How to create a practice

Key Principles and Guidelines for Creating Effective Practices

Simply stated, a practice is something you “do repeatedly in order to acquire a skill, capacity, or way of being.” Practices can include reflective practices, behavioral practices, somatic practices, or even meditative or mindfulness practices.

There are typically two parts to developing a standard Reflective Practice.  First, define the purpose or intention of the practice and detail the specific instructions for what will be practiced.  The second part is to design the Reflective Inquiry that will focus attention and foster reflection on the client’s practice.  An effective reflective practice cycles through each of the three stages of awareness, intention, and attention while addressing the barriers to change and ensuring full accountability throughout the process.

To maximize client engagement and response rates, the Reflective Inquiry should be simple, clear and targeted, involve no more than seven questions, include a mix of rated and open-ended questions, and be able to be completed in two minutes or less.

All practices include standard questions in the following areas:

  1. Level of presence (to the area of inquiry or practice – key to expanding awareness)
  2. Focus on the intention (specific to the particular practice)
  3. Level of engagement in the practice
  4. Learning resulting from the practice
  5. Areas for continual improvement of the practice

Finally, it is important that the practice questions are asked from a mindset of curiosity, receptivity, and self-acceptance.  The mind will respond much more flexibly to a friendly environment.  So when designing practices, choose a habit or behavior that you suspect might arise, build a structure to observe it, ensure the practice includes self-observation (awareness), intentionality, and holding focused awareness on the areas of desired change, and engage in the practice from a place of curiosity and acceptance. It will not take long before significant changes are observed.