When has a good practice gone sour?

I didn’t journal today. I’ve journaled regularly, often daily, for 15 years. The practice has helped me clear my mind, understand life, discover creativity. I’ve suggested this practice to clients and friends.

Yet, today I didn’t write. Yesterday, my husband suggested that, just maybe, all that inner reflection was a cause – rather than a cure – for morning feelings of depression.

“But, no! It helps! I can’t stop. This practice has been so good for me over the years. Besides, I’ve suggested it to others. I can’t back away without looking or feeling out of integrity.”

WOW! If that’s not personal will stuck in fear, I don’t know what is! And fear-based action (unless you’re running from a fire or dangerous animal) is often unhelpful.¬†As I released my grip, I could see that:

People change. And along the way, what we eat, how we exercise, what we read, our job choices, what we believe — these change to accommodate. Even “good” habits may no longer serve.

How do we know when it’s time to let go,
when a good practice has gone sour?

There is no “one right answer”. But I think there are a few keys to its discovery:

  • Mindfulness — pay attention to how you feel physically, emotionally, mentally – act with intention – notice the impact
  • Open mindedness and flexibility — approach living from curiosity and willingness to change, to learn something new
  • Periodic pause and review — perhaps not daily [[SMILE]] as with my journaling practice, but maybe weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually. Stop, step out of routine, dare to wonder: How is this serving? Not? Is it moving me forward or backward now?

You can always change again. If you decide to make a change in your diet, exercise, work life, personal growth plan, remember that the new habit:

  • needs time to have an impact (I committed to release daily journaling for at least 21 days)
  • may be an interim step toward an even better fit for you
  • can be found to be inadequate or detrimental by the “keys of discovery” and released.

What “good” habits are you clinging to?
What will you discover as you practice the “keys”?

2 Replies to “When has a good practice gone sour?”

  1. You can always change, and change again. You will never lose your integrity, because you will find growth in the change. And then you have something new to offer others!

    1. So true, Lynee. And, as a practice, moving beyond thinking that we ever “get it” or “know the way” leaves us forever open to experience the new and grow and frees us from getting stuck.

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