“Considering that our habits create our life, there is arguably no single skill more important for you to learn and master than controlling your habits.”
Welcome everyone! I’ve honestly been stuck for days thinking about what to write for my first official post. And so, like I tell the writers in my classroom, instead of being stuck in the beginning, I’m going to dive right into the middle.
If you want to read more about my life- a brief synopsis of my life as a parent, my struggles with infertility, and my issues with perfectionism, you can read more here:
You see, thinking about what I was going to write for my first post kept me from writing anything at all. And because I’m working super hard to develop new habits, I had to tell myself that DONE is better than PERFECT.
Why am I trying to develop new habits? Over the past year, I started a new business, gained 15 pounds, stressed myself out to the point of no return, and let a lot of things slide. I started feeling paralyzed with my unending to-do list. My stress levels were so intense that my health suffered. I had running injuries that wouldn’t heal, was sick constantly, and was in a perpetual state of anxiety. Most of my stress came from the fact that I felt as if I had SO much to do all the time. And, instead of doing it, I would feel paralyzed by it. In order to deal, I developed some habits that were actually sabotaging me instead of helping me reach my goals. I had to make a change, so after a lot of reading and a lot of self reflecting, here is what I’ve learned:
1. Make a decision.
This is the number one thing that has helped me create new habits. Once I make a decision that I’m going to change something, I enter the land of no return. It’s when I waffle, push my start day back, or tell myself that “now isn’t the perfect time, I’ll start Monday,” that shit doesn’t get done. Waffling in indecision will keep you stuck in a life of mediocrity. It might not seem like a big deal if you quit smoking now or clean your house or get up and work out this morning, but how many times has “just this once” turned into an every day habit? Probably more times than you can count.
Let me give you an example. I knew that my nightly glass of wine was a big issue in my weight gain, but it was SO easy to give in. Even though I wanted to lay off the vino, I made every excuse not to (it’s summer, I’m a mom, I deserve this). It was incredibly easy to convince myself that this habit was fine- for now. Funny thing is, it was also incredibly easy to change the habit. How? I made a firm decision. I decided I am NOT drinking a glass of wine unless it is a special occasion (i.e. date with husband, wedding, night out on the town). My decision was so black and white. I’m not going to go home and drink a glass of wine, just like I’m not going to go home and snort a line of crack.
When you make a firm decision that something in your life will change, it will. Don’t waffle. Decide and do.
2. Start with ONE thing.
The drama of overwhelm is so appealing. It can keep us stuck where we are FOREVER. Just like I tell the women I coach, just start with one thing. Need to clean your house? Start with one room. Need to eat healthier? Start with one meal. Need to workout in the morning? Start with one morning a week. “All or nothing” mentalities rarely work for people. But, consistent, small changes do.
3. Set Timers
I set timers for EVERYTHING. In fact, I have one set right now as I pound out this blog post. Timers keep me motivated and focused. Our brains LOVE having things broken into chunks. In fact, we’re not made to multi-task. Timers are the perfect remedy. Set a timer, do ONE task, and when time is up, you are done.
Let me give you my favorite timer trick. I really struggle with sugar cravings, but I also know there’s a 15 minute window of time that the craving will peak and dissipate. So, when that 4pm chocolate craving hits, I set a timer for 15 minutes. During that time, I ride the craving wave. I distract myself. I clean my house. I sit with my kids and color. By the end of that 15 minutes, my craving is GONE.
Timers can help us in so many ways. Set a timer for 60 minutes to pound out the work you need to get done. You may not get up to get a snack, respond to email, or check social media until it’s done.
Timers work for EVERYTHING. Set a timer for 15 minutes and clean as much of your house as possible. Set a timer to distract yourself from doing the thing you want to do, but know you shouldn’t. Set a timer to make yourself workout for 15 minutes. Set a timer to start a wind-down bed time routine.
And, with that being said, my timer is up and I am off to go and get my workout done (BTW, doing the thing you want to do least FIRST is another great tip. I call it swallowing the frog).
What new habits are you trying to develop?? What gets in your way?