How To Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
The beginning of the New Year often gives us a wave of motivation (and a bit of a clean slate) to start thinking about developing good habits, making changes and ‘improvements’ to the way we live our life.
You know, quitting old habits that feel like far from healthy and helpful and are dragging you down. And instead, adding a few new ones, that your body, mind, heart or soul desperately long for.
The energy of a new beginning is always very powerful and you can use it for your best advantage. It provides a much-needed boost so that you can give these intentions your best shot.
I’m not talking about new year resolutions here, as they are usually gone and forgotten within a few weeks. I’m talking about developing habits that provide:
- a gentle but radical change,
- a sustainable upgrade,
- a significant shift in your habits,
done in the spirit of integrity and connection to yourself, that will let you feel healthy, happy and confident for years to come.
Developing Good Habits That You Actually Stick With
I’m sure it’s not the first time you are thinking of making changes. I’m also sure there were times in the past when it didn’t work for you as well as you expected. And maybe these ‘failed attempts’ left you feeling disappointed, disheartened or frustrated with yourself.
So now, instead of feeling inspired and hopeful, you are more sceptical or even doubt your ability to make (and sustain) the change you really long to make.
Unfortunately, the more times you fail, the less confidence you have in your ability to make it all work. That’s why it is so essential to understand how the process works and have all the tools necessary to succeed in developing good habits.
Because one success, even a small one, is all you need, to make your confidence soar again.
Let’s look at why things might have gone wrong previously. And let me show you how you can approach changing your habits differently this year, so that you can set yourself for success from the very start.
Common Mistakes When Trying To Develop Good Habits
Breaking old habits and replacing them by developing good habits is actually both science and art.
You need to know how to do it in order to succeed. And they don’t teach that at school.
So, even if you failed miserably in the past, remember it wasn’t your fault. Just go on reading, do it differently this year and get the amazing results you truly want to get!
- THE #1 MISTAKE THAT BLOWS YOUR CHANCES OF DEVELOPING YOUR HABITS IN A SUSTAINABLE WAY.
The biggest mistake that we so often make is focusing on TAKING THE ACTION.
We approach changing habits by either trying to stop ourselves from doing something or by pushing ourselves to do something else, or often by doing both things at the same time.
Let’s say you decided to lose weight. You try to ditch sugar and limit carbohydrates, head for the gym before work 3 times a week and pass on your friends invitations for a night out (involving pizza and drinks). Good for you, but….
It often feels like trying to swim upstream. Of course, you can muster all your strength and it will keep you going for a while. You will surely move a few meters up the river (lose a few pounds). But how long will you be able to sustain all this effort? Especially that deep inside, you know that swimming downstream is so much easier…
You need much more than just your willpower to keep going. Trying hard, pushing through, struggling and striving can only take you so far. Better call for backup!
2. THE SECRET TO CHANGING HABITS EFFECTIVELY AND EASILY
The secret to changing your habits is actually very simple. It lies in engaging the WHOLE OF YOU into the process- your head, your heart, your spirit and … your hands.
Action is important but if you don’t get the rest of you onboard — chances are the moment your new habit becomes challenging or simply boring (or when you’re just having a bad day), you will ditch it for something easier or for something that brings you instant gratification or relief.
Successful change always involves working with the whole of you.
You need to pay close attention to your mind — with its thoughts and beliefs. Take into account your heart — its feelings, needs and values. And don’t forget about your spirit — with its longing for meaning and purpose. And then, and only then, your hands come into play. Action is necessary, of course, but almost never sufficient on its own.
So, before you:
- set your alarm clock for 5 a.m. to head to the gym
- bin all the cookies and chocolate bars you hoard in your kitchen
- lock your phone in a safe to stop yourself from scrolling through Facebook.
you need to do some INSIDE MAGIC.
Because deep, sustainable, long-lasting change always starts inside.
New Choices – Developing & Changing Into The New You
When I quit smoking, which feels like light years ago, I did not struggle much. It was at the time when I was at the beginning of my diploma course in breath work. I was doing a lot of practices involving my breath, I was becoming more and more keen on keeping my body healthy and well and also starting to think about using breath work in my work with clients. The truth is, I was also, for the first time in my life, starting to treat myself with more respect, care and love.
As a result, I started to feel a bit of a cringe each time I put a cigarette into my mouth. It simply started to feel very uncomfortable. I continued for a while, in spite of a cascade of emotions, ranging from subtle annoyance with myself to overt guilt and shame. But with each new cigarette, I was becoming more and more aware that smoking did no longer fit into who I was becoming.
So one day, I woke up, had my breakfast and did not reach out for a smoke … ever again. Just like that. It just happened. Easily and effortlessly.
How Good Habits Can Transform Your Whole Being
But it felt like that because, by the time I binned an almost full pack, a whole lot of other things changed inside me.
- Mind: I grew a few new beliefs: e.g. that smoking was bad for me, that I didn’t need it to calm myself down, that there were other ways in which I could self-soothe and self-regulate (in a much healthier way)
- Heart: I started to FEEL that I wanted to care for my body the best I can. I realised my need to align all of my actions so that I could feel at peace with myself and show up for my work walking my talk. I became very aware how much I value my health, self-care and above all: integrity. Feeling disappointed, frustrated, guilty and disgusted at times 🙂 played its part, too!
- Spirit: As I was on a mission to help others see the power of breath and how it can transform their lives — smoking just couldn’t be part of that.
- Mind/Heart/Body/ Spirit TOGETHER= Identity: I was no longer a person that smokes, no more than I was a person who sniffs glue, gambles in casinos or steals candy from shops. Smoking just became another thing that I have no interest in. It just wasn’t me.
Whether you want to:
- start doing yoga to keep your body fit and flexible.
- stop all the drama in your relationship.
- stop eating sugar to lose weight.
- or simply start drinking more water to keep your body hydrated.
it will involve a whole bunch of changes happening behind the scenes. You need to know how to make intentional use of all of them.
Good Habits Will Change Your Happiness & Identity
Shifting your habits is a process that involves so much more than simply changing your actions.
And ultimately, it involves changing who you think you are- your identity.
Our identity is one of the strongest anchors in life. We will stand by it and defend it no matter what. If you believe you’re fat, lazy, addicted to chocolate, a drama queen, not good enough, not deserving to change, not physically able to change and … (add your own) — you will stay stuck being that person. Even though it’s nothing more than a bunch of thoughts and beliefs you bought into. You can push yourself really hard to make a change, but chances are this bunch of beliefs and thoughts, will call you back very soon.
Unless you become a different person inside, there are little chances your new habits will stick for long.
The good news is, once you know how to make conscious use of all the elements of this process you know how to gradually grow into being a ‘new person’. And then, changing your habits is not even half as hard as you think. Once you know how to do it, you can go easily and gently and get truly remarkable results.
Even if you failed many times before.
So, if you think getting a ‘habit upgrade’ is what you need right now to start living a better, happier and more fulfilling life -let’s talk!
Book a free call DISCOVERY CALL HERE and let’s set you up for success!