They say it takes 28 days to create a new habit. I don’t really know who the hell “they” are but judging by how I feel after the #GYST30DAYPROJECT I recently completed “they” are exactly right. I feel awesome. And I’ve continued to feel great as the weeks have passed.
A prelude to the challenge:
As an intern psychologist and mindfulness practitioner it is important I put my money where my mouth is and practice what I preach. But I’m also human. And as humans, we sometimes fall off the bandwagon and need a little help along the way to keep accountable to ourselves, and the people around us.
Whilst I never stray too far away from my meditation practice, I’m definitely guilty of taking short cuts and reducing the amount of time and days I practice depending on the “busyness” of my schedule. I put busyness in inverted commas because really, busyness is no excuse. In fact it is when we are our busiest that mindfulness should be prioritised before anything else.
But I digress.
Leading up to the 30-day project, I had most definitely fallen off the mindfulness bandwagon.
I seem to go through these never ending cycles of health and wellbeing where I’m either all or nothing. When I’m good, I’m really good and when I’m not…ANYTHING GOES. Cheese and wine for dinner anybody? A chocolate chaser for dessert? Not only does my diet suffer, but all my other exercise and meditation practices seem to suffer as well.
So how do we keep ourselves accountable and on track?
Research shows that enlisting the help of friends and family is a great way to stay accountable on your path to wellness. And the indigo project’s #GYST30DAYPROJECT provided me with the perfect platform to do just that as I was required to explicitly state my intention for the 30 day challenge and then upload a photo each day to track my progress.
I love a good challenge! I decided to meditate, do yoga and journal daily for 30 days in order to regain my sense of balance. At the end of each day, I uploaded a pic to instagram with a lovely little word vomit so that my friends were able to tell that I was giving this project a red hot go.
My journey started with the purchase of a cute new journal and allocating sufficient time in my day for yoga and meditation. The first week or so of instagram updates were filled with loved up words of gratitude and happiness. I’d also managed to curb my desire for late night feasting. Winning!
“DAY 7: One week in and what a week it has been! If stopping and taking time to journal, meditate and practice yoga daily has taught me anything…it has taught me to trust my soul. The revelations have been amazing. Ps FUN FACT: Ladies, a positive side effect has been that I have stopped consuming my weight in chocolate and chips after dinner every night. Apparently when you slow down, acknowledge your feelings and get the shit out of your head and on to paper, you no longer feel the need to bury your feelings with food. WHO KNEW?!”
By the end of the second week and moving in to the third week my inner sooky la la reared her ugly head but I was able to contain the sookiness thanks to my daily doses of journaling, yoga and meditation which provided me with the space to nurture my inner sooky rather than be consumed by her.
“DAY 15: Two weeks in guys! I can definitely notice and feel the difference… (even my sooky la la alter ego is noticeably more balanced)! I really had to force myself to do yoga after my meditation this morning but I’m so glad I did”.
The emergence of my inner sook could also be attributed to the fact that by the second week I stepped it up a notch and also decided to quit booze for the remainder of the project.
By this stage I was learning a lot about myself with the main revelation being, I totes sucked at relaxing and it was time to learn the art of doing nothing, without guilt.
Prior to the project I had often used a cheeky glass of wine or two to help me unwind on a Friday night. By laying off the booze for a bit I was hoping to learn how to truly just be, regardless of my stress levels. It definitely seemed to do the trick as by the end of the third week I was feeling really grounded.
“DAY 19: I’m feeling very grounded after a restful weekend and a week of no booze. I’m finding it easier to sink in to my meditations and easier to tune in to my body during my yoga practices. Journaling has been amazing also at helping me sort out my thoughts. Combined together they are working like magic. Loving this project!”
By the final day of the third week I was well and truly in a blissed out state and “sooky la la had officially left the building!” The fourth week was filled with daily doses of happiness and I couldn’t rave enough about how much I was loving and benefiting from the project. By day 27 I was “finally sinking in to a happy little routine of gym, yoga, meditation, work, journaling, relaxation and play”. By day 28 I was also noticeably more flexible than I was four weeks previously thanks to my daily doses of yoga.
At the completion of the project I was noticeably more calm and relaxed and I had found a wonderfully more balanced rhythm in life. I felt more connected to myself and through my daily posts and uploads I also felt more connected to society and those around me.
It is amazing what can transpire when we go within.
Prior to the project I felt scattered, stressed and not at all like my usual self. Considering I love my job, am happily in love, and have many things to be thankful for, I was finding it hard to pinpoint why I was feeling so out of sorts. So I just kept soldiering on, hoping the answer would find me. But it doesn’t work that way.
We need to be able to pinpoint how or why we fell off the beaten track in the first place in order to move forward. And in order to do that we need to stop, slow down and listen.
And this project provided me with the perfect platform to do just that… Whilst also keeping me accountable, which I think is the magic ingredient.
Where do you feel like you have fallen off the wagon? Maybe you are not getting to do as much of the stuff that nourishes you and feeds your creativity? What is that thing you keep putting off or meaning to start? Start now. Commit to doing something each day for the next 30 days that will nourish your soul and while you’re at it, journal about it and track your progress. You wont regret it!
For more information about the gyst30dayproject and to start your own visit www.theindigoproject.com.au