We have heard a lot about habits, goal setting, and how it takes 21 days to begin a new habit BUT have you ever really learned how to adapt a new habit that you can easily do?
Let me tell you why I ask this crazy question. I am reading a wonderful book that I highly recommend to anyone that is trying to adapt any kind of habit, it is called Atomic Habits by James Clear. He really breaks down the reasoning of why things become habits and others don’t.
The Why behind a habit
It all comes down to automation. I told you it was an easy concept. How long did it take you to adapt the habit of taking a shower? The answer I am hoping for is not long at all. The reason being is because you received a reward to taking a daily shower. The reward was- you don’t stink or offend others. Your cue could have began when you noticed if you skipped this task, then you didn’t smell so pleasant and your response was to take a shower and you would smell good and feel more confident about yourself, am I right so far?
Now it is a unconscious habit that you don’t even have to think about, you just get up and do it, you make time for it, you don’t skip it. So let’s look at some other automated habits.
- brushing your teeth
- brushing your hair
- taking a shower
- putting on deodorant
- getting dressed
- making breakfast
- brewing coffee
- setting your alarm
- packing a lunch
- buying lunch
- working out
- weigh yourself
- hanging up a towel to dry
- putting out your clothes for the next day
- packing your gym bag
- Going through a drive thru on the way to work
- charging your phone
- driving to work
- taking the kids to school
- check your email
- turn on the TV to watch the news
- scroll through social media
Which are your good habits?
Take a look at the list above and put a + next to the things that you consider a good habit and a – next to the ones that you think are negative habits. Everybody’s list and marks will be a little different, depending on their own personal situation and goals. How does your results look compared to the lifestyle you desire? Are there some negative (-) habits you could change for more positive (+) ones to make your daily habits appear a little more favorable?
This task is simply to show you what you spend your day doing that you don’t even have to think about. Think about what your goals are and if these behaviors help you become more of your desired identity or against it? Take ownership of the things you do on the daily by taking a hard look at your own list. Make no excuses for the (-) and no pats on the back for the (+) just own them all.
The first step towards positive change is to acknowledge where you are at and where you want to be and then set a plan of action to get from point A to point B (much like taking a vacation). Think about it, when you are planning your vacation, you plan out every detail from airfare, hotels, places to eat, things to see and do and then you make a plan of action for every minute of the time you are there. Why is what you do every day any different?
Call out your actions out loud. Walking through the steps of what needs to be done gives you a higher probability of actual doing them. Have you ever noticed when you are leaving the house in a hurry that you go through the steps, “I have my keys, I have my phone, and I have my wallet or purse” By going through your list out loud, you are acknowledging the action that needs to be done. Awareness is the KEY factor when it comes to automation.
Each task should answer these questions. What is the action that I must do for the outcome I am after? What triggers make me choose option A over B? What reward am I receiving (we don’t do anything without a benefit?
Try making a list of the things you do every single day that are automatic, rate them, and then look at them against where you want to be in life. This will help you adopt more positive habits in place of the negative ones when you see clearly where the issues are. Then make a list of the things you can change to replace the negative ones and work on making them automated.
It is the beginning of the year when people get excited about making positive changes however, 60% of the time those changes are short lived.
I want different for you. I want you to achieve all the things that you want out of life but you can’t do it by sitting by and wishing for it. A wish is nothing short of a dream. What you want are goals with actionable steps.
What didn’t you achieve in 2018 that you still want in 2019? Write them down and put some emotion behind them. Why do you want these things in your life? What would be different if you achieved them? How would your life be better? How would you feel if you didn’t accomplish them?
Now what actions do you need to take to make them a reality? Do you need to reduce the amount of television that you watch? How about planning your meals out for the week? Going to bed earlier so you can get up earlier to get your workout in?
Let’s make this year the year with no excuses, instead let’s make it all about action. The choices that you make everyday should reflect the goals you want. If you want to be healthier but you are still eating most of your meals out of a bag, then those choices won’t get you to your goals. You must be responsible for what you eat, getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, working out, getting in movement daily, and talking to yourself positively.
No more wishing for things to happen for you…..
Make them happen
“People with goals succeed because they know where they are going. It’s as simple as that.” Earl Nightingale
Have you ever taken a road trip without a map or a plan of directions on how you would reach your desitation? Maybe if you wanted to get lost? So why is it that so many people treat life as if it were meant to be lived blindly. How can you reach your goals if you never took the time to set any? If you are just sitting back and wishing and praying the things you want out of life will magically fall into your lap, I gotta ask you, How’s that working for ya?”
Life doesn’t work that way, ladies. Life is all about what you put into it. You have to set goals in order to look back and say, Wow, my life was a wonderful ride. In order to set goals you have to know what it is you want to achieve. What are you looking to do. Be Specific about it. Write your intentions in detail. What is it that you want? You need to answer the 5 W’s, Who, What, Where, When, and Why. Do you want to lose 10 lbs in the next 2 months? Or place in a 5k race this Fall? Have more energy? Whatever it is then write it down.
Don’t just write it on the back of a piece of scrap paper either, put it somewhere that you can look at it numerous times throughout the day. I like to keep copies of mine, on my computer, my phone, and a copy in my wallet. This way I can look at it no matter where I am throughtout my busy day. You need to always be reminded of your goals. Just like our road trip, your goal repersents your desination.
Always state your goals in a postive present tense. Such as, “I am so happy now that I workout 5 days a week and choose healthy, frequent meals..” Remember the subconscious mind doesn’t know past, present, or future, so use the present tense and your mind will help you make it a reality. MEASUREABLE GOALS. Don’t just write it down and walk away thinking it will happen on it’s own. You have to truly believe it will happen. Feel the emotions! When you lose those 20 lbs, how will you feel? What kind of compliments will you receive? How will people react to you? FEEL THEM NOW!!! Use set dates, times, amounts. By what date would you like to reach this particular goal? Is it 4 weeks from now, 2 months, a year? Write it down.
So now your goal changes to, “I am so happy that on July 10 I am 20 pounds lighter and now I have so much energy.” Be prescise about your date. You see yourself as worthy of these goals, and develop the traits and personality that allow you to possess them. Set Attainable Goals None of this unrealistic junk, I want to lose 20 pounds by next Friday for the office party. They need to be real attainable goals.
This is not wishful thinking, this is setting a real, measureable, attainable promise to yourself. You are giving yourself your word that you will make this goal happen by a certain date. This is where you figure out your plan of action. You should always keep promises that you make to yourself, it is counter productive if you are constantly putting yourself last or breaking self promises. Realistic Goals back to what I said earlier, set goals that are realtic for you.
Goals that you are willing and able to work towards. If it is fat loss that you are after, keep in mind, it takes 3500 calories to lose one pound of fat. So realistically speaking do not set a goal of losing 50 pounds in a 30 day time frame. This is not going to happen. The safest way to lose fat is at 1-2 pounds a week. So take it slowly to ensure you are losing fat and you will keep it off for good. Tangbile You must truly believe you can accomlish these goals. They must be solid!
Do not allow yourself or anyone else get in your way of reaching your S.M.A.R.T goals. Write them down in a place you will revisit on a daily basis. The best way to really set goals is to give yourself the first 5 waking minutes to review them, re read them again at lunch, and again make them the last thing you read before you go to bed. Allow your dreams to focus on the feelings of achieving them.
Believe in your heart and soul that you will reach them, feel every emotion, go through the steps vividly in your mind. See yourself putting in the time and effort needed in able to reach them.