What I Learned from Working on My Habits

relax-with-workAs I’m looking over January’s theme “Relaxing with my work”, I’m beginning to really see how hard I am on myself. I expect myself to master concepts that only great writers, CEO’s, and Zen masters fully understand.

Just because I tell myself to breathe all nice and deep and relaxed over the next week when I’m feeling stressed out doesn’t mean it will happen right away.

Maybe that should be a theme of the month. Stop being a big bully to myself.

I wanted to publish this review of my theme two weeks ago, but I felt like I was still processing my information. Now that I’m ready, let’s begin the review…

Week 1 - Breathing

The first week I wanted to focus just on my breathing. I found that I didn’t give myself goals that were well defined. Because of this I didn’t really get focused on my breathing until halfway into the week.

This is a weakness of mine that needs a little tending to.

When I did remember to take relaxed breaths I felt a lot better. My mood was serene and my mind was much more creative. For example, when I became tense, my breathing was shallow. When I relaxed I opened up my lungs and let buckets of air in. I became much happier.

It’s amazing how the breath is so closely tied to our happiness.

When I take the time to relax with my breath, it’s not hard to be happy. When I let my emotions carry me away, I lose track of my breath and happiness, constrict my breathing and creating a cycle of worry.

Week 2 – Muscles

The second week I wanted to focus on relaxing my muscles. Because last week’s goal of relaxing with my breath wasn’t very organized, I took a more disciplined approach.

I wrote down just one way that I could be more aware of my tense muscles.

So whenever I switched tasks, I focused on my muscles. I noticed if I was tensing them or just not paying attention to them.

By only focusing on one area of relaxing with my muscles, it was much easier to notice when I was straining and when I was relaxed.

Week 3 – Be Playful

The week 3 theme didn’t go as well as planned. It was too broad.

I tried to laugh quietly to myself when I noticed my breathing becoming shallow or my muscles tightening, but I had trouble connecting with this concept.

Maybe I should have been more imaginative. I’m not sure.

What do you think?

Week 4 – Watch the Changes

This was my favorite week. I noticed myself transitioning from one task to the next with a slight smile on my face.

The transition between working on reports then going to a meeting used to irritate me. My thoughts would stray to everything I didn’t like about this change. After relaxing with my work, my transitions were much smoother.

I had to attend an important meeting and instead of worrying about how boring it would be, I focused on enjoying the interactions. My muscles and thoughts were relaxed. I actually sat back in my chair and smiled. I couldn’t believe that I was privy to this cool little show.


I didn’t think that week 3 was a very good theme, but now looking back on it I wouldn’t have leaned back and smiled in that meeting during week 4. I was feeling playful. I was actually cracking jokes to boost the mood level in the room.

I enjoyed the concept of creating a theme of the month, but I felt a little too encumbered by the weekly process. I think I will move back to working on one concept each month without breaking it down into weeks. If I don’t see the progress that I expect from making habit changes then I’ll try another method.

What career or personal development theme would you create for yourself?

Join over 600 people who have already subscribed to the FREE Happy at Work 10 Week eCourse. It will arrive in your inbox every Monday morning, when you need it the most. (Sign up is in the top left corner)

* Psychology today has an awesome piece about our inner voice and how to deal with the extremes within each of us. It's called, The Wolf of Hate.

If you enjoyed this post then you will probably like this one too:

- January Theme of the Month – Relaxing With My Work
- 30 Days of No Complaining – Wisdom Multiplied