Happy New Year everyone! If you are like us, you have started past years with a list of things you want to start (or stop) doing in order to be a better person or shape a better life for yourself. And, if you are like us, that list was all but forgotten by February 1st. It’s about time we tried another approach, don’t you think?
Instead of making a list of actions or behaviors you wish to implement or change, consider creating healthy habits that can help you achieve your goals. According to the Encarta English Dictionary, a habit is a “regularly repeated behavior pattern: an action or pattern of behavior that is repeated so often that it becomes typical of somebody, although he or she may be unaware of it.” A healthy habit is one that benefits our health, physically and emotionally.
Over the next few weeks, we will help you learn steps for creating healthy habits and provide tips on self-care, self-talk, sustenance (physical and mental nourishment), fitness and more. Stay tuned for posts on how to create a plan, track your progress, rewire your habits, create intention, raise self-awareness and respect your resistance, prioritize self-care, and so much more. If you are tired of reliving the same resolution cycle each January where you end up right where you started, then we hope you will join us this month for a series that can revolutionize your habits, help you achieve your goals and jump start your year.
Roadblocks to Success
Before we start developing our healthy habits, let’s talk about what often keeps us from achieving our goals and creating new habits:
Fear: Fear of failure is probably the biggest challenge to overcome when you are setting goals and determined to make a change. Depending on what your goal is, there are other fears that can surface:
- fear of what others think of you
- fear of the unknown
- fear of confrontation
- fear of succeeding (change can be difficult and even positive change can be scary)
These and other fears can determine your success or failure in many ways. Fear is a powerful motivator (or demotivator, as is often the case when attempting to implement change), and it can manifest itself into physical symptoms that can be an even bigger deterrent to going after what you want in life. We all deal with fear in different ways, but dealing with it will be imperative if you wish to achieve your goals.
Excuses: We all have them and they are often valid reasons that something in our lives is difficult. However, the items on your list are not impossible. Get to know what your common excuses are and see what you can do to eradicate them (or at least recognize them and rise above whenever possible).
Negativity: Sometimes it seems like we can’t get ahead or, as the saying goes, “When it rains, it pours.” Recognizing that something is temporary can be helpful, but being cognizant of and controlling our reaction is key to rising above this common goal-crusher. Negativity itself can be a learned habit. If you think this is the case in your life, creating some counter habits will be necessary to become more positive.
Previously Perfected Habits: This is important. Whether you like it or not, you have created habits that are holding you back from achieving your goals. These habits may be so ingrained in you, that you can’t even recognize them. To overcome these habits, you’ll need to first recognize and acknowledge them and then create counter habits to reverse habits you may have had since a very young age. This will take time and it will take perseverance, but it is an important step to eliminating road blocks to your success.
Starting Big: Sometimes starting with tackling the biggest habit is necessary, but in our experience, starting small and getting experience creating and maintaining habits is more effective long-term. Everyone is different though, and some readers will be more successful attacking the bigger goals on their list first. Know yourself and honor your capabilities.
Past Failures: Just reading the title of this one probably sent you on a trip back through time to past failures you’ve endured and tried to forget. But, here’s the thing, those failures helped you become who you are and hopefully you learned from them and are better because of it. Think of them as lessons and let go of the guilt and fear that surface every time you think of them. It isn’t easier than it sounds. It is only as difficult as you let it be. Let it go. Take from it what you need and let go of the remnants that no longer serve you. Your past does not determine your future. You know this inherently, so stop letting your past hold you back from the future you desire.
Being Impatient: Some of the habits you want to implement may be up against decades of programming that you need to work through and counter. It will take time. It will take planning. It may even take more than one attempt. If you really want to make a change, you’ll need to be in it for the long haul. Creating habits is rarely a quick process. Be patient. You are worth it.
Setting Yourself Up For Success
Now that we know what can hold us back from creating healthy habits and achieving our goals, let’s look at some ways we can ensure our success:
Stand Up to Your Roadblocks: Excuses, fear, negativity – all of the items listed above will not go away. In fact, they may be more in your face than ever when you are working toward something new. As your excuses crop up and fear seeps in, counter them with all you’ve got. They are nothing more than self-imposed roadblocks to hinder your progress. You are in control. Don’t forget it!
