So it’s a new year and you have all these wonderful plans for 2017.

You may have overindulged during the holidays so looking to lose some kilos. Perhaps a relationship has run it’s course and it’s time to let go, or you’ve made the decision not to repeat old behaviours or bad habits like saying yes when you really want to say no, or attracting the type of people into your life that don’t leave you feeling very good about yourself.

I’d put money on the fact that you’ve got a solid plan on how to break bad habits or life patterns. I’d also guarantee that your willpower during the final days of the holidays is rock solid and that you’ve even made a good start at making plans to kick old habits or life patterns in the pants.

But the reality is, after enjoying the freedom of sleeping when we want, eating what and when we want, coming and going as we please..we fall back into our “old” routine of setting alarm clocks, packing lunches, cleaning houses, paying bills, organising children (or ourselves) and eventually falling back into the same old bad habits that block us from changing those we no longer desire.

We’re creatures of conditioning, if we repeat a connected process long enough it becomes habit and even longer becomes a pattern, so breaking these cycles becomes increasingly difficult.

So how to break bad habits for good.

I find that holidays are a brilliant way to make the cut. You’re taken OUT of your current world of habits or conditioning, you’re relaxed, well fed, well slept (or not but happy with great memories), well invigorated and inspired because you’ve had a time out from life.

So before you get too ingrained into your “old” life, make a plan of what you want to change and what new habits you can bring into your day to support your new ideals. But we all know that isn’t enough to break bad habits, especially if they’re been around a while. You need to give a bit of pre-thought and planning…

Firstly, set time aside to remember what it is you want to change and why. The best time to start is first thing in the morning. I would also recommend mixing everything up while you’re at it. Try a new direction to work, a different way of organising the kids, eating breakfast etc. The more you change up your usual morning routine the better because it’s little daily triggers that you used to have that will remind you of the bad habits you want to kick. As an example, you may want to give up coffee (heaven forbid!) and your old routine was go into the office via the elevator and then head back downstairs or into the kitchen. This time you may take the stairs and instead of going back downstairs create a new habit by taking in fresh juice with you and enjoying that instead.

Personally, I have found this to be the most effective way of how to break bad habits…and in a shorter space of time. Firstly you will need to carve out some time in the morning (15 minutes will do) before your “routine” starts.

In these 15 minutes dedicate the time to focussing on the image and feelings of your “new” way of life. You want to find a practice that uses ALL your senses or as many as you can engage. For me I have given up meat, refined sugar, wanted to meditate every day and create a life of service to help people.

So I get up before the children and go to my mat outside then write down 3 things I am grateful for that day, I then devote my yoga practice to them and end with a meditation. I then journal because one of the ways I want to help people is through writing so this keeps that dream alive.

My day then starts by doing a little bit of each thing I want to manifest into my life. Health, vitality, clarity and service. You can get really creative with your morning practice finding all sorts of ways to start your day in such a way that it is new, exciting and aligns your mind, body and soul towards your goals.

Some ideas for your morning practice;

– For success make a list of someone each day who inspires you and why so that you can be inspired daily to carve a life in the direction you desire. Best to give some thought about how you will add some of “them” into your life.

– For increased energy, close your eyes and do three deep breathes into each of your chakras (imagining you are breathing in the colour as you go) then imagine letting go of any tension aligned to that energy centre. Watch the chakras spinning and glowing.

– For calmness or gratitude, take a walk and notice all the wildlife or water your garden and contemplate all the simple things in life you are grateful for

– For a life overhaul, consider one thing for the day / week etc. you’re willing to let go of. Note what commitments you will need to make in order to achieve this. To be super effective write down what your life will now look like once these changes are in place, what do you look like, how do you feel, who is around you and what is being said. Read this every morning to remind yourself of your commitment and make sure to add to it to keep it fresh.

– For peace do the hear, see, feel, I AM meditation. In the same order say I hear…, I see…, I feel… and I AM… Noticing what is around you will occupy all of your senses so that when you say your I AM command it goes straight into your subconscious. An example would be I hear leaves, I see sky, I feel a breeze and I AM confident / powerful / clear / focussed / successful / healed / peaceful / calm, even and I AM asleep if you can’t switch off.

With this practice remember you cannot say I WILL be “successful” otherwise you are instructing your subconscious that your success is in the future. You need to affirm that this is already a reality. Your I AM statement must also be a positive one as your subconscious does not interpret negative words like don’t, so an instruction like I AM not fat, I AM not craving sugar will only send the instruction I AM fat, I AM craving sugar to your subconscious resulting in your body holding onto fat and you gravitating to bad food choices.

– Do a tribute to your “new” way of being. If it is weight loss then start with something healthy that you dedicate to your change like lemon water or freshly squeezed juice in your 15 minutes. But this is not enough alone, you must ensure you remain present while doing this tribute whilst occupying all your senses as part of the tribute. Like imaging all the ways this new way of being will help you, feeling how it will feel, hearing what people will say..

If it is an internal process you want to change like how you respond to certain situations then you could sit somewhere quiet and bring up common situations you expect to encounter that would trigger the response you no longer desire. Then go about imagining how the new you will now respond. Your brain doesn’t know the difference between imagination and reality so you will be programming your brain for your new responses. Practicing in the safety of your home, in the quiet, with time to think will allow you the space to consider how you will respond rather than being caught off guard.

I hope that’s given you some creative ideas on how to break bad habits and let go of repeating patterns that no longer serve you. Of course some habits aren’t so easily budged as there are lifetimes of connections surround it. If you’re stuck with something and tried everything, feel free to email me.

I would be here if I hadn’t been there myself.

xoxo Meditating Mama