I am assuming that you, like me, have had trouble motivating yourself consistently.
The problem has always been this: We want to change something. We invest a good portion of our time to change it. It changes – for a time…and then – it goes back to the way it was. We give up on ever being able to change anything for the better; realizing that for all our good intentions, our subconscious mind rules us, and our bad habits are our masters and here to stay.
Well I say, “No more!” I believe that there are places that our focus will do the most good. These points can be thought of as places to put our effort, as in a lever, in order to have the best effect. I’m going to speak on just one of these focal points: Natural Habits.
– And I am going to show how something that I practice in my own life (taking a bath) – can have great rewards, when done consistently (there’s that word again), and mindfully. Natural Habits are those habits which you either like to do, or find yourself doing, anyway. They are repetitive actions that we take daily.
Hopefully, at the end of this article, I will have shed light on a path to Self-Mastery, and whetted your appetite for more of this kind of thing, which I feel, I am almost uniquely suited to speak about. – Not completely, uniquely, for I am sure that others are traveling along a similar path; and yet (almost) uniquely, because it comes from my own particular, strengths, weaknesses, background, ways of thinking and perceiving the world, and challenges that I am currently facing.
I spend a lot of time in the bathtub (Natural Habit), especially at night and in the morning. This used to freak my girlfriend out so much, that even smelling the water would cause her to go kinda crazy. (She had a sense of smell like a blood hound. It was un-nerving at times). She felt that I was hiding myself away in my own man-cave. Maybe I was? *Laughing good-naturedly* Anyway, it became something of a refuge for me – a place where I could be comfortable and alone in my thoughts.
Now that I have my own place, I am free to take baths whenever I want and for however long I wish.
Let’s focus on taking a bath in the morning. I like to do this because, for one, it starts my day, relaxes then refreshes me, and allows me time to get in the right frame of mind – that of gratitude and a cheerful expectancy for the rest of it. But there is another reason that I like to do this; and that is because it is a habit that I have which I can systematically build other habits around and into.
For example, I have wanted to practice reading from three books, every day. This will add to my store of knowledge, something to think about as I go about my activities, and keeps me open to learning new things, and re-evaluating old, tired beliefs. In short, it keeps my mind young. However, I had an issue: when would I read these books? When would I have the time? How could I consistently be sure to do this? These were hard questions for me to answer. Mainly, because I was in the beginning stages of constructing a working structure for my life and there were bound to be mistakes.
Another thing that I wanted to bring into my life was that of drinking at least a glass of water or some fruit juice, before starting my day. Sometimes I simply forgot to do that. I would catch myself, brewing a few cups of coffee, snacking on Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, and diving into the Grass Hopper Pie ice cream way too often. I wanted to be healthy, yet I was continually acting in ways that were harmful to my health.
Then, I started noticing that my electronic stuff would inevitably lose charge; and somewhere along the line, I would get stuck with two or three things that needed to be charged immediately, for me to continue to function or go on with what I wanted to do that day. I would make a resolution, that from now, on, I would change my ways, and would charge my stuff before going out; but again – that never panned out. I would do this for maybe, three days, and then, whoops! – I’d forget; and then the forgetting would become the pattern.
Maybe you already have a sense of where I’m going with all this. After some experimentation, I began to see, that I could tie certain habits that I wanted to develop, into habits that I already had. My friend let me know a little bit later, after this discovery, that there was a book that mentioned this very concept. And the book was aptly titled, “Habits”. It felt reassuring that I might be ‘on to something’.
Thus, in time, I figured out that these various habits I wanted to cultivate – reading three books a day, charging up my gadgets fully, and drinking a glass of water or juice…every day, could be structured around the time that I took my bath!
This is a sequence of events, which I found helpful in establishing these new habits:
First, I would bring in everything and stage it where it would be the most convenient to get to. I plugged in the electronic equipment to the two wall outlets by the mirror. They need a certain amount of time to charge, and I wanted to give the most time possible. Next, I put my towel on the toilet seat, and then stacked three books on top of the towel. Finally, I went into the kitchen and filled up a glass with water or juice. Since I know that my elbow tends to jack out at times and knock things over, I resolved to mostly drink out of PLASTIC cups, so that I don’t keep breaking stuff!
So far, in the first few weeks of doing this, I have read numerous books, had many wonderful and enlightening thoughts, kept to drinking at least a glass of water or juice a day, and kept my stuff charged when I’m out and about.
So, how is this going to bring about powerful changes in our lives? Good question. If I’ve learned anything, it is this: Steady movement in the right direction equals a life one can be proud of. By taking care of something as simple as my electronics, I will not have to worry that my phone is about to go out on an important call; and it allows me the opportunity to receive a call from a friend from the distant past or a new job prospect. It allows me to stay connected when I want to. It also keeps me from becoming frustrated and feeling like I need to take care of something right away – when I have taken the peaceful time, before hand to prepare for it.
Drinking water, as small an act as that may sound to us, is a PHYSICAL AFFIRMATION, that when repeated, causes us to behave in ways that are similar to that one small act. I believe that if one wishes to change one’s life, they must learn to align all parts of themselves. – Their thoughts, emotions, and actions. This brings about the Universal forces in order to help guide us and lend power we would not otherwise have.
Reading three books, or two, or four, or one, keeps our mind in a state of learning and acceptance. Something that I read the other day had a profound effect on the way that I had been traditionally thinking. This information opened up my mind to how best to approach changing a system, which from my point of view, was not working. I realized after reading a chapter or two of that book, that I had been trying to change various systems from the outside, and what I was experiencing as a result, was that the system was pushing back on me, because it sensed that I was an outside invader – and had ways of dealing with those kinds of threats. Once I realized this, I began to wonder how I could work WITH the system, at first, so as not to cause alarm – to eventually change it.
These small changes, by themselves, may not do much to change our lives, but when you begin to add them up and they start to affect one another synergistically – then, you have the makings for change and transformation. And yet, it all begins with a single step, doesn’t it?
I hope that this article has been helpful in some way to you reading this out there.
In my next article, I go over another concept of locating Key Stone Habits. Key Stone Habits can be Natural Habits, but they don’t have to be. One of the things about Key Stone habits, though, is that TIMING is very important.
I go into all that in my next article.
Well, tell me what you liked or didn’t. Part of the way that I blog is designed to be kind of like a journal-of-progress, so that I can take real life examples – MY real-life examples, and show how they work, or how they DON’T. In either case, I’ve read a ton of self-help material, which makes loud claims and promises, but when put to the test, in the end, is just some words and theory that someone came up with. I want my writing to get away from all that, and move toward a more PRACTICAL, time-tested, mother-approved method.
By you adding comments and stories of your own, I’ll be better able to see what isn’t working and what could be improved upon. Additionally, your comments or concerns will be viewed by others, who like you, want to improve their lives and reach their dreams.
To the best in all of us:
David Lee Madison, Jr.
~Nate – street name
~KnavetheMage on Twitter
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Saturday, January 4, 2014 – 20:54