Is there a gap between how you are and how you want to be? Change and healing aren't as simple as just wanting to be different.
There's this thing Thich Nhat Hanh calls 'habit energy,' It's the automatic, unconscious energy that can sometimes get us into trouble. Like when your child makes a mess and you overreact. Or when you're running late and start yelling at people who slow you down. Or when you feel sad and reach for a brownie or glass or wine or even a book without even noticing you are trying to distract yourself from the sadness.
With mindfulness, we bring deeper awareness to our habit energy. Looking down at the wine glass, we wonder, 'Why did I just pour this? Am I looking forward to how it tastes with my dinner? Or could I be distracting myself?' Realizing we are criticizing or scolding or gossiping about someone, we stop and get curious about ourselves, 'What am I feeling?'
Rather than pushing ourselves harder to be 'good' or disciplined, it can help to soften and bring curious, loving attention to the things we do that we wish we didn't do. Letting go of the judgment that may be pretty entrenched, we cultivate gentle attention. Not 'What am I doing, dammit?' but 'What's up in me right now that is causing this thought or action or feeling?' And perhaps a pause to feel and contemplate.
As a mom (to 2 teenage sons), wife, and person in the world, I have been on a long imperfect journey. I have made many mistakes, but with mindfulness, emotional reflection, and lots of support I have learned enormously from those mistakes.