Making changes in our habitual patterns can seem like an insurmountable hurdle. We may know that we want to change something but at the same time find the thought of restructuring our day (or a part of the day) impossible.
My willpower is so easily overcome when I see myself trying to make this same decision every day for the rest of my life. Living a pretty busy and engaged life there are always good reasons to be easy on myself. All too quickly I let myself for today because blah blah blah. And before I know it another week has gone by and I have let my new resolve slide more often that.
But there is hope.
I have found that when I am in such a bind that the best way to approach it is to forget about the future. I simply make a choice for today. Today I will exercise; or today I will pray; or today I will forgo alcohol; or today I will eat more fruit and veg.
Somehow I am able to make that decision for today and because the choice is just for today there is no excuse to ease off. Then I try to make that choice several times a week. Over time the new habitual pattern becomes a part of my reality. It becomes a choice that is easy to make and carry through.
Once that is my pattern for three or four days a week, it isn’t nearly so hard to make it an every day thing. It then isn’t really a matter of will, so much as it is of recognising the benefit that the new behaviour has brought.
Richard Rohr once wrote ‘We do not think ourselves into new ways of living, we live ourselves into new ways of thinking’.
I thought I understood this quote until I stumbled in this new way of repatterning myself. Up until now I have tried to think my way into the new way of being. Now I am simply trying to live it. Praying that if I keep trying for long enough – it will take root.