Focus on the Good

Focus on the Good.png

I was talking with a friend the other day and she was lamenting how every time she seems to set a new habit for herself, or tried to begin to find better balance in her life, she either falls back into an old habit after some time or gives herself permission to take a break because of some other circumstance (like it being summer). Sound familiar? It sure did to me! It can really make you feel defeated sometimes. But here’s another way of thinking about this common problem.

You may have heard the old myth (or even given it a test run for yourself) that you can form a new habit in 21 days. If you’ve ever tried it you may also have noticed that it might not have really stuck after that time. While our brains are amazing in their ability to adapt, it may not be that simple.

Our brains also have a negativity bias. This basically means that are brains have evolved to be extra vigilant for negative interactions, thoughts, experiences and situations. They evolved this way because it was a skill that allowed us to not only survive as a species, but to pass on our genes. So we are much more likely to remember the things that we “failed” at, rather than what we actually accomplished. (See the wonderful book Buddha’s Brain for more on this phenomenon.)

So what’s a girl to do?!?

Focus on the good and just start over.

We have to train our minds to notice the good things. How good you feel at the end of a yoga class versus the fact that you didn’t make it to class last week. The habit that you did start and managed to maintain for several weeks before life got crazy and threw you off. If we can recognize what is possible and what we have accomplished it will be much easier to let go of whatever negative thoughts or stories we’ve told ourselves and just start again.

So if you’ve found that the busyness of summer has thrown you off some good habit or way of being, or you’ve simply let it go because it is a time of year to take a break, remember it’s all about balance. Remember that you are capable, you can be successful and just like in a meditation practice, you can just start again.

Press Pause


Routines are good. They keep us steady in our day to day lives. They ensure our clothes are clean, our bodies are clean, we’re fed regularly, the people we’re responsible for caring for are cared for and we get enough sleep. But every now and then, breaking with routine and doing something different can have a profound effect on how we see our routines and might help us do something better or different in an important way. And now just might be the perfect time.

When’s the last time you got out of your routine? Have you even thought about how may routines you have in your life?! Some examples might be:

  • The way you drive to work every day

  • Your daily hygiene

  • Your exercise program

  • Your food regimen

  • The type of meditation practice you do

  • How you relate to the important people in your life

  • What you do when you first wake up in the morning

Any of these could be a good thing to have in your life. Routines often keep us grounded. They can help steady us through the inevitable ups and downs of life. They can help us maintain our health and sanity. 

But what if there’s something you want to change? What if there’s a pattern in your life that just doesn’t seem to be serving you? Or is actually doing you or your relationships harm?

That’s where a shake up might come in handy. Maybe it’s time to press the pause button on that routine and step outside the day to day so you can see the world (and yourself) differently.

Maybe you’ve been on a weight-loss journey and you’ve been at a plateau for a time. You had been steadily making progress but you seem to have stalled. This can be SO frustrating. But what if you changed up your exercise routine a bit? What if you got outside and did some hiking instead of your usual weightlifting routine? Or went for a swim instead of running on a treadmill? You might find that you A) find another form of exercise you really like and B) jumpstart your weight-loss by changing how you use your body. 

Maybe this has nothing to do with loosing weight but with your exercise regiment itself. Changing up your activities might help you build strength and flexibility or cardiovascular fitness in a way that wasn’t happening with your other routine. You might even find a different activity becomes a great compliment to your usual forms of movement (hiking and yoga anyone?! ;-) ).

What if you wanted to change your relationship with someone close to you. Often our reactions to the people around us can fall into routines too. These can be some of the hardest to break because they are SO ingrained in us and are often so tied to our emotions. We might (if we’re lucky) even have the awareness to see it happening in the moment, but feel completely unable to change the response because we are so caught in the reactivity of the moment. 

Maybe it’s time for a vacation. Believe me, I don’t say those words lightly. I know full well how difficult this can be for reasons that can range from financial investment to work responsibilities or lack of paid vacation to the simple coordination with the rest of the family and all THEIR similar situations. However, you really can’t put a price tag on the time to reconnect with the people you love.

But we’re just talking about breaking out of your routine here. So maybe it’s just an overnight camping trip to that campground down the road (NH State parks have an amazing array of close and far away sites for as little as $23.00/night depending on the type of amenities you require) or an AirBnB a short drive away (some of the most interesting and memorable “vacations” I’ve had have been right here in NH in someone else’s backyard!). Maybe you just take the day off and go to the beach and turn off your cell phone for the day.

Maybe you do one of these things all by yourself. You might be surprised how liberating that can be and how much it may make you realize you value the people closest to you. 

These are just a few ideas to help you shake things up a bit in your life. Which one will you try?!