Can one inner peace habit really change your life?

Earlier this month I celebrated my birthday skiing in Lake Tahoe with John and the kids, and met up with dear friend and colleague Jeanna Gabellini and her family too. Stunning views everywhere. Lots of magic moments, including scrumptious meals out, ice skating, and a magic show. Lots of firsts.

When was the last time you took a break from your routine and experimented with something new? Visiting a new city? Attending a concert or comedy show? Trying a new (or old) activity (i.e. bowling, painting or rock climbing)?

For date night this year, John and I made a commitment to try a new restaurant each time we go out. As much as we love our favorite places, I’m loving all the new discoveries. Trying new things is a great habit!

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Can one habit really change your life?

Absolutely!

Habits shape our lives.

What we choose to do, and choose not to do each day is a big deal. What we eat, how much we sleep, exercise, self care practices, attitudes, how we spend our free time, who we spend time with, household routines, spending and saving patterns, how we view ourselves and trying new things are all habits.

The Compounding Effect of Choice reminds us of the ripple affect of our choices. While single decisions neither create instant success nor ruin our lives in one fell swoop, our “simple disciplines” and “simple errors in judgment” make a huge difference when repeated over time.

Today I want to introduce you to some new ideas about habits to empower you to make the changes you want most in your life. And inspire you adopt one new healthy habit to affect your inner peace. The best news of all is it’s easier than you think.

One of the oldest secrets of coaching…

Over 19 years, I’ve coached thousands of clients on an array of topics from finding inner happiness and peace, launching new careers, expanding businesses, getting fit, increasing self care, enjoying fulfilling relationships and more.

While every client is unique, every client identifies a set of powerful Daily Habits or Daily Rituals to support them in creating their best life. When clients are consistent with their daily rituals, life, success and inner peace flows. When daily habits are skipped, life is more stressful, challenging and clunky. Habits are a terrific predictor of success or failure.

It’s sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Just write down 10 things you want to do each day or week, and then “just do them.” Right? Uh, yeah.

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Research reflects what we all experience in life. Trying to focus on adding too many habits at one time is overwhelming. And when people don’t experience “small wins,” most become discouraged and give up.

The key is focusing on creating
ONE habit at a time.

That makes sense, right? It’s much easier to commit to ONE thing than 10. You get to experience that small win each day or week, and it builds on itself. And once that ONE new practice becomes a habit you can add another, then another.

That’s how I support my clients.

Over time, voila… you’ve got lots of new habits integrated into your life — veggies smoothies, daily green juice, weekly yoga, gym time, vitamins, nightly reading, meditation, quality time with loved ones, and a good night’s sleep.

Habits are great once they become an integral part of your life. The tricky part is creating enough momentum until they stick. What if there was a way for it to be easier?

The Magic of Keystone Habits

Did you know, some habits are more powerful than others? Research reveals that some habits have a spill over affect, and start to shift, dislodge and inspire other positive changes to happen, almost automatically. I like the sound of that, don’t you?

Charles Duhigg, author of “The Power of Habit” 
refers to these “more powerful habits” as “keystone habits.” Exercise, eating dinner together, and making your bed are examples of “keystone habits” that pay dividends.

“When people start habitually exercising, even as infrequently as once a week, they start changing other, unrelated patterns in their lives, often unknowingly.”

People who exercise start eating better, become more productive, use their credit cards less and say they feel less stressed. How cool is that?

“Studies have documented that families who habitually eat dinner together seem to raise children with better homework skills, higher grades, greater emotional control, and more confidence.

Making your bed every morning is correlated with better productivity, a greater sense of well-being, and strong skills at sticking with a budget.

It’s not that a family meal or tidy bed CAUSES better grades or less frivolous spending, but some one who those initial shifts start chain reactions that help other good habits take hold. If you focus on changing or cultivating keystone habits, you can cause widespread shifts.”

(Copyright @2012 – The Power of Habit).

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In 2009, a study about different approaches to weight loss was published by the National Institute of Health. 1600 obese people were asked to do one thing… “concentrate on writing down everything they ate at least one day a week.”

The single habit of “writing down the food you eat” was something people could easily do. That habit created awareness of what was actually being eaten. Ultimately that translated into more time at the gym and eventually losing more weight. That single habit of “writing down the food you eat” is a keystone habit.

Naturally, it got me thinking about habits that support our inner peace. If habits shape our lives, habits also shape our inner peace, or lack there of.

And maybe there are one or two core inner peace habits that could have a cascading affect, similar to how exercise influences productivity. And maybe one “keystone habit” affects one’s inner peace more than others.

So, I asked my friends on Facebook to answer this question.

