From Learning About DE&I to Practising Mindfulness - What Habit Can You Start to Make a Long Term Behaviour Change?
In April this year, I started a 6 week online Mindfulness course as mentioned in my Mindfullness and Me blog. It was something I’d wanted to do for a long time, so I finally took the plunge. I’m now 10 weeks post the end of that course and I’ve taken the time to pause and reflect on the experience and changes its’s prompted.
Creating a habit
During the course, the amount of self practice I managed fluctuated significantly, some weeks it was 5 or 6 times, others it was purely when the weekly group session was scheduled. Mindfulness for me is a guided meditation. Then the course finished, and I gave myself a choice, either make a difference or stay as I was. Since then I have managed 100% of practicing every single weekday morning. I allow myself some flexibility with weekends and any practice I manage Saturday and Sunday is considered a bonus! I have definitely created a habit – 10 weeks of daily practice and as you’d expect I’m getting better and better. I average 10-15 minutes a day, first thing on a morning. My routine is fixed, out of bed, walk the puppy, do a workout, mindfulness, get ready, start work at 9am.
The benefits have been apparent and have spurred me on to keep going. My energy levels have soared, my mood has improved and my productivity during the day has gone up several notches. In all honesty, I can’t say I get excited at the thought of practicing mindfulness yet, but conversely, I miss it on a weekend when I don’t do it.
An opportunity to practice what I preach
Working in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) industry, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t speak to a client about behavioural change. This was an opportunity to practice what I preach. Whilst I appreciate that not everyone will be interested in undertaking mindfulness and that’s ok, the practice has given me a refresh on the commitment it takes to make a change in behaviour and create a new habit. That’s exactly the same as various aspects of DE&I. It’s hard work, some weeks are better than others, but when you make progress, it has a positive impact and it feels good. It is so true what they say, you find the time for the things you like and enjoy. I’ve spent years telling others, but also trying to convince myself that I don’t have time for this kind of habit, but the truth is I do. We all do!
In addition to creating the habit of practicing Mindfulness, I’ve also ensured I’ve created the time in each meeting I’m leading to check in with those taking part. We spend the first few moments talking about how we’re feeling and what we’ve been up to. This conversation always seems to flow and is easy, which suggests to me other welcome it. This helps me understand the different circumstances of others and ensures I don’t make the assumption that everyone is having a similar experience to me through these strange times.
So, my challenge to you, what small habit can you start to create? Mindfulness? Exercise? Or could it be, connecting with team members you don’t typically deal with and learning about them? How about sharing with others more about you? Or educating yourself on DE&I topics you’re not familiar with?
Whatever it may be, my advice will always be, just make a start and stay committed. You’ll reap the rewards, I’m certain of it.