July Habit: Journaling and a June Habit Recap

+ Happy Summer! It’s the last post of the month which means a new monthly habit and a recap of last month’s. These monthly experiments help me build healthy habits, break unhealthy ones or just learn more about myself so I can figure out what’s really essential!

Recently, I had a conversation with a dear friend about how hard transformation can be. Being aware of all the things you want to change or feeling that a goal is out of reach is totally overwhelming. That’s one of the reasons I do these monthly experiments. It gives me the space to concentrate on one change I’d like to make at a time, and focus on taking small steps for only thirty days. I might not be able to do everything for thirty days but I can certainly try to do anything for thirty days. Plus, the habit of doing an experiment every month has made me more flexible and willing to just try something.

So, you don’t have to follow mine or experiment at all but if you have a lot of things you’d like to try to change, this is a really great method. Make a list of all of the things you’d like to grow, learn, change, give up, tackle and start to rank them. Figure out an achievable monthly goal for the top one and define the rules for a new habit to help you get there. Then try it for a month… it’s just an experiment! Even pure failure will teach you a lot.

Okay, onto Journaling July.

I lost my best friend a year and a half ago. It broke my heart and was a huge loss :(. Some of the advice I received soon after was that I should learn to be my own best friend. I've thought about it and worked on it and... decided I don't completely agree with it. (That thinking has helped me a little bit though.) One of the recommended ways to be your own best friend, or just friend for that matter, is to journal. We tend to be kinder to ourselves, get more meaning from our experiences and simply get crap off our minds. All of that sounds great.

So here are the parameters for Journaling July: (Greg’s joining!)
+ Spend a few minutes at the end of EVERY DAY brain dumping, even if just a few words.
+ Incorporate it into our evening routines before reading for the night. (My journaling is not the same as my morning gratitude practice, but it could be.)
+ Use it as a place to gather and organize all thoughts (ideas, experiences, emotions) and sometimes make sense of them.
+ Write on paper and by hand so thoughts can flow more freely with fewer distractions.
+ Keep a notebook nearby to collect anything throughout the day.

I’m hoping this practice will help us go to bed with clearer minds, be more in touch with our emotions, improve our writing skills, and maybe even recognize the progress we can make in a month! Willing to try it with us?

Reflections on my June Habit: Mindful Drinking:
Mindful Drinking June has been pretty cool! The goal was to drink more water and also to slow down and better enjoy non-water beverages. I consumed a ton more water this month and had an 83% success rate overall! I did feel like my baseline health was better with the increased hydration but strangely all of my head stuff flared up this month too. The pain and discomfort did make it really hard to slow down and be mindful when drinking a soother like caffeine. On the lower pain days, I consumed less soda and a lot less alcohol but also slower and with more joy.

To recap, the idea was to:
+ Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day: 2 before each meal and 2 mid-afternoon.
+ Use mealtime as a trigger and set an alarm on my phone for the 4pm break so I could remember to refill my bottle.
+ Keep an 8-cup pitcher of cool, sometimes flavored water in the fridge so I could track my consumption.
+ Follow the Mindful Eating rules for any non-water beverages: particularly to check in with my intentions, how desirous I was, and also to slow down and savor each sip.

Keeping a cool pitcher of water in the fridge was the key to my success and tracking my consumption. I also did really well on the days that I kept a water bottle with me during errands and workouts. Woot! Any Mindful Drinking buddies out there? Or any tips to help further increase water intake?