Life is fast paced and let’s face it, sometimes very overwhelming! Everything in today’s society is on hyper-speed, overdrive and on the mentality of instant gratification. We know that consistency, which I have talked about many times in terms of habit building, as well as perseverance, and self-discipline will help us get where we want to go. But, what if the true secret to building habits and meeting our end goals lies in slowing down, resting and taking time for reflection? These are two important aspects of habit building that often get overlooked; rest and reflection. They are the pitstops that we must take on the journey to habit building.
There is a myth going around, that ‘more is better.’ It fits right in there with the more you push yourself, and the harder you go, the more effective your habit building efforts will be. We sometimes give credit to those that sacrifice sleep, their personal life and time, giving up leisure activities, just to chase their goals and dreams. There is truth and value to having dedication and a drive to complete the task, but without pause and reflection it is unsustainable and frankly counterproductive!! Just what we don’t want.
Why is rest important?
Rest is super important in our habit building process. Let’s talk about three ways specifically that will help you along the way.
- Physical Well-Being: Whether your goal is exercise and physical activity, eating better, or building a system for your business, every routine requires energy and proper rest. Our body has to have time to recover from physical exertion as well as mental fatigue. We have to be able to rejuvenate our bodies to keep up with the rigor of activity we want to complete.
- Prevent Burnout: When we push ourselves over the limit, what happens? Burnout!! It’s the worst kind of habit building roadblock!! We want to reach the destination so badly that we burn ourselves out and then don’t complete what we are wanting to because we don’t have the strength or the desire to continue. What usually happens with burnout is that we drop the ball on accomplishing the steps to get to the goal or we throw our hands in the air and completely abandon the journey all together.
- More Productivity: Despite what others might believe, we can actually be more productive when we ar well rested. We have the ability to focus better, be more attentive to the steps in our habit building journey, and all of this makes it easier for us to stick to these habit building routine and the journey as a whole.
Like Looking in the Mirror:
Not only is rest important, but so is taking time to look back at what we have accomplished. Are we even on the path that we started on, or was there a detour that is serving us better than originally planned. If we don’t take time to reflect, how will we know.
- Understanding Motivation: When we take time to reflect we can dive back into the ‘why’ we started the journey in the first place. Why was this habit important to us? Is it still serving the purpose for our personal development? What was the motivation for this undertaking? Is it still there? When we take time to revisit this, it serves to reginite the passion and drive we had when we started.
- Identifying Roadblocks: We all have them, so don’t let anyone tell you different. It isn’t always going to be sunshine and roses along the way to reaching our goals. Something will always happen to take us on a minor or even major detour. When we take time to reflect we have an opportunity to understand those hurdles we have faced and devise strategies to overcome them.
- Celebrating Wins: It is easy to be hyper-focused on the end goal in mind, but what about those small victories you have managed to have along the way? When we take time to reflect these moments in the journey we can reinforce positivity and the motivation we have experienced along the way. We may not be where we want to be, but that doesn’t mean that we have been sitting still either. Forward progress IS forward progress.
How to Incorporate Rest and Reflection:
It might sound ‘simple’ to just rest and reflect on what we have been doing with our habit building, but that doesn’t necessarily happen in that way. It isn’t just flopping down on the couch and mindlessley scrolling social media. There is a little more to it than that.
- Schedule Breaks: YES!!! Write you into your calendar!!! It’s super important to schedule ‘you’ breaks. Especially if you are a busy mom like me, you need that time to just be in the moment without wearing all the hats that we wear. So just like you schedule a doctor appointment, put you in your schedule to.
- Digital Detox: Yes I said it. We are so connected in the world with social media, access to it on our phones, and we are constantly connected to it. Designate specific time in your schedule to put the phone down and disconnect. Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok and Pinterest will be there when we have taken a break. We need to rest our minds and eyes too, not just physically.
- Journaling: This is a new one for me, and a goal that I have in the works for 2024. Journaling can be a great reflecting tool. When we take a few minutes to dedicate to jotting down our thoughts and feelings, the challenges we face, and the successes we have had along the way, there is a lot of strength in that and your habit-building journey.
- Mindful Activities: This one is hard for me for sure, but oh so needed. Participating in activities like Yoga, deep-breathing exercises, or just simply taking a walk and getting some fresh air, can help put us in a relfective state of mind and a place for taking in the habit-building journey.
Habit-Building, like anything else, is not a sprint, it is a marathon. Yes, in a marathon you are in a steady state of motion, but there are also moments, even in the race where you can rest your mind, and take in the scenery around you. I have ran a half marathon before. In the training you went all in with running, stretching, endurance and maybe even weight training. In the race it is about putting into practice all that you did in your training. Taking time during the race for reflection about where you currently are, what you might need to change to hit your times etc. You can take a mental break and just let your body does what it knows how to do.
In habit building, rest and reflection aren’t just luxuries, they are neccessities. These two things help ensure that the journey is not only complete, but also helps us to learn and enjoy the process. When we feel that overwhelming sense of dread or drowning in the habit building process, perhaps it’s time for a little bit of rest, reflection, pause, and redirect.