choose habits

Creating habits / mindset lessons from my dog

HE DOESN'T KNOW WHY, HE JUST KNOWS WE DO IT

Mindset training from my dog.

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He doesn't know why we do it, he just knows that's how it is.

There are two gates leading outside to the street from the front gardens of my apartment block.

The central one I use most of the time.

The other, to the right, is by the gate that leads to the bikes and bins area.

My dog never used to want to wait and go through the gate and walk up the bins area if, say, I couldn't find a bin outside and had a poo bag and needed to get rid of it.

He resisted, he pulled, he didn't see why we couldn't go straight home.

And then I remembered how clever he is and how I need to communicate with him, and that I was confusing him.

So I started ONLY EVER using that outside gate to the street to come in, IF I was then going straight across to the gate that leads to the bins.

Every other time, we use the middle gate and go home.

After only maybe three or four times, he got it.

Now ... we're out having a walk, he does his business, and when I choose that we enter using that gate near the bin gate, well, he rushes ahead of me to wait at the gate to the bin area.

It's quite a large area, with trees, bikes locked, lawn, the wildflower strip to encourage bees and right at the end the recycling and waste bins.

He runs straight up to them, I throw in the little bag, we turn and go straight back out.

Every single time.

I cannot mess this up now of course.

If I were to come in through THAT gate and not the middle gate when I actually want to go straight home ... he would not only be confused but the whole thing would be called off.

Routine, discipline, call it what you will.

BELIEF even - because I can tell you if I ever make a mistake and come through that gate near the bin gate and don't have a poo bag in my hand? I'm STILL going to go up to those big bins and make a throwing movement like I have.

It didn't take long at all, just literally a few times from when I committed that I only used that gate when we then also went to the bins.

And now, for my dog, it's a fact.

it just IS.

That gate, another gate, a run to the bins, turn around and back.

That's just how it is.

And that's how I learn too, through this observing.

Of course, it's the same for me. That's just how it is.

I feel good when I do yoga and journal. It's just how it is.

Ahh but WHEN do I do them?

When I feel like it?

No .. THAT is not a routine or a habit.

i think the example I learned from my dog is perfect.

You do x and so then you do y.

Habits need not just consistency but a trigger.

I do x and then I do y.

One thing then another. One thing links to another. Links create strength.

Habits form, choices become facts.

I wake up and stretch.

I stretch and then I get up.

I get up and then I drink water.

I drink water and then I put the kettle on.

I make hot water and lemon.

I make a little espresso which becomes an iced coffee blended with almond milk.

This means I take it back to bed with my laptop and I journal while I drink it.

This means that that happens.

We come in this door so we go to that door.

This gate leads to that gate.

That's the way it is.

I don't have to understand it but that's how it is.

And I can choose and create ever more powerful habits which actually are UNDERSTANDINGS and BELIEFS ... that simply.

This begets that.

This then that.

After this then that.

That's just the way it is.

It's what I do.

It's what I believe.

And so it is.

Kick 'comfortable' to the kerb, right now!

I haven't posted a blog post for over a month.

I feel it, I've been feeling it.  

Feeling I don't have anything to say, which feels really weird.

But I also know that this is a habit, that I usually choose to write and share and create whether I FEEL like it or not. 

That's been such a big one for me over the last few years - choosing how I WANT to feel rather than how I feel RIGHT NOW, so much that I thought I was in an automatic new habit of doing so.

But seems I have to keep creating that, keep choosing that, keep it in mind, journal, make that choice really a PART of who I am every.single.day - someone who does that.

And I 'never' get sick, but flu de-railed me a bit and then ...

I was better but not quite right.  Even before then I was feeling a bit quiet and not sure what I was doing here, what I wanted to say. 

That's kind of a different message but still part of the same. 

I felt quiet and suddenly unsure.

And then I got ill - only for a week or so - but it exacerbated all those feelings. 

Maybe that's exactly what I needed to feel and learn. I believe that's so. 

Because I started doing things that don't make me feel good overall - and also stopped doing - all the things that I love, that make me feel good, that keep me feeling YES.

And I realise now, that these aren't habits you just DO automatically - you have to continue to CHOOSE them.

I fell 'out' of habits very fast, and we all know that starting again is harder than continuing ... well, and we all know that it's actually though NOT harder really.

