Hi dearest followers,
Last week in a random moment of inspiration I got all excited about my bullet journal again. I set up my aspirational daily checkboxes with fresh resolve and excitement about adding some new habits into my morning routine.
But we all know how that always ends…
Predictably, I forgot about it for pretty much the entire week, and opened it up yesterday to the dreaded ignored and empty checklist. Despite my intentions to approach daily tracking with self-compassion this time, it STILL triggered all the familiar “should” thoughts, disappointment, shame and judgement.
That same day, Annette and I were working on creating some materials for next month’s clarity focus in our community, one of which is a tool called “The Five Whys.” It’s perfect for investigating the gap between aspirations and actual behaviors.
The practice is simple: you take your “should” or “shouldn’t” thought and ask yourself “why” five times. This will help you get down to the actual values underneath the change you’re trying to make.
So I tried it out on my own “should” thought:
I should start my day with yoga.
Because there have been times in my life when I’ve had a consistent practice and it’s felt good.
Because it gets me present and into my body.
Why does that matter?
Because otherwise I start my day mindlessly scrolling through my phone, and my body is stiff.
So? Why does that matter?
Because I want to start my day with more intentionality and mindfulness.
Because I want to be present and conscious in my life and I care about my well-being.
Boom. I’d uncovered the deeper values: presence and well-being. I realized that this whole mental drama isn’t about the yoga at all, it’s just about wanting to start my day with presence and attention to my own well-being. Are there other ways to do that besides yoga? Of course.
So I revised my intention and created a different sort of tracking page in my bullet journal, which I think better reflects the values I am trying to live and act from.
It’s amazing how much differently I feel when I look at these two tracking sheets. One immediately brings up resistance and dread, and the other makes me feel calm, happy, and inspired.
Now my bullet journal is no longer sitting on the table giving me a judgy glare. My new habit is waking up and asking myself the simple question:
“What would feel good and increase presence this morning?”
So far this week I’ve done something nourishing every morning, and all of the resistance is gone. It’s astonishing what Five Whys can do.
Where are there gaps between your aspirations and your behaviors?
What “should” thoughts are you holding onto?
I wonder what would happen if you tried out the Five Whys on them, to see if you can better align your goals and systems with the values underneath.
This theme of clarity and values will be the entire focus of next month’s work in our community.
New member enrollment opens Tuesday, so get on the conscious eating e-mail list if you’re interested. ❤️