Ask for Support: If you are a parent, you have heard and have probably used the saying “it takes a village.” This is true for life in general, isn’t it? Even as an adult, having a support system is important. This support system can be made up of family, friends, counselors, co-workers, educators and anyone else who plays a role in helping you navigate life. Take a moment to think of your own support system. Who will be supportive of the changes you are planning to implement? Who can you confide in and who will support you in your efforts?
Get an Accountability Partner: When you take on creating a new habit, having an accountability partner is a great way to help keep you on track. Perhaps it could be someone from your support system that can help you stay accountable to your goal. If you are working toward a healthier lifestyle or goal weight, joining a group online or in your hometown can provide accountability, support and inspiration. You may have a friend who wants to start a new habit of their own and you could be there for each other, motivating each other to keep going, even on the days where you want to give up. Think about who would make a great accountability partner for what you want to achieve.
Keep it Simple: Creating new habits and working toward a goal can be challenging, but don’t overthink it. Find a system that works for you and tweak it as you learn what works and what doesn’t. Don’t beat yourself up if you make mistakes – this is how we learn and grow.
Be Consistent: When working toward a specific goal, especially if that goal will be achieved by creating a new habit, consistency is the key to success. Consistent repetition is really the only way to solidify a new habit and maintain it moving forward. If you miss a day, that’s OK, just pick it up the next day. We are all human. Just keep going.
Take it One Day at a Time: You have to do the work to achieve your goal. Sometimes it will feel more like work than others. Do it anyway. The longer you do the work, the easier it becomes, until that habit is second nature. If you begin to feel overwhelmed or impatient, bring your focus back to the action. Complete it, check it off (mentally or physically check it off your list) and go on with your day. We promise, before you know it, you will get there. One day at a time, friend.
Honor Yourself: You know what works for you and what doesn’t, but what do you allow? You know your limits, but do you honor them? You are aware of what you can take on and when you should say no, but how often do you choose what’s best for you? When you are determined to implement change, it is important to honor yourself in the process. Listen to your inner voice. Surround yourself with people that support you. Recognize and evaluate your resistance, honoring it when appropriate (more on this in a future post.) Change often requires us to step outside of our comfort zone, but we must stay in tune with ourselves throughout the process or we risk losing our true intent and our motivation to continue.
In coming days, we will get to work on determining and developing new healthy habits. To prepare for that, let’s get started with a brainstorming exercise. Grab a pad of paper or open up a new document and jot down these questions:
- What do I love about my current lifestyle? My career? What would I like my lifestyle and career to look like in 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?
- What do I most like to do with my time? What types of activities make me feel great and leave me feeling unfulfilled when I can’t fit them in?
- Who is/will be most supportive of me when I work toward my goals?
- What activities help me best deal with the stressors of life?
- What kind of person do I want to become?
- What is my mission in life?
- How will I want to be remembered?
- What do I find myself daydreaming about the most?
- What is holding me back from achieving my dreams?
- What would I do if I weren’t afraid?
Now, grab a cup of coffee or tea and cozy up in a comfortable space to put pen to paper. On the first time through, answer them fairly quickly, writing down what immediately comes to mind. Then, go back to your day. Let the questions and your answers percolate. The next day, revisit the document to add and edit. You may find yourself going back to it again and again as new ideas form and you begin feeling inspired. Hold on to this document. It will be helpful as you move forward in your quest to create healthy habits.
We look forward to going on this journey with you! Will you be joining us? Let us know by commenting below or messaging us. We can’t wait to hear about all of your new habits that will make this year your best yet!
This was a great motivator. I’ve answered my questionnaire and I’m on my way to forming some new healthy habits. Some of them are ones I’ve attempted previously, but this year I feel better-equipped with knowledge and motivation to make them stick!
For our readers, I’m including the links to our other January habit posts here:
We hope that you all have a great year full of new habits that make you healthier, happier and PROUD!