Retreats, workshops, and personal growth courses are uplifting and inspiring when you’re there. In the right environment, it’s easy to slip into a rhythm that fosters growth and change. The hard part is after you return home. Let’s say you spent a week in meditation and silence. It was easy to meditate daily while at the retreat, surrounded by other people who were focused on the same thing. Even after you finish the course, you feel exhilarated and transformed. But how do you keep up that momentum and mesh the “new you” with your old life when you get back home?
Whatever you learned at your course needs to be integrated into daily life, otherwise it’s just something you heard as opposed to something you do or are. Life coach Martha Beck says that you should behave as though you already have the desired outcome. As you integrate the new habits you want or thought patterns you desire, they will become part of your muscle memory, which will strengthen your neural pathways and make them easier to access. Like flexing a muscle, the more you practice the stronger it becomes.
Make it a Habit
It takes 21 days to form a habit. If you use your new skills or implement new attitudes on a daily basis, they will eventually become second nature. The trick is to build in rewards on a regular basis that will motivate you to continue, and that reward should align with your goal. For example, if the goal is to keep a daily joy journal in an effort to become more optimistic, the rewards could be to treat yourself to a new journal after seven days, a new pen after 14 days, and a celebratory dinner on the 21st day.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up if You Fall Into Old Patterns
Falling into old habits is easy because they’re comfortable and familiar. The good news is that if you notice yourself slip, it means you’re on the right path. People who are stuck in patterns that don’t support their physical, mental, or spiritual body don’t notice that they’re stuck. So recognizing that you veered off your new path is a good sign. Acknowledge that you have the intention to make a change, be grateful that you know the difference, and get back on track. Just because you fell back into your old habit doesn’t mean you have to stay there.
Look Back Over Your Notes
When you’re ready to learn, the teacher will present himself or herself. Quite often, when you revisit notes from past trainings, you pick up on things that you may not have been ready for at the time of the session. The speaker may have made a point that you didn’t understand or wasn’t relevant to you at the time of the event, but in your new frame of mind it may resonate perfectly. There are hidden gems in the quotes you wrote down or the websites that were referenced that you never looked at. Spend a bit of time rereading your notes and see what else you can uncover.
Find People Who Support Your Change
People who aren’t on the growth path may not understand what you’re doing. They might think your effort to change means you’re judging their lack of movement.
While you cultivate new practices, surround yourself with people who support and encourage you. Once you’ve adopted your new habits, then you’re ready to share them with the skeptics and critics in your world. This doesn’t mean you have to get new friends, just expand your support circle to include as many inspirational and like-minded people as you can find.
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