How to Create Healthy Habits


The saying “old habits die hard” has been striking me quite hard lately. Since changing my entire life by moving here I have been trying to work on forming good habits to give my life a little more stability and growth. Hawaii tends to make you feel a little too relaxed, complacent if you will. I became so engulfed in the feeling of going with the flow that I felt my life had become quite stagnant. I was no longer writing regular blog posts, I no longer had a set workout/yoga routine and I was getting literally quite sick of my eating habits. When I tried to throw myself head first (like I do with everything) into new habits I failed miserably. I wanted to know why us humans struggle sometimes our entire life with simple habits that we may have never consciously realized we formed. What I found and put to the test was a few different things, hopefully these tips help you in the same way they helped me.

FOCUS ON CREATING NEW HABITS, NOT ELIMINATING OLD ONES:
I watched a Ted Talk starring Charles Duhigg on habits, and I am patiently waiting for his book ‘The Power of Habit’ to come in the mail so I can soak in more of his knowledge. The first thing that stood out to me was when he talked about how difficult it is to end a habit when you’re entire focus is on just that. When I am constantly thinking about how much I don’t want to do this particular thing I end up doing it in the end because it’s all I can think about. It actually has proven to be more effective more me to just place my focus on an entirely new habit I want to form in order to replace the old. When my thoughts aren’t being entirely consumed by this I find it’s much easier for me to stay away from it.

SCHEDULE/BUY A PLANNER:
Another thing that has helped me tremendously is scheduling. This was hard for me to accept because I am so rebellious even toward myself sometimes. I was stuck in this ‘free-spirited’ mindset so much so that I didn’t even want to tell myself what I had to do. Watching another Ted Talk about achieving personal goals by breaking them up into manageable tasks every day pushed me to go buy a planner. I can’t count how many times I have said I needed to get something done but completely put it off because thinking about the entire thing seemed downright exhausting. If I keep my to do list in my head it tends to seem a little overwhelming, forcing me to not even start it in the first place. Listing each task out, each day and balancing it out with downtime makes it so much easier for me to achieve. There’s also such a pleasing feeling that goes hand in hand with finishing your day off knowing you did everything you planned to.

DON'T BE SO HARD ON YOURSELF:
I think the most important thing to practice when changing habits is self-love and patience. Sometimes we are trying to reverse habits that we formed over years, and expecting them to go away overnight may be a tad unrealistic. I find that when I have slipped up I am more prone to slipping up again if I am too hard on myself for it. Negativity towards myself has never led to huge improvements in my life.

I hope these simple tips help you as much as they helped me.

Love and Light

Kindra Rae

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GOOD ENOUGH?


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ever since I can remember, I have based my value on marks, on grades, on percentages

on sheets of white paper with black, standardized text, asking standardized questions 

questions that mould intelligence, creativity, individuality of a beautiful child’s mind into a numerical value

a score out of 100

a red-biro fraction in a red-biro circle inked in the top right-hand corner.

that ink seeps into my skin, is etched into my soul; carving out what it means to be liked, to be successful, to be worthy,

worthy of love

worthy of being far, far away from that fear of failure and all that we are told comes with it;

worthy of holidays, of a nice house, of presents at christmas

things us children are told come hand-in-hand with ‘financial security’, with ‘a stable career’

with money

with happiness.

 

but now I am not a child, and I know that this simple equation is not all it seems

although I will never forget that my one ‘B’ grade in an ocean of sparkling ‘A’s’ was in maths

I still can believe my less than satisfactory brain when I think

that this mathematical equation is one that is,

in fact,

incorrect.

a subtracted mark from that all important score

a mark I would agonize over; would question teachers about 

never feeling satisfied

never feeling proud

never feeling quite good enough.

 

and as a girl becomes a woman

it is too easy to fall into into another trap society has set 

placing self-worth on the external 

placing self-worth on our image or on our ‘health’

where in reality as our physical health maybe momentarily increases

our mental health steadily dwindles.

there was a day when i looked into the mirror to see the progress of my teeth growing in 

not the progress of my ‘abs’ as a marker of my ‘fitness’

a day when we were told our ‘bottoms were a seat’ and not a marker of attractiveness

of admiration

of envy

a day when we did not know beauty was linked to an image of a ‘perfect’ female form.

