So my new habit of living in the present hasn’t gone very well so far. Nor have I updated my habit as I said I would. This update is coming a day earlier, in fact, because it doesn’t have to be every Sunday (perfectionism), and I want to make a change immediately.
Why did I “fail”? Because I did not have any specific goal.
Living in the present, or being mindful, is such a vague goal. How do you know when to practice it? Ideally, I would want to live in the present all the time, but I know that to get there, I have to start small. Which I didn’t.
The reason why I quoted the word fail above, was because I’m not even sure if it’s a failure. It wasn’t exactly measurable. At times, I would remind myself to be in the present, and then my mind would wander off to some pretty distracting and bad thoughts. So I wasn’t sure how I would say whether I passed or failed in my habit every day.
So, to make it more specific and attainable, I will be mindful when going to bed. That’s it. It’s small, measurable and attainable. To complete the acronym SMART, it’s realistic and time-based too. I hope to achieve this through various means: (1) replaying my day, from the very beginning (inspired from Zen Habits), (2) chanting in my mind, and (3) deep breathing (my favorite).
The next morning, if I feel (and remember) that I was mindful going to bed, then that will be a success. If not, then I’ll analyze what happened and write these thoughts down to post on here.
In my analysis so far, I have found out a few reasons why I get distracted and why my mind wanders off.
- I don’t have any motivation after waking up on some days. This occurs usually because I didn’t stick to my schedule/plan, or things aren’t going all that well. This leads to random thoughts, on the past and future, until I’m forced to come back to the present.
- When going to sleep, I sometimes get too attached to the day’s events and find it hard to let go of them. As a result, I’m stressed and my mind is constantly thinking of what happened.
- A lot of the times, I’m always thinking of something. Even when I’m listening to someone, my mind wanders off, maybe on what to say or on something else.
- Sometimes, I have a song stuck in my head which is on an endless loop in my mind. This may not necessarily be a bad thing, but it definitely affects my ability to live in the moment.
- I get bored. After hours of studying, and not too many results to show, it gets frustrating and I just quit and my mind tends to wander off. This is probably the hardest to change, of all my previous reasons. But it’s possible to change.
It takes 21 days to form a habit. And I have definitely found that to be true. So 21 days of mindfulness when going to bed.
Well, here I go again!