Most of us have habits that we are trying to break or healthier ones that we are trying to establish. It’s led me to think about this ‘habit thing’ and how long it might take for an action to become part of one’s daily routine. Ok, so im not new to the practice of meditation but I am at a point where I am wanting to commit to a daily meditation practice.
The established wisdom of ’21 days’ to embed a habit is nowadays open to question (read the huffington post article sharing research on this by James Clear) and it’s clear from research that it may take a while longer; somewhere between two and eight months. One reassuring aspect of the research is that missing the odd opportunity to undertake a new habit doesn’t affect the habit forming process. This is reassuring news.
Apart from how long it takes to form a new habit the other question that has arisen in my mind is the pressure that one should put oneself under to be disciplined in undertaking any given new habit. Gunilla Norris writes clearly on this in her book Inviting Silence. She suggests that nourishing habits such as quiet sitting are best born out of a willingness that springs from our hearts desire rather than a harsh act of disciplined willpower.
The other aspect that has become clearer to me in recent months is the importance of support from those around us who are practiced in the same habit. It’s strange but true that sitting in a room with others doing a quiet meditation has a power to it that greatly enhances ones own solitary sitting.
So there you have it; when seeking to embed a new habit…..take it slowly, take it easy if you slip up, don’t be too harsh and disciplined on yourself, and, if possible, join with others in your new venture. Who knows I might even make a habit of updating this blog regularly some time soon.