Habits and Home Practice + 3 Ways to Establish Your Own
Since an early age I’ve been surrounded by adults who meditated every day, who made home cooked meals (3 times a day), and who didn’t watch TV. Ever. I would be lying if I said establishing habits and a Home Practice come easy to me. Just because I had good models doesn’t mean I’m a pro, but it comes more readily for me than most people in my circle of friends.
I want to tell you a story about me at age 14 through 21:
In middle school I had really bad acne. I mean really severe, red welts all over my face. It continued until I was about 21. I struggled with body image issues, with wanting to wear a mask and grow a beard—looking at pictures of myself now, I can see how my shoulders caved in and I just looked sad. In those photos I looked like I wanted to hide.
Teenagehood was not an easy time for me, (is it for anyone?) To combat the angry, red bumps, I tried everything—off the shelf scrubs, creams, and masks, medicated washes, cleansers, and topical treatments. I tried prescription pills, I tried natural remedies, urine therapy, even chaparral cleanses—everything except meditation, earlier lighter dinner and no snacking (but that’s another blog post).
As a result, I developed really good hygiene habits and a consistent home practice of caring for my skin every damn day. I became religious about my skincare regime. I both loved and dreaded that time I would spend in the bathroom examining my skin to see if what I had tried the day before was working—if only I knew about emotional ama (toxins) back then.
Reflecting on that that time in my life with the knowledge I have now, I recognize the lesson I learned in caring for myself and establishing that daily habit and home practice might have been the best thing that could that came from that experience. While I stayed home and tried to get my “beauty sleep” my friends stayed up late smoking dope and drinking. I noticed that the swelling in my face went down when I got more sleep.
Creating habits and daily home practice is a constant process and application that includes these principles—know your why, get specific, start small, take aim, take action, practice, and repeat.
1. Know Your Why:
This is key in honing your senses and locating your real reason for taking action.
For me, my why was superficial at first—I wanted the red welts gone. But there was also another deeper, reason: I wanted to be liked, I wanted to be kissed by a boy, I wanted to make friends and change the world. I wanted people to take me seriously and treat me with respect. I thought that if I had clear skin these things would happen.
2. Choose a time of day:
What will you do and when? Get specific about time of day, duration of practice, and location.
Morning and evening routines were a must as a teen. I would set my alarm an hour and a half early so that I would have time to wash and treat my skin. I didn’t wear face makeup, that just irritated everything, but I did wear mascara—lots of mascara.
Now my daily routine goes something like this: alarm rings at 5:50am (time trigger). Open my eyes and take five conscious breaths. Then I get up, walk into the bathroom, scrape my tongue, wash my face, pee. Then I walk into the kitchen and drink 1 liter of warm water.
3. Start small
It’s important to start small because you don’t want to give yourself backlash (whiplash in real life).
My acne didn’t all arrive at once, I started with products I had at home first, and then the glaring blisters got worse and my WHY (see Know Your Why) became more important, my actions got more rigorous and I became more disciplined. I started with small steps to clear my acne.
Not used to waking up early? Start with 15 minutes earlier than you usually get out of bed. Don’t dial the alarm back by a whole hour… yet.
Lastly, decide how many days of the week is reasonable for you to feel consistent and disciplined without being too rigid. As a friend of mine once said to me, “If it’s going to cause more agony not to eat the piece of chocolate, then just go ahead and eat the piece of chocolate.” Or said another way, for high velocity types like me, “too rigid” leads to brittle and cracking (The opposite of ease, which is another blog post waiting to be written.)
Happy Home Practice and making Habits Stick!