As we reflect back on the past 12 months to identify the parts of ourselves we want to leave behind and the parts of ourselves that we want to bring into the New Year, we have the opportunity to transform some of our habits. After all, those “bad” habits are still a part of us — even if we’d rather leave them in the past.
We all have our own little quirks and odd behaviors we’re not so proud of, but many of us also share a lot of not so great habits in common. Here are just a few ways you can transform a few common bad habits into something much greater.
1. Practice yoga not for the results, but for the journey. You may want to master a specific pose, but you’re missing out on exploring what your body is truly capable of as you tune into it, learn from it, and use its feedback to continuously improve.
2. Make meditation a privilege, not a chore. Meditation is not supposed to feel like work, so when you make it feel like a big commitment, you’re less likely to benefit. You’re also less likely to stick with it.
3. Turn self-criticism into self-compassion. Negative self-talk has no real value. In fact, it moves you backwards. Try talking to yourself like you’d talk to your own best friend when you’re feeling bad about yourself.
4. Embody what you want in the present instead of always visualizing it in the future. You’ll never stick with anything worth working toward if you don’t find a way to make it part of your self-identity right now rather than later.
5. Work on attaining effortless flow in life rather than forcing yourself against resistance. If you find yourself experiencing emotional resistance to something you think you want, you don’t really want it. Experiment with finding something that feels natural rather than fighting a losing battle.
6. Change your regrets into inspiring lessons. Regrets won’t serve you in any meaningful way until you extract what you can learn from them. Here are five questions to ask yourself when you’re dealing with regret.
7. Throw away your need for certainty in exchange for curiosity. Expectations of perfection from ourselves and certainty of the future are impossible illusions of the mind that slap us in the face when reality sets in. Open yourself up to instead desire learning by maintaining a state of curiosity.
8. Commit to feeling your negative emotions rather than stuffing them away. Even if you’re in an inappropriate environment to express your emotions when you feel terrible, make sure you make time later on in a private place to explore those feelings rather than suppressing them and never acknowledging them again.
9. Appreciate every individual for their uniqueness rather than comparing them to yourself. Instead of looking at someone’s desirable qualities or achievements and trying to measure yourself against them, expand your awareness to recognize that you are two separate people who are too complex to compare. They are uniquely them, and you are uniquely you.
10. Look at situations from other perspectives rather than judging harshly. Your mind automatically judges other people and situations based on the perspective that puts you in the best position. Notice this, take a step back, and consider other perspective that don’t always involve you as the center of the universe.
Making these changes takes inward awareness, conscious effort, patience, and the ability to accept messing up once in a while. By the end of next year, however, your transformed habits will have all been worth the effort!