What is one healthy habit you do consistently that supports your inner peace?

Here’s some of their answers.

* Morning meditation
* Work out. Amazing how I feel when I exercise consistently!
* Daily habits: morning routine, daily exercise, eat consciously….gratitude is at the heart of it all (that and love, of course)
* No judgment.
* Look out from our deck over the gulch and thank God for all that we have
* Prayer
* Journaling
* Having healthy outlets to talk to about anything without rules…total trust.
* Road cycling
* Breathe and live gratitude and meditate twice daily…
* Wake up in the morning — smile
* Daily prayer and meditation practice
* Daily exercise
* Consciously choose/shift my thoughts
* Dance! Dance! Dance!
* Horseback riding
* EFT and conscious breathing
* Meditation at a health club’s Jacuzzi, most evenings
* Daily meditation and getting into present moment
* Talking or texting with my BFF
* Practice gratitude daily
* Pet my cat
* Music. Both kinds…Rock and Roll!
* Not drinking coffee
* Pray
* Doing art and going dancing
* Waking up early with meditation and yoga in a silent home
* Go for a hike (nothing centers like nature)
* Eat dark chocolate
* Meditation and contemplation
* Wearing sunscreen
* Breath
* Weekly 1.5 day off from everything
* Cuddle
* Walking barefoot on our sandy beaches
* Riding my horse
* Daily Word and meditation apps
* Meditation
* My evening hot hot hot bath!
* Yoga
* Walk at least 5-6x’s a week
* Go to the pool
* Reading and being with my friends
* Service to others
* Sleep
* Smiles…
* Green drinks, meditation and loving myself.
* Noticing my breath. Simple yet profound.
* Give thanks
* Yoga class once a week, stretch and some yoga during each day…and lots of walks in nature.
* Meditate
* Sleep, brush my teeth
* Make my bed
* I say “I love n accept myself as is” everyday all the time.
* Bikram yoga
* Come from a place of gratitude!
* Morning: Daily short spiritual reading & 5 breath yoga. Early evening: 1.2 mile uphill hike.
* Walk
* Go to the gym
* Taking time to relax and read a good book
* Meditation
* Be early
* Go to Yosemite several times a year. And get myself in nature daily
* Kundalini Yoga/Meditation Every. Day.

You probably noticed the same themes I did. My suspicion is meditation and exercise are the two biggest keystone habits for inner peace. Prayer was also very popular. Other themes included self care practices, nature, gratitude, self-expression and loving oneself.

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Think about this. Each of the “healthy habits” named above significantly influenced inner peace. There were lots of different practices, but when any single practice is done consistently, there are clear, notable benefits.

Now it’s your turn. What is one healthy habit you do consistently that supports your inner peace?

And…

What is ONE new healthy habit you want to commit to that would like support you in creating more inner peace and fulfillment in your life?

I’d love to hear your answers in the comments below.

Final notes of about keystone habits…

I got excited when I read that even exercising once a week, made it more conducive for other positive changes and habits to evolve. Keep that in mind. I only do yoga once a week, and visit the gym once a week. Each of those once a week “keystone practices” makes a huge difference in my life.

Remember, habits need to give us the experience of a “small win.” Set yourself up for the win. If 20 minutes of meditation sounds too daunting, make it 5 minutes a day. The more small wins, the better.

Keystone habits aren’t about getting every single thing right, but focuses on identifying a few key priorities that ultimately create powerful ripple affects.

Keystone habits influence how you work, eat, play, live, spend and communicate. Over time, they transform everything! 

Add habits, ONE at a time. Use the list above for inspiration.

Inspiring Quotes for YOU

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Speaking of habits, I wanted to introduce a new practice to my ezine. Each issue, I will feature a product, service or free resource to support your success and inner peace.

This week, I’m featuring Your Daily Gem (daily quotes).

Words create powerful ripples in our lives.

Imagine receiving a thought-provoking “quote” each day in your inbox.

Imagine
 feeling inspired, encouraged, and strengthened by a daily quote that touches your soul.

Imagine
 being reminded daily of the truth and wisdom that lies within you.

Imagine
 the ripple effect in your life if you could be uplifted every day.

When you subscribe to Your Daily Gem, you’ll receive a powerful quote every day. And it’s free!

I’m always receiving emails and notes from people expressing gratitude for this little dose of thought-provoking inspiration.

If you’re not already taking advantage of Your Daily Gem and want to receive the daily quotes CLICK HERE to sign up.

“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where
there is no noise, trouble or hard work.
It means to be in the midst of those things
and still be calm in your heart.”

–Unknown

That’s it for now.

Until next time, here’s to your success and inner peace.

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