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How to create habits

How to Create Habits that Last – Better Health, Best Self!

Are you a New Year’s Resolution person?  I try to be, but as the end of the year gets closer and closer, I look back at the beginning of the year, and I usually can’t tell you what my New Years resolution was.

And I don’t think I’m alone.

LOTS of us start out the year, or the month, or the week with big plans. We have big goals, and big dreams, and ideas, and projects that we’re excited about and seem totally doable at the time.

Then, as time goes on, we get busy and distracted. The goal seems a little more difficult than it did to start with. The project doesn’t quite go according to plan.

We start to fizzle out.

It’s ok – we’ve all been there. However, I want to help you move past simple motivation, and start habit building that last.

Positive Habits over Motivation

Simply defined,motivation is something that causes people to become willing to act.

  • Stepping on the scale
  • Test result from the Dr
  • An upcoming vacation or event
  • A realization that time is short

Whatever it is, it’s the thing that gets us moving, makes us change our eating healthy habits, start an exercise routine, or hire a coach for extra accountability.

However, the problem with motivation is that it tends to fade sooner than we expect.

However, new habits form that last doesn’t have to be difficult! Will it be a quick fix? No, probably not. But there are four things you can do to move from simply being motivated, to building habits for a long term change that can literally change your life!

How to Create Habits that Last

  1. Have a Crystal Clear “WHY”Start by asking yourself, “What will having this do for me?”

For example, you may say you want to lose weight because you want to look great in a bikini at the pool.

Ok, but let’s take it a step further.

What will looking great in a bikini at the pool do for you? Would it increase your confidence? Would it make you feel more attractive to your spouse?

And…if you had increased confidence and felt more attractive to your spouse, what would THAT do for you? What would having more confidence do for your relationships? Your health? Your career?
Whatever your answers are to those deeper “love, acceptance, and belonging” questions, is what will really motivate you to keep going. Suddenly it becomes about so much more than just the way you look at the pool or the beach.

It’s about a transformation you want to see in every area of your life. This deeper level of motivation is what will help you keep going when you inevitably face challenges along the way.

  1. Start Small – What can you do today to make follow through inevitable?

Most of the time when it comes to setting goals we create big goals and forget to focus on the small steps we need to get us there.

We say things like, “I’m going to lose 20 lbs by going on XYZ diet and exercising more” and spend no time even a few days setting up the small actions items that will get us there and make our follow through inevitable.

A few examples: If you want to get to the gym more, what needs to be in place to make your follow through (and success) inevitable?

  • Are you going to lay out your clothes the night before to make it easy to get out of bed and go?
  • Do you have your workouts blocked out on your calendar and treat them like unbreakable appointments?
  • Have you had a conversation with your family about your goals and why they’re important to you in order to enlist their support?
  • Do you have a great playlist or podcast downloaded to keep you going during your workout?

It’s ok to start with a big goal…I love stretch goals! Just be sure to break down your large goals into the smallest most manageable chunks in order to make your success inevitable.

  1. Find Good Accountability – Someone who will hold you to the best version of yourself

I think some people have a negative view of the word accountability, which is why I love this definition so much.

Accountability is simply someone you can rely on to hold you to the best version of yourself. They may not always tell you what you want to hear, but they will tell you the truth…which I think we can all agree is better in the long run. Encouragement and accountability are VITAL.

So whether you enlist the help of a few friends, a co-worker, someone you know in your industry, or you hire someone like a health or life coach, PLEASE don’t skip this step.

Ask anyone who you admire that is consistently reaching their goals in life and I guarantee they have some form of accountability in place. That’s not a coincidence.

  1. Commit to the process – Know that change takes time, just be   committed to doing your best each day.
“The road to recovery is not a straight line.”

My therapist shared this with me when I was getting frustrated with the amount of time it was taking to work through some of my anxiety & health issues. And, while we’re not talking about recovery here, we are talking about trusting the process of change.

Most likely, you’ve developed the good habits you’re trying to break (emotional eating, not working out, making poor food choices, not participating in regular self care, etc..) over a LONG period of time.

Know that change is a process…and not a perfect process at that. It can be messy, and that’s ok. Embrace the process and start becoming the person you were meant to be.

Many of our habits, be it a good habit or bad habit, or new habit, were ingrained in us at a young age from our families of origin. Saying that to say, expecting these habits to just “go away” overnight and habit formation overall is simply unrealistic.

All habits proceed through four stages in the same order: cue, craving, response, and reward. This four-step pattern is the backbone of every habit, and your brain runs through these steps in the same order each time.

Instead of beating yourself up and giving up when you fall back into old habits or patterns, try giving yourself some grace.

Know that change is a process…and not a perfect process at that. It can be messy, and that’s ok. Embrace the process and start becoming the person you were meant to be.

Do your best and keep moving forward.

Who Do You Want to Be?

I didn’t originally plan for this to be a two part series, but as I started writing I realized there’s so much to say on developing habits that last!

So…be sure to check back next week as we delve in a little deeper into the “How To” and I’ll give you some practical steps & tools you can take to start developing habits that last and help you start becoming the person you want to be!

In the meantime, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Facebook for more tips and ways that you can start tackling your goals and develop new, healthier habits in every area of life

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