11: Living with Intention, Part 2
Yesterday, I wrote about the importance living intentionally—of taking control of our habits and routines and making sure they are supporting our lives and giving us the results they want. But what does that look like? How do you go about changing a part of your life to better serve your intentions or get better results from a habit? Well, I don't know exactly what will work for you, but here's how I went about figuring out my new morning routine. (Your mileage may vary.)
Thinking. I always begin the process of habit change by thinking deeply about why I want to change the habit, and what I'm hoping to get out of it. In this case, I knew that I wanted to incorporate some kind of meditation into my life, along with a more regular yoga routine, and that the longer into the day I wait, the easier it is to just....never do it. My ability to attack the mat at 2 p.m. seems much less than my ability to do it at 6 a.m. I spent about a week thinking about what time I would need to get up, how I would make that work, and why I wanted to do it. (Understanding the why makes getting out of bed easier.)
Research. Once I'd decided that I wanted to do some kind of meditation and some kind of yoga in the morning, I had to figure out what, exactly, that looked like. So I read up on different kinds of meditation and different apps I could use, etc. I also looked up yoga poses that were good for the specific areas of my body that are giving me trouble—my hips and shoulders—to determine the most effective flow. Finally, because I knew I'd need to warm up my muscles after a night of sleep, I researched and bought an exercise bike that would help me warm up but was also silent, so I didn't wake up the rest of my family. (And by that, I mean my dog.)
Planning. After all the research, I wrote down my plan. Wake up at 6 a.m., ten minutes of HIIT on the bike, ten minutes of yoga on the mat, ten minutes of meditation either on my own or using the Ten Percent Happier app, shower and start my day. I laid out my workout clothes, set up my bike and yoga mat, and set my alarm for 6 a.m.
Execution. I started doing this on my WFH home days—Tuesday and Thursday. That first Tuesday, my alarm went off, and I knew that if I didn't start immediately, the story would become that I was still someone who didn't have a good morning routine. No matter what, I had to get my butt out of bed. So I did.
And that is it. It's the same process I apply to all my habits—set the intention, research how to make it possible, plan well, and execute. Keep it simple, but don't skip any steps, and I can live intentionally in any area of my life.