 

the word anxiety creeps its way through an innocent child’s skin

red ink, swirling, into my bloodstream

and settling

deep in my stomach

wrapping one arm around the space that once, I trusted 

a space that so effortlessly nourished and cared for me

and the other arm around my mind

it’s fingers skillfully placing a tint over my eyes

undetectable

making me see life through glasses of fear

of hate

of insecurity 

before closing it’s arms together, in a toxic embrace

forming a link between my worth and what I choose to enter this area of my body

or what I choose not to

creating irrational fears that see-saw from being so obsessed with health

wanting to improve

wanting to be better

to not feeling worthy of the money that nourishment costs

hidden behind the frugality of a loan-dependent student 

to not feeling worthy of nourishment unless, maybe, if following certain rules

because following rules is a perfectly measured recipe that bakes a sugar-free, fat-free cake of success

 

a see-saw between the achievement of being so clean, so pure

and the achievement of being empty and thriving

a see-saw between the fear of never reaching my best self

and the feeling 

of not having one

 

because if even if that red ink writes 100/100 

like it has on occasion for now-trivial past achievements

 

even if i rebuild my outer shell that has shrunken in the laundry

as my self-esteem was washed away with the suds of perceived ’imperfection’

 

even if what i see in the mirror does finally satisfy me, even with a number on the scale that does not inflict worry or concern

 

even if the red ink completes that circle

once again encompassing my worth and compacting it into the top right hand corner of a piece of paper i’ll never see again

 

would I then be freed from this never-ending cycle that society has created?

these expectations, ideals

images

the fears that almost are ingrained into our genetic makeup

 

the circle of the grade

the circle of the percentage

the circle of my stomach

the circles of my eyes

the circulating thoughts in my mind

 

maybe then

I would feel

good enough.

 

 

 

 

 

- Alexandra Murray-Reynolds (@thehippychickpea)

find more at thehippychickpea.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How I Make The Present Moment Home


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The first time I ever really thought about the idea of “living in the moment” was when I stumbled across the book The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. I feel like I heard people say this all the time, and maybe I even said it all the time without ever stopping to think about what it truly meant. This book was in such great and beautiful detail that I truly started to take in the words. I was moved. I started to think about why I would really want to live any other way. Of course I am human, and will have moments where I slip up. That is perfectly okay, and I believe that it's important to forgive myself and accept those moments. When I start to really feel what it's like to live in the here and now it transforms my point of view on life.

 

Living in the moment strips away worry. When I discovered that the only thing that truly exists is this moment I stopped stressing about the future, because I realized the future doesn't even exist yet. Why worry about something that is non existent? I do believe there is power in planning for the future, having goals and dreams and working toward reaching them. Now I realize that I can be content with the present while also working toward my dreams. Along with eliminating stress about the future, living in the moment also removed any depression I may have felt about the past. I was able to finally let go of pain and suffering that I was holding onto so tightly without even knowing it. I let go of things that I was clinging to and things I had buried for so long. None of that mattered when I felt like I was being present.

 

I have my own routines that help me return to that inner stillness, and what helps you may be different. But I wanted to share my experiences with you in hopes that someone can possibly relate.

 

1. Meditate – So I absolutely understand that sometimes meditating is hard and intimidating at first because we are trained to have our brains constantly going, all day every day. For me what helped was learning how to do it a little at a time. I remember only being able to make it 2 minutes before I had to stop. Now I have some days where I am able to make it 30 to 40 minutes. And still some days where I can only make it 2! Each day is different, but so worth reaching that place of being.

 

2. Yoga – For me yoga was much like meditating, I didn't really understand it and I could only make it a few minutes at a time before I would stop. Now I stretch out in a class full of people for over an hour! Nothing happens over night. The breathing and poses I learn to hold in yoga focus my brain to the present moment and it calms my mind, allowing me to relax and just be. It's also amazing for our health! It increases our blood flow, drops blood pressure, maintains our nervous system, and is literally scientifically proven to make us happier! It was worth it for me to give it a try and truly feel the difference after class.

 

3. Writing – So this is specific to me, not everyone's main passion is writing. Some people place their passion in painting, singing, dancing, the list goes on and on. It is beautiful how many different kinds of art humans can create. I urge you to find whatever artistic outlet you need personally and open your heart up to it. I found ways to let so much negativity go through writing. Sometimes my pen hits the paper and it's like my soul is being spilled out through the letters, and you guys understand it! What a beautiful way to let out your worries.

 

4. Spend quality time with people who matter to me – I still have moments where I feel like retreating and shutting people out on days where my spirit feels drained. It feels like human connection isn't even attainable when I am feeling this way. I am learning now that when I feel that way, it is just another moment I am experiencing. I know that I will eventually come into another moment where I want to be surrounded by all my wonderful family and friends. When I experience the company of those that are close to my heart I feel content. I don't want the moment to end and I am taking in each part of it. Each instant is held onto and I feel present. I am learning appreciation for all the beautiful souls I get to share this life time with.

 

There are so many different ways we can get back to that inner stillness. After we practice this we become more of the person that we are meant to be. I encourage you to soul search until you reach what you need personally to reach this state of contentment. I promise it's worth it.

 

Thank you. I love and appreciate each and every one of you.

 

Kindra Rae

@Kindrainwonderland

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