What it's all about is making a decision. After that, easy.

But I haven't been making that decision.

(Why does it feel hard to make that decision?)

I got flu and I got comfortable.

Well, why NOT spend more time with my adored, my family, my friends?

Why NOT take a 'break' (WHAT? from doing what your soul wants you to do?!) ... from writing, sharing, engaging?

Why NOT retreat? And go quiet. And sit on the sofa and read. 

Why NOT feel comfortable?

Hang out, watch Netflix, cook for friends, go for coffee, go for wine.

Eat a little more, put on some weight.

It's good, right? It feels good to have this time to just kick back, relax, feel comfortable, sleep more.

ACTUALLY, FOR ME? NO, IT DOESN'T.

It feels a slugging settling.

It feels not choosing me, my dreams, my life.

It feels like hiding, switching off - and not in a good 'retreat and rejuvenate' way.

It feels like a slowness.

It feels like I lost the power to choose.

I feel like I'm not actually CHOOSING this.

When I choose HOW I want to feel and be and what feels great ... and this isn't it.

So ... back to the ONLY hard part of ANYTHING you choose and desire.

Making a commitment and a decision. That YES you choose this.

It's been interesting in a way, watching somehow myself from the outside how easy it's been for me to slip into 'comfortable'.

And how I feel (SO MUCH) that this is not good for me, not right for me, not who I am or want to be.

Not who I choose to be.

I want to feel lit up, inspired, energised, creative, full of ideas.

I suspect I haven't posted because I've created this comfort that blankets me from the ideas.

No more lolling, watching something that doesn't add to my life. Not right now, anyway.

No more allowing the creep .... of slowness, dullness, weight gain, lack of ideas. 

I choose to go for it again ... open up to it, no more hiding and creeping around.

No more stillness.

The stillness that comes from hiding and not moving - physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. 

That results in physical, mental, emotional, spiritual weight gain and comfort blankets and a layer of insulation from ... what?

NOT from the world after all. 

From MYSELF.

I choose to be again, move again, create again, be the ME I want to be.

No more 'comfortable'. 

Dulled, slow, unsure.

Step back out into the light ... that spotlight you sometimes don't know is even on but yet follows you to shine on you.

I choose to shine again. DECIDE.  Shed the comfort blanket. 

Stretch and rise and BE.

I've felt it, feel it, don't want it. And now I DECIDE.

You can ALWAYS make another choice, another decision. 



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Make sure YOU'RE in your dreams

I realised I do this.  Or rather, didn't do it.

Didn't add to my goals, dreams, 'perfect day' journaling ... well, I didn't add ME.

I was missing from it!

Me, physically (and ok emotionally too actually) ME.

I was missing.

How can I create my dreams, achieve my goals, dream into creation that perfect day ... if I'm not in them?

If I'm not also at one with me, with myself, happy in my own skin?

If I don't know how that feels, or how I want it to feel?

How can you live a dream life in a body you don't feel is your home?

And actually, domino effect, small actions, small things creating big ones?

Dream big ... and start with finding peace with your body.

It's easy, and it's necessary.

You cannot live a 'perfect' life without being at one with yourself - and that includes feeling good in your skin - WHATEVER that feels like for you.

I believe it's a powerful and easy way to start - you decide, you choose, you see results, you're inspired and you start to BELIEVE.


I was talking with a friend the other night and realised something so important.

We often FORGET to think about our physical selves - or ourselves at all for that matter - when we're thinking about our lives and goals and ambitions and dreams.

We think about the jobs we want, the relationships we're calling in, the creativity we'll share, the places we'll live ...

All those artists, all those beach houses, all those fulfilled lives and all those dreams written down, made goals, made real.

But you know what's missing?

YOU.

The real, actual, physical YOU.

We so easily disconnect with our bodies ... and almost forget about them.

As IF you can create your dreams without also being totally at ONE in your dream body too.

THAT you, me, us .. in the dream life ....

Don't forget to put YOURSELF into the dream.

Not just into it. Into the HEART of it.

You're happy just as you are? That's brilliant. SAY SO.

Don't let your body, health, wellbeing, how you FEEL in YOU not be a part of the big, big dreams.

