Is it a Routine or an Unconscious Habit? The Power of Intention

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At the beginning of each year we are all working with the pressure to create positive change in our lives. Recently I had a real life experience of a long loved morning routine becoming an unintentional and unconscious habit. (It involved coffee.)

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This year, instead of doing a new years resolution, I decided that I was simply going to live more intentionally and more consciously in my actions.

After a couple of weeks of full on devotion to this new mindset, I realized that my morning coffee routine may have become more of an unconscious habit. It totally did. It definitely did.

I was no longer appreciating it or carrying my awareness through each step of the process like I used to. I was not anchored in intention or finding the joy that I once did with a morning coffee ritual.

The aromas.
The kettle whistling.
The dark opaqueness.
The rich flavors.
The shape of my 10 year old coffee veteran of a Chemex.
All the senses fully alive and present in the experience.

(Needless to say, I rediscovered the joy of an intentional morning coffee ritual.)

Committing to this practice of intentional living, I wondered, “what else am I going about unconsciously in my life?” It was a simple thing that led to an incredible realization of how powerful our intentions truly are.

It got me curious about the concept of an intentional routine, not just in the morning, but throughout the day. Similar to a mindful morning routine, an intentional routine is a bit different. However, mindfulness is to observe without judgment whereas intention is to both observe and take purposeful action towards a bigger goal.

But wait! What if I’m stuck in the muck of an unconscious habit?

One of the most common unconscious habits that we experience is picking up the smart phone over and over throughout the day to check social media or emails. However, there are also unconscious mental habits such as negative thinking, comparison, or judgment. The mind is incredibly powerful, but it can also be a double edged sword.

Recognizing unconscious habits begins with self-awareness. Once you become aware of these habits, you can become aware of the cycle. Once you become aware of the cycle, you can practice being more conscious in your actions, perhaps even work towards breaking the unconscious habit altogether! 

Intention setting is a way to bring the heart and the mind into an agreement. When you set an intention, imagine that you are planting a seed. Both the heart and the mind agree to nourish that seed. Being more intentional (purpose focused) can really drive conscious action and get to the root of what is creating an unconscious habit. Intention is to do something with purpose and that purpose may just be powerful enough to help you realize what habits are and are not serving your highest good.

A routine is made up of a series of action steps. When building an intentional routine, get clear on what drives your actions. Think about the deeper purpose behind your actions and the direction you are moving in. Keeping the overarching vision in mind while also taking care of the details can be challenging, especially if those details become repetitive, mundane, or they just don’t spark joy anymore (hence, the coffee story). Hold the vision. As you move through the motions, use mindfulness to support conscious action. 

Intention keeps you aligned.
Mindfulness keeps you present.

 

Many blessings to you,
Nicole

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