Realise The Impact of Your Habits
One of the realities of creating any change in your life involves recognising how your habits and routines impact your current life path. That can often be harder than you realise, but once you start the process of being honest with yourself and shifting your thinking, then the impact of your habits will become apparent.
Often, your priorities become apparent as well, because the habits you create show what really matters to you or allow you to make excuses.
When I work with individuals to help them create change in their lives, I often provide that jolt in their way of thinking. That jolt helps them to see how their habits or routine may actually be the obstacle that keeps them from progressing in different areas.
I have one client who is unemployed. I am training him, with the goal of getting him back into the workforce. He is amazing. Throughout the process to date, he had taken in so much and moved miles forward already. I am thrilled with his progress, but there is one area where he seems to continue to struggle. When we started talking about making healthy food choices, the excuses started to fly.
“Ah, I’m not good at that.”“It costs so much.” “What is healthy anyway?”
Every response was an excuse about why changing his eating habits was not possible, but impossible. Clearly, he wasn’t thinking in solutions. I decided that I was going to help him shift his thinking. I started with something that I knew he could do, regardless of budget or time.
“Well, you can start with drinking eight free glasses of tap water every day.” “Eight?”
He looked at me for a minute as if I had asked him to do something that was totally impossible. I confirmed that I had said eight. “Ah, I can’t do this.”
“Why? It is free and it is so simple.”
Then I shifted the topic to his dog and asked him to tell me more about his four-legged companion. His eyes lit up and he spoke with such love and gratitude for his dog.
“He is the one keeping me sane through my dark times, but he is old now and has hip problems,” he said. “Do you walk him every day?” “Of course!” “Do you feed him every day?” “Of course!” “And when he is thirsty, do you give him water?” “Of course!” “So, you look after your dog, but not yourself?” After a long silence, he said, “Oh, I see.”
Sometimes, we know what we need to do, but we don’t know. Or rather, we know what to do, but we choose not to act. Take the issues in your life and imagine that someone else told you about those same problems in their life. What would you say to them? What solutions would you present to them?
Write down the options that you would suggest to someone else. Then write down all your thoughts regarding the situation. Include a list of all the objections that you might have. For each objection, I challenge you to come up with one positive answer to that objection. You need to be actively searching for solutions. It is about training yourself to think in a new way, one that allows you to tap your creativity and the solutions that are locked up inside your mind.
The reality is that you have the answers, but you have blocked them from coming forward because of your excuses and playing the blame game. I want you to change your habits to break through those blockades. Right now, that might feel a bit overwhelming. Much like my client who is trying to change his eating habits.
The best way to tackle it is through small bites. Take action daily to implement just one of the positive solutions you found above. Work on it until that solution becomes one of your habits. You will know it has truly become a habit when you don’t think about it anymore, just like when you are driving a car. It becomes your default way of thinking, almost instinctive. Then move on to the next point.
Changing a habit starts with:
· Defining your goal
· Breaking that goal down into smaller steps
· Creating a time frame for achieving each of those smaller steps
· Finding motivation to keep moving forward by completing the smaller steps
You can use this with a variety of habits you want to change. I want you to recognise that you can’t simply opt to stop a negative action or pattern of thinking. You need to actively replace it with another one, a way of thinking that is positive and focused on solutions. Each habit you replace will allow you to then shift to another one. Creating major change in your life can often begin by these small changes to your way of thinking and habits.
Later, when you look back, then you will be able to clearly see the progress that you have made toward what you want to achieve. That can serve as inspiration to move on to the next step. Positive reinforcement is key to inspiring continued action. If you are trying to change everything at once, the process becomes overwhelming, and our tendency is to just give up. I want you to manage the process of change so that you are not overwhelmed. Instead, I want the process to motivate you and keep you moving forward.