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Elisa Goldstein, Ph.D.Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
A blog about mindfulness, stress-reduction, psychotherapy and mental health.

The Renew Your Life Challenge

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Oct 17th 2011

happyBasic learning theory tells us that what we practice and repeat in life is what becomes automatic. So here’s a very simple question to pose to yourself, what do you practice and repeat regularly? The simple behavioral list may be what’s most apparent. You might say brushing your teeth, getting dressed, driving your car, or maybe making dinner. But what about the less explicit routines that you’ve become unaware of? What have you learned, practiced and repeated that is hindering you that you may not be aware of?

Perhaps when you were a child the household was chaotic and in order to stay out of the cross hairs you got busy and so now whenever discomfort arises you get busy or maybe you’re a workaholic? Perhaps you’ve been in a relationship a while and the two of you have practiced and repeated a certain way to relate to one another and there seems to be dullness or tension that’s there. Or maybe you’ve practiced and repeated the same way of doing all kinds of things and life itself has become routine and the wonder seems to be a distant dream.

Here’s my challenge to you today:

Whatever you’ve identified as a stagnant routine that is not serving you, I want you to play a simple game. Imagine this is the very first time you’ve ever encountered this situation before. Whether it’s a relationship, a task at a job, or the routine of your every day, greet it anew, with fresh eyes.

Then ask yourself:

What am I seeing now that I didn’t see before?

Perhaps you recognize that you don’t have to be a slave to working around the clock and you can pause and do something good for yourself.

Or maybe you see the beauty in your partner or choose to buy him or her flowers. Instead of just retiring to the television as you’ve done every night you choose to sit down, play a game, talk or maybe even become intimate.

Instead of going on your regular walk around the block, you choose to intentional view it all with fresh eyes and find that there is a bed of roses that has an invigorating scent, opening your chest and falling into a state of joy.

All this is available, but we miss out on everyday life by falling into our routines, that are often unhealthy.

This is something worth practicing and repeating.

Go ahead and take the challenge, let us know what you find.

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from. 

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

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