We are mostly habits

 

When you think about your day, how much of it are you in auto-pilot? Eating the same things, going to the same places, watching the same shows ... Truly, most of our lives are habits - things we just do without thinking about them.

 

Of course, I would consider most of these actions, neutral, or having neither a positive or negative impact. However, I used to have a pretty decent sugar habit and would have been perfectly content to have a Cadbury Creme Egg for breakfast. Now that would be a "bad" habit.

 

Of course, starting my day with sugary goodness isn't necessarily "bad" until it negatively impacts something else. And this is where we are self-aware enough to recognize our bad habits, wishing we could change them.

 

Loved this quote:

 

"We all have habitual places where we stop. A threshold where something gets too hard, too intense, too scary or even too close to success. Crossing this threshold is exactly what we need to do to exit our comfort zones and transform our lives which is what makes it hard and scary." {Jen Sincero, You are a Badass at Making Money}

 

That's the thing about habits - either the ones we want to create, or the ones we want to stop - it's hard on some level. And nothing is more habitual than stopping when change gets too hard. We each have a threshold of what we are willing to do - or not do. We stop short though we know we should go on.

 

While this applies to SO much of life, let's keep the focus on habits. If Spring is about cleaning out the old to allow new to grow in its place, then we must be willing to do the same for ourselves. Think of a bad habit you wish you could change - why haven't you? What's stopping you? Now think of a good habit you want to create - why haven't you? What's stopping you?

 

Every cell in our being is changing constantly yet we resist change. We are literally built to evolve, but we hold on even when it doesn't serve us. Why does my mom still smoke? Why do I love TV so much? What will it take to change?

 

Step One: Get clear

 

It's easy to be hard on ourselves when it comes to "bad habits" or those we want to "break." Some of them are externally focused while others stem from us wanting to be our best selves. By now you know, if whatever we want is not defined, it probably won't happen. 

 

We also cannot ditch old habits while using negative language: "Don't eat sugar," for example. All the universe hears is "eat sugar." Done. In the same way, we can't accomplish NOT doing something, we have to replace it with something we DO want to create. That is, when you take something away, you MUST replace it, be it a sugar habit or a shoe from a puppy. Ask yourself, what will you do instead?

 

Step Two: Why the new habit?

 

You knew this would come up, right? We are motivated creatures - motivated by all sorts of things from money to sleep to ice cream. Yet we know (by now!) that our goals have to truly mean something to us if we are to pursue them with any sort of determination and grit. 

 

The same can be said for creating new, more positive habits to replace old ones. WHY do you want to go to bed early? WHY do you want to turn on music instead of having the TV run in the background? WHY do you want to go to the gym? Only our emotions have the power to get us out of bed on a rainy day or flip off The Voice and let the DVR do its thing. We make choices constantly and unconsciously so let emotion lead you.

 

Step Three: Don't negotiate

 

Negotiation is something we learned as kids, "Just five more minutes!" "Just one more show before bedtime, Mom!" Negotiations are the things we let ourselves "have" as a pre-cursor to doing the thing we don't want to do. "I'll just check Facebook for a second ..."

 

In actuality, what ends up happening is we use Facebook or TV or any number of other things as procrastination tools or ways to divert us from doing the thing we "should" do. The thing about these negotiations is they reinforce that we don't WANT to do the new thing - workout, walk the dogs in the rain, etc. However, when I see this behavior, I think the person is not emotionally connected to the new habit - there's no WHY there.

 

I'm not going to try to convince you that checking Facebook in the comfort fo your favorite sheets isn't better than walking your dogs in the rain, BUT if you really wanted to prepare for that upcoming trial, you'd be getting dressed in rain gear. Recognize when you are negotiating with yourself and shut it down.

 

Step Four: Double-down

 

It's going to take some determination to face-down your old excuses and habits and come up with new and improved positive ones. You will need to strengthen your willpower and remind yourself WHY you are doing (or not doing) your habit. Put an alarm on your phone, write up a couple sticky notes, tell a friend - anything you can do to support your resolve and remind yourself of its importance.

 

Visualize yourself finishing the task or creating the new habit and think about how it will feel to accomplish this. Whether you're getting up earlier, watching less TV or backing down on gossiping, each has a feeling that goes along. Rehearse that.

 

 

[HOMEWORK] Let's clean up your habits

 

Habits are neither good nor bad - it's what they keep us from that gives them a "quality." Not walking the dogs in the morning is neither good nor bad UNLESS it keeps my dogs from their top condition and my goals become harder to reach or they get injured. I am going to assume that after reading this far, you've identified some behaviors you'd like to replace - so let's get started!

  1. Make a list of all the habits you have that you want to change in some way. Go ahead and brainstorm a long list, but DO NOT allow this exercise to turn into some sad-sack list of why you suck! Because you don't suck. You are awesome!

  2. Narrow the list to 2-3 that you connect with emotionally. They don't have to be the biggest, they just have to be the easiest to build a WHY around. Remember, we are getting some practice in.

  3. Articulate WHY you want to change this behavior and what the replacement habit could be. Bonus points if you can tie the new habit to an existing one to make it easier to execute. Remember, our WHYs are powerful so make it emotional.

  4. Find someone you can tell and who will be a positive accountability partner. You may have different people for different habits or one for all. Commit.

  5. Begin before you're ready. Don't let your negotiations kick in and say you're going to start next week "when it's more realistic." Knock down the excuses and start today!

It's safe for me to let go.

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I make way for new blessings to come in.

If we believe that everything is energy, then we accept that things flow in and out, and all around us. Abundance is energy, money is energy, we are energy. So this month as we welcome in new beginnings, we also have to be willing to let go of what no longer serves us.​

Certainly, by now you know how I feel about the power of gratitude. It can flip a bad day, call in more of what you're grateful for, and is the most powerful thing you can express to the universe.

 

This month I have a guided meditation from my BVCF (that's Best Virtual Coach Forever), Gabby Bernstein. Now, for those of you who are resistant, I challenge you to just listen to this whenever or wherever. I even think you could do it while driving (assuming you are wide awake!) as she walks us through acknowledging ways we are appreciative. Listen while you hike, while you bike, in a car or when you're far ... just listen!

 

Download the Gabby Bernstein Meditation

Welcoming new growth

 

Let's talk about habits, the good, the bad and the ones that need creating!

 

For me, it's always about growth, but this time of year I admit I want to clean out every closet and chuck every sweater I didn't wear last season! I get this honestly from my mom who was the queen of purging and didn't keep anything that wasn't serving her. This goes for behaviors, too. What behaviors or habits are you hanging onto although they no longer serve?

Make way for the new!

 

This month it's time to purge old, non-productive habits to make way for new and improved ones. No matter what it is we want to call in, we cannot do so with full hands! So let's make some room and call in some spring growth!