekend; I’ll have plenty of time to meditate later.” I gave into this sneaky self-talk two days in a row. Instead of starting the day with breathwork and mindfulness practices, I started on my screen…with news and work.
When Monday rolled around, I got back to my cushion, and a sense of “I missed this!” came over me. I realized that my weekend might have felt more balanced if I had maintained my time for centering and clarity. And I may have been more present if I had gotten in touch with my energy and the energy around me from the beginning of the day. It took coming back to center to realize I was a bit off.
So, I’ve been thinking a lot about consistency and dedication. We all think, act, and behave in patterns; often, the patterns we default to, though, don’t serve us. Committing to patterns and habits that give us life is the way we grow and transform ourselves with gentle intention.
I often talk with parents about this very concept. We talk about carving out self-care time, creating a bedtime routine, scheduling dates with partners, stopping and breathing, or honoring connection time with their children. Parents often express the need to build patterns that serve them and their family. Moreover, they typically describe exactly what their ideal routines would be. However, executing and sticking to plans is what’s proven to be tough.
My last article about affirming beliefs comes to mind here. Affirmations work best and most powerfully when we return to the mantras or phrases consistently. Similarly, my tips for an intentional back to school season bring a strong sense of stability and ease when practiced with fidelity.
Now, I’d like to remind you to take three deep breaths… whatever kind of intentional breath feels good to you… take three. Be gentle with yourself.
If you’ve let routines drop off, if you’ve “slacked” on your commitments, now is the time to welcome some big self-love, accepting yourself exactly where you are right now. Give yourself credit for the work you have done. Acknowledge that change can be difficult and takes time.
With clear minds and gentle hearts, we will look at 5 Strategies for Maintaining Practices that Bring Peace and Ease:
1. Accountability partners– Find a partner that you can talk to weekly about what you accomplished in the last week, what you didn’t accomplish, and what you plan to accomplish in the coming week. Giving yourself credit results in confidence and affirmation! Having a partner provides an extra layer of accountability. This should be a 20-30 minute weekly commitment to yourself and your partner, and it’s not about coaching one another, but about holding space for one another. E-mail me if you like to know more!
2. Alarms on devices– Set recurring alarms for different practices you are committed to. For example, set an alarm to get up from your desk to walk at mid-morning, for your evening yoga gratitude journaling, or beginning bedtime routine and reading with your child. Create a system of accountability and consistency for yourself.
3. Use timers– Give yourself set amounts of time for certain tasks. This can limit the time you spend on tasks you don’t love, the ones you let build up. For example, clean the kitchen, but start with only 20 minutes and see how much you accomplish. This also works with tasks that you value, yet you are struggling to schedule them into your full day. For example, you might find yourself rushing through evening hours with your teen, from school pick-up, to dinner prep, to laundry; consequently, you may miss out on connections with your child. Thus, I invite you to sit down to study with your teen for 30 minutes nightly. Timers help us honor the time we intend to spend on a given task.
4. Routine charts or visual schedules– Create routines and schedules for parts of your day that have many small but crucial parts. Morning, lunchtime, nighttime routines are the ones I hear about most often. I invite you to co-create a routine chart or visual schedule with your children. If we commit to our practices on paper and see them each day, we are more likely to stay consistent. (Pinterest has tons of ideas!)
5. Post-Its– Post reminders or mantras on your mirror. You’ll see them first thing in the morning and get a little kick start to the day. Post them in other crucial places, such as your computer or inside your lunch, to remind yourself of the practices and beliefs you are committed to.
Comment below with other tips for sticking to important practices. Consistency is crucial to our growth, and it’s a journey. Some days will be difficult, while others feel easy and free. Talking about and owning the ways we excuse ourselves helps!
If you’re feeling stuck, unable to get moving in the direction you want to be headed, or overwhelmed by these ideas, please reach out! If you’re the parents of a tween or teen and you’re looking for support and community in this process, check out my membership program!
As a coach, it’s my joy to partner with parents and teens to grow peace, ease, and connection in the home.