I've noticed a pattern in my life lately (or to be honest, all of the time - but I've been especially aware of it recently), and that is my tendency to do things simply out of habit, routine, or as I have planned ahead of time.
This is not inherently a bad thing, and can in fact be great in a lot of ways! It can save me time, lessen my decision making "burden," and just generally help me function effectively on an everyday basis.
The problem occurs when my auto-pilot takes over to the extent that I stop checking in with myself to see if the plan or routine still makes sense, or is what I actually want or need at the moment.
For me, this occurs around my health and wellness routines more than anything - I do whatever workout is on tap for that day, I eat the meals I had mapped out for the day/week, I follow my pre-bed wind down ritual each night...
And sometimes it's not until much later that I recognize I have completed these routines even though I didn't really want to, or something else would've been more suitable in the moment - I wasn't feeling up for that particular workout, I didn't really want to eat the meal I had prepped, my usual wind down ritual wasn't serving it's purpose etc.
This is where practicing the pause comes into play.
When I found myself zooming through routines and only in hindsight feeling the effects, I started implementing pauses throughout my day.
Before my workout: pause, do a quick body scan. Does this workout still feel appropriate or do I need to modify it?
Before a meal: pause, take a breath. What would be most satisfying right now? Is it what I have planned/prepped? Or is there something else I would like better?
Before bed: pause, check-in with how I'm feeling. Do I want to read a book or watch a movie? Sit outside or crash on the couch? Take a walk or do some yoga?
To be clear, this doesn't mean I will always do the "perfect" workout for that day, or eat exactly what I want at every meal, or have the ideal bedtime routine.
There will of course be times where I'll push through a tough workout even though I'm feeling a bit tired, or I'll eat the last of the leftovers in my fridge because I don't have the thing I really want (or any other option lol), or some evening event will alter my nighttime ritual.
But by simply practicing taking this pause from time to time, I give myself the chance to recalibrate - instead of barreling through my day and following whatever path I have laid out ahead of time.
If you're feeling like some of your habits are so ingrained that they're becoming rote, try adding a few pauses into your day.
It might be just a breath or two, a quick scan of your body, or a moment of stillness to settle your mind.
It only takes a moment to give yourself the chance to actively choose your action vs. acting on auto-pilot, but it can make a world of difference in how you feel and think, and what behaviors you choose to do.
And changing your behaviors - well, that can change everything :)
Practicing the pause is a great way to build the skill of better mind/body awareness, but it is just that - a skill that requires practice.
In my coaching program, we look at your goals, needs, and unique lifestyle to help you build whatever skills will get you from where you are to where you want to be.
By considering what will actually work best for *you* and your real everyday life, we create a step-by-step plan so you can implement simple, sustainable habits - that also allow for you to adapt, change, and grow instead of getting stuck in a rut, feeling overwhelmed, or doing the "on again" "off again" dance.
If you're ready to achieve true well-being by taking small daily actions - not dieting to hit a certain scale number, or embarking on crazy workout regimens for a 21-day "transformation", or restricting or depriving or counting calories/points/macros - my coaching program will help you get there.