Breaking habits, being more mindful

toothbrush

I’ve brushed my teeth with my non-dominant left hand earlier today. It was a challenge.

We all have a comfort zone. Many of us want to stay in it and never stray.

I think it is healthy to get out of our comfort zones. Sometimes we find something out about ourselves, we find something we like or something we are good at by trying something different. We can gain new perspective.

Getting out of our comfort zone is really just about breaking habits.

I used to be really shy and quiet. Yes, I know …

In junior high I was in a drama class and really blossomed when I starred as Baby Mouse in our version of Cinderella.

I’m usually comfortable in groups. Public speaking used to terrify me.

I joined Toastmasters at work (when I was still in the corporate world) to help me get more comfortable with my public speaking.

I decided to take a yoga teacher training and become a yoga teacher. Before my first class I was so nervous. Heart pounding, sweaty, a little freaked out. I thought to myself, why in the hell did I think being a yoga teacher was a good idea? I have to talk in front of a group of people.

Most of my classes start with a seated (or lying down) meditation. I originally started doing that to help myself get calm. For me to find my breath and make sure my inhale and exhale were even and flowing.

I rarely get nervous these days before my class starts. Occasionally before I sub I do.

I decided to quit my corporate job and teach yoga (and cycle). And by taking that leap I realize I am a really good yoga teacher. I got out of my comfort zone and found a new career for myself. (I left the comfort of a stable and well-paying job to try something that I actually love doing.)

A student of mine recently posted this article on my personal Facebook page, At my yoga class, sleepwalking no more.

If you are a regular practitioner of yoga, whether at a gym or studio, you likely have a spot. C’mon, you know you do. (It happens in all kinds of classes, whether Zumba, cycle, body conditioning, etc.)

The yoga teacher in the linked article above switched around the layout of the classroom one day. I have started doing that in a few of my yoga classes. In one of my classes I sometimes have the students pick the set up of the room.

One of my students challenged me to brush my teeth with my left hand instead of right. I’ve done it twice and I absolutely hate it. I feel clumsy and awkward and was constantly finding myself wanting to grab the toothbrush with my right hand and take over.

Sticking with our habits, not getting out of our comfort zone, we start to do things less mindfully. We aren’t present in our own lives. We are in automatic mode.

How many times have you driven to work (because it’s something you do many times a week) and you don’t actually remember driving there?

By changing our habits we can see things differently, see things we’ve never seen before, find a new world or new parts to our world, get a fresh perspective, etc.

Go Fit Girl! Monthly Challenges are back (at least for November and December). For the month of November we are going to get out of our comfort zones, change our habits, continue to be mindful and present in our lives.

Here are some ideas to challenge and maybe break some of this habits:

Drive home from work a different way or go a different way to work, sit in a different spot while eating your breakfast, take a different route in the grocery store, skip “the usual” and try a different dish when dining out, brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand, sit in a different spot in your exercise or yoga class, sleep on the other side of the bed, take your walk (or walk your dog) on a different path, if your Sunday night dinner is the same every week make something different one Sunday, when you sit down on your yoga mat and cross your legs try going to the non-habitual side first, part your hair differently, roll out of bed differently, put your pants on starting with the left (or right) leg first …

What are some other things that you realize are habitual for you?

You can comment below on what you are doing/changing for the Monthly Challenge. You can also comment on the Go Fit Girl! Monthly Challenge Facebook Group page.

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