A friend of mine recently posed this question on Instagram: what can you do for 365 days? We talk a lot about habit formation at the gym and with our scholars. Rituals. Routines. Our daily flow.
My initial response, especially since Conner is a CrossFit and nutrition coach, was to think food-related. Could I give up sugar? Eat an apple a day? You know what they say … smile.
My next response was resistance and avoidance. I didn’t want to answer the question because I didn’t want to lock myself into anything. This isn’t the intent, but even speaking (softly to myself lol) I know from experience that I’m all too apt to make a declaration only to let it silently slip away soon thereafter.
So I hesitated. Then I thought, well, I’m all about striving for daily meditation, as well as encouraging others. Surely I could meditate for 365 days, right?
There’s actually a group on the Insight Timer called 365 Days Together and has over 97,000 members. It’s an active group, with folks posting daily, sharing their meditation journeys. I became part of this group when Amanda and I created our Mindful Scholar group; I’ve learned a ton and it’s definitely a community to model. People routinely post what day they’re on, when they fall off, what they are learning about themselves and this practice.
One of the biggest takeaways is compassion and kindness, even when you do miss a day. Just recently, I had nearly 30 consecutive days going, only to have to start again at Day One. I’m less consistent on the weekends, which is something I’m working toward. It’s okay to start on Day One.
As many times as it takes I say.
This idea of being intentional with our days is something I’m very interested in, despite my own resistance to routine. Daily actions. Daily intentions. Daily choices build upon themselves, in small increments, that eventually create meaningful change.
Thinking about them as small steps, that do add up, is a good way to go about it. And being kind to yourself when you do falter should be part of the process too.
With that in mind, I came up with this list of things I can do for 365 days.
- consume things that make me feel good
- do one handstand
- kiss my kids + Kenny
- be kind
- notice the beauty around me
- write for 25 minutes
Is seven items too much? Maybe. I thought to make the list an even TEN, but then thought better. Seven feels good. And I like my items. It’s not that I’m approaching these things with extreme rigidity (that would suck!), but rather, more of a general mindset or approach to . . . life!
Specificity is good, so I know simply saying, “consume things that make me feel good,” might need some follow up and direct action to create greater health + fitness. Being kind and noticing beauty, I just want to carry those things with me . . . always.
The handstand? I think of my dear friend, Anna, who still does one handstand every day! And she’s got great arms to prove it (LOL). But seriously, we should all do inversions more, get that blood moving. I want to build strength and equanimity; doing a handstand a day will do just that.
Meditate. Already actively working toward that. And I kiss my fam a ton, but I could kiss them more. My intention here is to be more mindful with each of my special persons. It’s so easy to get carried away by the stressors of the day and not focus on the beauty, that are these hugely amazing + special people, I am so lucky to have.
Lastly, the “write for 25 minutes” is probably going to be most challenging. I want to creatively express myself and writing is definitely an integral part of that. I’ve been saying that I need to develop a daily writing practice for a long time now. Now is the time dammit. No excuses. I want to figure out what I have to say and writing will do that.
Writing, writing, more writing.
Thanks, Conner, for the inspiration with this. Must revisit as the New Year goes along!
This is your best post ever. It is.
Brooke Harrison, Ph.D.
Lecturer III | Department of English | Anspach 220
Central Michigan University