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Embracing the Imperfection of Practice: Finding Your Way Back to Wellness

Discipline is good. Necessary even, in some aspects of life. It helps us build habits, achieve goals, and create structure in our otherwise chaotic lives. But some practices cannot be measured in terms of quantity or even quality. Meditation, mindfulness, and other well-being practices fall into this category. Instead of counting how many days you were able to meditate or how regularly, thank yourself for showing up, even if it was for one day. The benefits you reap from each session are real and lasting, even if you could not keep up.

Life will get in the way. Again and again and again. There are way too many unpredictable, unknown variables in our daily life. It's okay to lose track. It is, in fact, expected that you will lose track. And so, it is also okay to find your way back. It is okay to remember and return to the habits you want to cultivate. There will be resistance—from within and without. Keep at it nevertheless.

Tips for Starting Again

When you find yourself needing to start again, here are some tips to help you pick yourself back up:

  1. Set Flexible Goals: Instead of rigid daily goals, aim for flexibility. For instance, set a goal to meditate or practice mindfulness 3 out of 5 days. This way, even if you miss a day or two, you’re essentially still on track.

  2. Give Yourself Options: Allow yourself choices to keep the practice engaging. For example, commit to spending 15 minutes every morning journaling, meditating, or practicing a breathing exercise. This variety helps you maintain the habit without the pressure of being 100% consistent daily.

Using techniques like these, you can trick your judging brain, make the transition smoother, and still go easy on yourself. The underlying goal is always to be kind and compassionate towards yourself—whether you manage to stick to the habit or not. As long as you have the right intention and put effort into accomplishing your goal, it is enough. Try again next time and welcome yourself back with open arms each time.

Redefining Success in Meditation

Another trap you might fall into is measuring how ‘successful’ a meditation session was based on whether or not you could ‘control’ your thoughts. This is similar to measuring how ‘good’ you are at yoga based on how ‘flexible’ you are or how close you are to doing a headstand. But really, there is no competition or comparison possible when it comes to well-being practices. To each their own.

The real training of meditation is in bringing your focus back each time it wanders. Whatever form of meditation you practice, the key is to simply do this over and over again. To gently redirect your mind—without blaming, analyzing, or wishing. Starting over. Beginning again. On a larger scale, this means bringing yourself back to the habit of just being—doing nothing in particular.

Embrace the Journey

Remember that the journey of well-being is not about perfection, but about persistence. It’s about showing up for yourself, no matter how many times you stray from the path. Life’s unpredictability will always be a factor, but your commitment to your well-being practices can be a constant. Each time you return, you strengthen your resilience and deepen your self-compassion.

Celebrate every small victory, every moment you choose to return to your practice. Each session is valuable, each effort meaningful. The beauty of well-being practices lies in their ability to adapt to your life’s ebb and flow, providing you with a sanctuary of peace amidst the chaos.

So, the next time you find yourself drifting away from your habits, remember: it’s okay. It’s part of the process. Welcome yourself back with kindness, and continue the journey with an open heart.

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