By Leo Babauta
I love the simple philosophy of Zen Buddhism, find peace in zazen, and love the minimalist aesthetic.
But I chose Zen Habits as the title of my blog because it describes its philosophy in a concise way.
This blog is really about simplifying, improving your life, being mindful. But I believe that any changes in your life — especially ones that are worth making — are ultimately achieved through the building of good habits. Do I want to complete a marathon? Then I must cultivate the habit of running 4-5 times a week. I must cultivate the habit of positive thinking. It also helps to become an early riser, a healthy eater, and a non-smoker, as I’ve done.
These habits are not born overnight. You can’t tell yourself, “Hey, self, I am going to become an early riser, starting tomorrow morning!” Well, you can tell yourself that, but if you think that it’s going to happen so quickly, you are clearly delusional.
No, these habits must be cultivated through daily practice. It is my belief that you must practice a habit, as focused as possible, every day for a month. When I only do it for a week, it doesn’t take hold. But when I’ve done it for a month or longer, it does. And that doesn’t mean that I’m successful each and every day … but the important thing is that I try, and when I fail, I learn from those mistakes.
The Zen of the title of this blog is simply a way of reminding myself to be present, to live simply, to keep myself centered and at peace as I make my slow journey to creating good habits and achieving my goals. That’s all. I am not a Zen monk or a Zen practitioner, although I do try to practice zazen when I can. I’ve never studied under a teacher, although I have read some excellent Zen books.
For those who are bothered by the “Zen” in Zen Habits: breathe. And then let it go.
More questions about Zen Habits? Read the FAQ.