It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop

Monthly review: enough to keep momentum

It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop

As I conducted my monthly review for September, I realised that it was a month where I didn’t aim for perfection but aimed to do enough to keep some of my habits going and settle for not having them drop completely off. I was doing enough to keep some momentum going because I know it is much harder to get going from a standing start rather than a slow jog!

When I set these habits at the start of the year, I did so not imagining that Melbourne would have another extended lockdown but here we are. At least this time we have the hope of vaccination to help us end the lockdown but this will take time and I imagine most of October will be spent in lockdown as well.

While I may not have achieved what I wanted with my habits this month, the key reason for this was totally aligned to my goal for the year of doing the inner work to give more to those around me. The inner work I have done in the first half of the year has meant that I have been in a position to give to my family when they need it.

We are all doing fine in lockdown but everyone has their bad days and with five kids to have bad days, that is quite a few bad days to be had! I have taken on the role of making sure the impact one person’s bad day has a minimal impact on everyone else in the house. This requires me to read the room a lot, to be empathetic, patient and to become creative with solutions. This takes up a lot of mental energy but it is worth it.

So I have gracefully accepted that September was an imperfect month and that is okay. October will most likely be so too. I haven’t and won’t let my habits fall away completely and will continue to do as much as I can with the time and energy I have. As I noted above, I want to keep these habits alive and so will make sure I give them enough attention to keep some momentum going.

HabitConnection to goal - Do the inner work to be able to give more to those around me.Quote - “Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” - Carl JungSeptember Review
Meditate in the morning for at least 20 minutesI have been meditating for a number of years now, but lately it is often left to the end of the day and I listen to a guided meditation before I go to sleep.

To reap the real benefits of meditation I want to practice in the first half of the day, non guided and for a minimum of 20 minutes. In this time emotions, feelings and issues will come up and I will need to learn to not react to it, simply observe it and focus on the meditation session.
“The more regularly and the more deeply you meditate, the sooner you will find yourself acting always from a center of peace.” - J. Donald Walters
To keep meditating in the morning I have reduced this to 10 mins. With everyone home during lockdown I found it challenging to fit this in. I was already getting up early to fit my run and yoga in before the kids were up.

I am also listening to a guided meditation at night and have come to peace that this is not perfect but I am still keeping the habit going in some form.

Participate in a weekly faith based activityI have a strong personal faith but feel that it needs a recharge and refresh. Immersing myself in more faith based activities will help me achieve this and to examine my spirituality at a deeper level.“Faith is an oasis in the heart which will never be reached by the caravan of thinking.” - Khalil GibranI am slowly catching up from getting behind. My goal is to be caught up on my daily reading by the time we emerge from lockdown.
Write in a gratitude journal dailyFor some reason I stopped my gratitude journal process in the latter half of 2020 and I have noticed its absence. Part of my journal entry in the evening is to note down how I could have made the day even better. Reflecting each day on how I can improve is an important part of doing the inner work.“Journal writing is a voyage to the interior.” - Christina Baldwin
Back on this habit now and I do find it has a significant impact on my mood at any time but particularly during lockdown.

This is really such a low investment high return habit!
Learn and speak Phil's love language well and dailyI read The 5 Love Languages® by Dr. Gary Chapman a few years ago and loved the concept. For some reason I never got Phil to do the quiz and work out his love language. I will re-read the book and get us both to do the quiz .

I will then focus on making sure I am speaking Phil's love language on a daily basis.
“Love is a choice you make everyday.” - Gary ChapmanNot an awesome month for me on this. My focus has been more on the kids and making sure they are doing okay in lockdown.

We have a lot of people in a small space and keeping harmony requires me to be observant, empathetic and patient. This takes significant emotional energy and I haven't had as much left over as I would like to focus on this.

I envisage it will be the same for the rest of lockdown. I am still very mindful of this habit and I am trying with it but I know it is not what it could be.

Comments 2

  1. Hi Nic. Interestingly, there’s not a lot of research on what a ‘therapeutic dose’ of meditation actually is. When I worked at Melbourne Uni I participated in an academic research study that sought to understand the impact of guided vs non-guided meditation for various durations on people’s wellbeing. I’m still waiting on the research results but it might help to know that benchmarks of 20 minutes of non-guided meditation are, at this stage, arbitrary. Science might discover that a shorter period is just as beneficial, or there’s no causation between time and impact at all!

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