My Favorite Way to Start a Habit
Tips for Starting a Practice of The Work
You may be attracted to The Work. You may like doing The Work. You may really want to make it an ongoing practice in your life. But life is busy already. How do you find time to make The Work a practice?
Here’s what really works for me.
Today, I’ll share one tip. And I’ll share more in future newsletters.
Tip 1: Attach The Work Time to Another Habit
This is the most important thing for me. If I plan to do The Work “sometime,” I never get it done, no matter how much I would like to do it. “Sometime” is no time because there are already too many things for me to do in my day. And emergencies come in on top of that.
What works for me is to choose a very specific time and place to The Work.
I currently do The Work at 10 AM right after I finish my workout. I could say “10 AM” and that would be fine, but it’s even more solid when I say “right after I finish my workout.”
That means to me that when I finish the last exercise in my workout, I go straight to my computer, log into Inquiry Circle, and start doing my work. Checking email is not a part of this routine. Reading what others have written in Inquiry Circle is not a part of it either.
I’m Directly Connecting One Habit with the Other
Completing the last exercise in my workout is the cue for me to open up the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet that I’m working on and start questioning the next statement. It’s a direct segue from my workout to my work.
Over time, this has become an automatic process, a habit. My mind literally associates finishing my workout with starting to do The Work
But What If You Don’t Have a Habit to Build On?
As you can see, it’s easy to build on an existing habit to start a new habit. It’s like building a building on a strong foundation. But what if you don’t have any steady habits?
If you look closely, you may have more steady habits than you think. You wake up every day without fail. You probably brush your teeth, shower, eat breakfast, go to work, eat lunch, take a break, eat dinner, check email, wind down, go to bed.
Any of these “habits” can serve as a foundation for starting a practice of The Work. The key is to land on one of them and start experimenting with it. For example, you could pick the time right after you shower before you eat breakfast to do The Work. Or it could be right after breakfast. Or on your lunch break. Or just after dinner. Or just before bed.
These Are All Reliable Habits You Can Build On
You don’t have to find the perfect one. Just try one and see how it goes. You may find that certain times have less distractions.
Also, I really like to do The Work in the same physical place each day. This is also part of my cue. For me, it’s at my desk. You may want to do it at the table, or on the sofa, or on your bed. Or in your meditation room. Having a specific place associated with doing The Work helps to give more stability to your habit.
For example, you finish your shower, walk out of the bathroom, and go directly to your favorite spot to do The Work. It becomes a habit. Not only is the time consistent, but the place is consistent too.
This is what I call “finding a niche” in my day to do The Work. Try it out this week, and leave a comment below sharing your experience.
Have a great week,
“When the mind begins inquiry as a practice, it learns as a student of itself that everything is for it. Everything adds to it, enlightens it, nourishes it, reveals it. Nothing is or ever was against it. This is a mind that has grown beyond opposites. It’s no longer split..” Byron Katie, A Mind at Home with Itself