It's pivotal.

It's important.

When dreaming, setting goals, writing out those perfect day journaling exercises ... do NOT forget to put yourself in them.

Your perfect day begins with feeling comfortable in your own skin, surely, luxuriating in just being YOU, at one with yourself (WHATEVER that looks like for you).

I think it's too easy to forget this - and I believe that firstly it's powerful to consciously add YOURSELF into your dreams.

I also believe in the domino effect, small changes creating big shifts.

And - no matter what you might be telling yourself - feeling at one again in your skin, losing weight if that's what's going to feel good and right to you, is KEY to then also creating all of the rest of the things.

Yep, and actually easier.

It's a perfect starting point. Start consciously choosing, creating, feeling happy in your skin.

Results happen fast .. both physically and mentally.

Don't dream big ... without YOU being in the dream.



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If you don't choose your habits, they'll choose you

If you don't consciously decide what you want, consciously create your life?

Guess what?

Yep. Life happens anyway.

And like many things, maybe it's easier to start small, rather than big, like, well, LIFE.

Smaller things get you into the HABIT of creating what you want and achieving them and building that practice.

Small things add up to become big things (I know you know this, I'm not being patronising, just thinking out loud).

And talking of habits, habits are a great place to start.

If you don't consciously choose your habits ... guess what?

Your habits will choose - and define, BECOME you. Part of you.

What you do and what you choose is who you are - and you can change that at any time.

Without consciously choosing habits you might find habits find you ...

The habit of watching TV mindlessly.

The habit of endlessly scrolling Facebook, looking for something, anything interesting and thought-provoking.

Oh and similarly, the habit of feeding yourself food that doesn't have the nourishment, the nutrition, your body needs and craves, so again you're left hungry, endlessly wanting more.

But what more?

Housework habits, 'duty' habits, oh-I-have-to-do-the-ironing habits ... then flop on the sofa for some TV.

THESE habits are often masking that you haven't CHOSEN your true 'YOU' habits.

Well, not so for everyone I guess.

I suppose some people genuinely choose to do these things (and for most people YES sometimes) ... and that's great ... but when it's not a choice, it's a mindless HABIT?

You know you can choose another habit?

Starting with perhaps how do you WANT to feel?

NOT how do you currently feel.

Giving in to the voice of the how you NOW feel will NEVER move you into being how you WANT to feel, to be.

You have to consciously choose it.

How you want to feel and who you want to be.

The person who gets home after a long day (ok, many long days, this isn't a one-off) and eats a takeaway full of goodness-knows-what whilst slumped in terrible posture watching - well, do you even know what? - on TV.

YES, sometimes.

But also, YES you're exhausted and stressed and tired ... but you CAN also choose other habits.

It doesn't have to be hard.

Some things (including plenty of recipes on my site) are easier and quicker to cook fresh than to heat up or order in.

And it's all about TRUE self-care and looking after you.

That means choosing a shower, choosing a great book, choosing a quick stretch or yoga online practice to keep it easy (I do).

(I'm not saying you instantly turn into someone who wants to go to the gym at 9pm, but hey you MIGHT choose that, now you think about what you want to choose).

It might mean writing, journaling, a Skype with a friend, learning something new.

Habits become non-negotiables in your life (like cleaning your teeth).

Mine aren't (yet) always so, but I really, really now feel it and miss it when I don't for whatever reason DAILY:

- journal in the morning
- make good food choices that nourish me (and taste great of course)
- move my body in some way (usually Yoga With Adriene
- personally I also love to cook so a day without cooking something makes me feel 'off'

Ha! Just caught myself I thinking I need to think of more than these three / four ... but WHY?

I'm all about making it easy and you know it's actually not always that easy to do those three or four key things.

Isn't that funny, how our human brains almost want to make things HARDER?!

These are my chosen habits - that make me feel great, give me a foundation for my day - when I do them I feel stronger, clearer, more able to get everything else done.

I'm going to choose to add in a short 10-minute meditation practice soon but for now making my journaling and yoga practice daily - allowing it to become daily - allowing that time for me, to say that time for me daily is precious, is a PRIORITY ...

I'm still learning to make that my reality.

What are - or will be - your chosen habits?

The ones that make you YOU, the you you choose to be?