it's good to fall off the bandwagon

Award winning mentor and author, Jackie Contoni, said, "... When days go by without gratefulness, the door can feel stuck, causing an emptiness inside..." I love the image this brings to my mind, perhaps, because it kind of sums me up. And perhaps you can relate too?
You see, when I add a new routine or a new habit into my life, I tend not to notice the positive changes, probably because the positive changes happen gradually and discretely over time. Are you the same?

If you think about creating a gratitude practice, for example, one day you may choose to begin a gratitude practice however that doesn't mean the very next day you waken up and are fully and truly grateful for everything in your life. It just doesn't happen that way. Like any new habit and attitude in life, creating a gratitude practice takes time to establish and, because it takes time, we tend to gradually become used to our new chosen way of life and don't notice the incremental changes its making in our life.

However, I've found, personally, that should I break away from a new routine and habit, that’s when I realise something is wrong. And it doens't take overly long to notice the impact that has on my life.
I remember a particularly good example of this from a few years ago. I had really gotten into the habit of meditating every morning. I knew it would be helping me and doing me good. Even though I chose to stick with it and make a good habit of it, I wasn’t noticing the changes and the positive impact it was having on my life.
And then I went on holiday.
You know what it’s like when you go on holiday. Your daily routine scoots right out the window. Well, my meditating did just that.
It wasn't until the 3rd morning of our holiday when I woke up like a bear with a sore head ready to box my own shadow, that I began to wonder, “what’s just happened?” After a while it dawned on me that I hadn’t been following my morning meditation routine. "So that’s what I’m like when I don’t meditate daily? No thanks!" I was right back on it, said farewell to the bear in me and the desire to shadow box.
Has something like that ever happened to you? You introduce something new into your life that should be making a positive change, like gratitude, however you’re not quite seeing the changes because they are subtle and happen gradually. Then when you fall off the bandwagon and forget all about gratitude for a few days, you suddenly waken up and you don’t recognise the grumpy ungrateful face staring back at you in the mirror.
The thing is, when you jump back on you can get back into that happy place again that you, perhaps, didn’t before realise you were existing in.

When we're creating a new habit ad a ew way of being, we tend to chastise and berate ourselves when we find ourselves in the dust having fallen off the bandwagon. However, I believe that sometimes falling off the bandwagon is actually a good thing. Sometimes it takes us to fall and hit the dust to help us to appreciate the subtle changes our new habit has actually been creating within us. Because when you fall off the bandwagon and all the subtle changes and impacts of your new habit disappear all at once and all together, then you can't help but realise just how different and better life gradually had become.

None of us is perfect. To err is human. And, indeed, provided we brush ourselves off and get back on the bandwagon, falling off can actually prove both insightful and beneficial. Not only does it teach us the benefits we've been unwittingly enjoying thanks to a new habit or attitude, it shows us how much better our life has become, thanks to our change or new habit.

So, next time you find yourself landing with a bump on the ground, forgetting to practice your gratitude habit or failing to be grateful, don't berate or chastise yourself. Rather be grateful for the insights and lessons you gain as well as for the benefits a gratitude practice has brought to your life. Thank yourself for showing you that daily gratitude has actually been making gradual subtle changes to your life.

The focus shouldn't be when or how often you fall off the gratitude bandwagon, it should be on getting on the bandwagon in the first place and returning to it when you do fall off... because you will.

Choose to create a gratitude habit because you know you won't be perfect, don't not begin because you fear you won't be perfect.

Viv xx