We are all creatures of habit. Here’s how to create better habits in the areas you struggle with most.
Do you wish your life would change for the better? We’re all creatures of habit; that’s why change is such a challenge. So how do you create lasting change in the areas that you struggle with most? Create new and better habits.
Here’s my six-step plan to help you jump-start a happier, healthier life and create midlife success:
1 Assess the previous 12 months.
Focus on the 7 areas of life below. Start by asking yourself “How did it go? How did I handle things? Was it the way I wanted it to be?”
- Nutrition/Healthy Eating: How did you handle yourself with food? Did you do a lot of social/binge/emotional or mindless eating
- Fitness/Exercise: Did you have a fitness plan? Were you motivated; did you enjoy your workouts; and did you get the results you wanted?Stress Control: How did you handle stress? Who or what was stressful for you and how did you deal with it?Emotional Health/Mindset: How was your emotional outlook? Were you as positive or optimistic as you would have liked?
- Relationships: Were your relationships supportive, loving, and nurturing, or toxic and destructive?
- Business/Finances: Did you reach your business, financial and career goals for growth?
- Personal/Spiritual Development: Did you grow personally and spiritually? What did you learn and were you living with passion and purpose?
2 Re-set your goals. How do you want those same 7 categories to change?
- Nutrition/Healthy Eating: Do you want to lose excess weight; eat healthier; cook healthier meals; food shop more effectively? Do you want to take the time to pre-plan your meals and snacks? Are you ready to end binge or mindless eating behaviors?
- Fitness/Exercise: Did you make time for fitness? What outcomes do you want to achieve? Do you want to create a more exciting workout; need more motivation or a workout buddy or new exercise program to keep you on track?
- Stress Control: Is your outlet for stress control adequate? Would you consider keeping a journal or doing meditation or yoga instead of eating or doing another destructive self-soothing behavior when you’re stressed? Do you want to be able to recognize the signs and signals that let you know your body is under stress to prevent its harmful effects?
- Emotional Health/Mindset: As far as your emotions, do you want to become more optimistic, positive, fun loving and change your perspective to have more fun?
- Relationships: Do you need to reset boundaries, get more connected with your partner or have stronger, more fulfilling and rewarding friendships?
- Business/Finances: Are you satisfied with how much money you earned, or need to make changes within your business, your team, your marketing, your services, or your products or strategy?
- Personal/Spiritual Development: Are you ready to commit to a daily habit such as reading something inspirational, leaning a new skill, or starting your day with gratitude or meditation?
Answer these questions as specifically as you can, down to the very last detail, so that what you want becomes clear and feels real. The more clearly you define what you want, the more effectively you can create a plan to get there!
3 Consider all possible obstacles. Think beyond money and time; delving a little deeper you may find fear, self-doubt and your current mindset are the biggest obstacles of all!
4 Develop a strategy to overcome every one of them. Anticipating what may derail or sabotage you gives you the upper hand to prevent falling off track or easier to get back on track.
5 Set small, manageable bite-sized achievements and strategies. Small bites are chewable and prevent feeling overwhelmed and discouraged. Each goal you reach builds confidence and motivates you to continue. This doesn’t mean the goals should be small…make them huge! Just break them down into small enough bites to feel a sense of accomplishment along the way.
6 Implement a tracking and reward system. Monitor your progress and reward yourself daily or weekly; when you reach a specific goal; or when you’ve handled something in a way that made you proud. Monitoring progress and rewarding your efforts both validates your progress and enables you to see what’s working, providing a chance to “course correct” so you stay motivated, focused and on track.
Making changes is difficult and many things are out of your control. But you can control your thoughts, behaviors and actions. Destructive behavior leads to failure. Taking steps towards creating new, positive behaviors brings you closer to becoming the person that’s been patiently waiting to be unleashed.