The greatest difficulty in creating habits is consistently practicing them. I have spent the better part of five years diligently working on strategies for myself to become proficient in my daily morning practice. It is a commitment which I take very seriously and has been the foundation of my health, happiness and healing.
Over the past few months I was finding myself out of my routine whenever I had to create new strategies for my morning practice. It has become very natural for me to focus on myself in my own home. Yet, that consistency was not occuring when I was outside of the comfort of my cocoon. I was waking up late, not bring my journals, and feeling reserved about doing my practice in front of others.
I recently went to New York City with my partner for a wonderful impromptu vacation. What a blast! We enjoyed all that New York has to offer – sights, smells, sounds and tastes!
I decided that although my routine was going to be very different than at home, I wanted to use the opportunity to come up with ways to make my practice part of my holiday.
Here are four things I did to overcome the hurdles I was facing when on vacation:
I was mindful before leaving
This was a huge step in creating success. Before I left I mindfully planned out what I was going to do to make my morning practice a reality. I made sure I packed the tools I needed, such as my journal pens, my prayer beads, the music I use for meditation and so on. It helped me know, even before I left that I was committed to making my practice a priority.
As well as packing the necessary tools, I also made some compromises. I decided that my two bulky journals were too heavy so I took a small notebook instead. I also decided I would commit to eating fruits and salads when eating out to replace my morning blender drink.
I shared my plan
Once we arrived and we started deciding what kind of activities we would like to do, I knew the only way I would be able make my plans a reality is if I carved out the time by explaining to my partner what I needed to do in the mornings. I have generally explained my morning practice before and have done bits and pieces of it when spending time with him. But I often sacrificed my self-care in order to avoid seeming selfish or delaying plans.
I realized the only way to shift this was to express my needs, help him see how important my practice is to me and make plans based on me first taking the time I needed. There was some uncertainty on my part as to how he would react but like so many things in life we fear, the predicted scenario is nothing like reality. He was supportive, understanding and completely flexible.
I got up early
This practical step was important for my success when I first began my morning practice 5 years ago. Having time while others are still asleep allows me to focus solely on myself without the interference of other people’s needs and expectations.
Our hotel room was small but I managed to do my meditation in bed with my earphones on and write in my journals with the light on my phone.
I have always been an early riser so this was not tough for me to incorporate into our vacation time. It gave me the time I wanted to take care of myself and also meant my partner was not waiting around for me to get going. Thank goodness I am a morning person!
I was kind and flexible with myself
There were some things that once our vacation got underway I realized I was not going to do. I had the choice of beating myself up or finding self-compassion. I chose self-compassion. I let go of the rigidity of maintaining my habits and chose fun and flexibility when needed!
Definitely being committed and dedicated to my core practices made a huge difference in my ability to stay grounded and positively energized while away.
And as I write this I am at the cottage grateful for the effort I put into making my daily habits work on the go!