Virtuous Cycles

Virtuous cycle: “A recurring cycle of events, the result of each being to increase the beneficial effects of the next.”

This might seem like “just a bicycle.” But in the context of a country that makes it safe and normal for someone to use it (even a vision-impaired person like me), I’ve gained so much more than a bicycle.

Noticing and nurturing virtuous cycles

Where are the virtuous cycles in your life? Perhaps there’s something that you often do at the beginning of your day that sets you up for a great day, or something you do at the end of your day that helps you to sleep well and sets you up for a better next day…

  • waking before everyone else so you have a bit of quiet time
  • a morning walk or run
  • reading before bed
  • getting an early night
  • playing games after dinner instead of watching TV or surfing social media
  • making a to do list

We’re all different so some of these things might feel restrictive to you or won’t suit your lifestyle, while for someone else the small habit meets multiple needs and initiates a virtuous cycle. I once read that research shows that making your bed in the morning is one of the top habits that makes for a happy life. Well, being who I am (someone who gets no joy from making a bed and sees little point in it since we’ll only mess it up again that night), I can’t imagine how that’s possible! So think of the times when you’ve done something that’s felt great for YOU and seems to set you up to meet many of YOUR needs. How and where could you plan to do more of these things that set you up for virtuous cycles?

What new virtuous cycles could you initiate?

  • Make a list of all that you feel you need. Think of all areas of your life… emotional, cognitive, financial, spiritual, social, physical, environmental.
  • Which needs feel important and are not being satisfied?
  • Brainstorm ways you could meet those needs. Think of ways you could do it by yourself and then think of ways you could meet those needs together with other people or by being a part of some kind of social group or system.
  • Are there “solutions” that meet multiple needs that are currently unmet?
  • What needs to happen to begin some virtuous cycles that will meet more of your needs? (and ideally – as is often the case – help others to meet their’s too!)