When was the last time you posted a note or image in a prominent spot to remind you of something important? How long does it take for that reminder to become invisible?
Have you ever tried using an alarm on your phone to signal a moment of mindfulness or to signal that it's time to shift your attention to something else ... only to ignore the alarm? (I'm betting I'm not the only one who does this.)
Our brains are programmed to absorb new experiences and to learn from them. Reminders—like notes or images or alarms—can be useful ... but only when we engage them with mindfulness. (The word "mind" is even embedded in "reminder.")
Without mindfulness, my brain will recognize a reminder as an interruption or decoration. On auto-pilot, I breeze past the interruption, forging full-speed ahead without altering my course.
This PsychCentral article explains that the first step in changing a habit is "awareness training," becoming aware of (or mindful of) what triggers a behavior.
Since I intend for my visual or audible reminders to serve as behavior triggers, mindfulness is key. If, as the article suggests, I engage a reminder with mindfulness, I can recognize:
I am in a position to choose.
Do I want to breeze by on autopilot? Or do I want to follow through mindfully and practice the new behavior I intend to cultivate?
What reminders work for you? How have you been successful in making changes to your habits? Share your thoughts or questions here in a blog comment or over on the facebook community page.