Do you struggle with your habits? Whether it is creating the ones we want to have or breaking the ones we already have locked in – most of us have at some stage.
Let’s start with a definition first. Let’s remove the idea of BAD or GOOD habits. One habit could be really positive for one person and negative for someone else. It is all completely individual and will evolve over time – just like you do. I can also tend to find that this years positive habits end up being next years negative ones haha, is anyone with me on that?
Habits shifting has been an important part of my own evolution. Learning to treat myself better has supported my growing ability to truly love myself.
I believe that the way you live sets the bar for who you believe you are.
That means that if you aren’t quite there with loving you yet (you know who you are), evolving how you live to support you better, can positively influence that perception.
Before structure for me, there was chaos.
12 years ago my life was in total chaos. The formulation of (at the time) more positive habits around my eating enabled to start to take agency over my own life. I took charge of my weight and managed to lose 3 stone (42 lbs).
There is something quite magical that happens to a human being when they step into their power and realise that they have the power of choice. For me that didn’t come in one great flash of wisdom, even with the weight loss. It came through developing the power to control, review and iterate a thousand tiny habits.
Habit shifting is something I am pretty much always working on – as is my relationship with myself.
Let’s work together on this.
There are some great books on this topic, notably James Clear with his Atomic Habits and BJ Fogg with his Tiny Habits and so much of what they say in those books I share – it is the little habits that set the foundation for how we live our lives.
If you want a quick start on how to start thinking about where you might be able to create better habits in your own world, but don’t know what you want to change, perhaps a little self care audit might be a good place to start.
Here’s the Self Care audit that I use to check in on how I am tracking against these things and to set goals around where I want to be. Feel free to change the questions around what works for you. There is no one path to wellbeing, it’s a completely individual and inside job.
Honestly though, most of us already know deep down what is truly serving us and what isn’t.
If you have given the audit a go and you have your one thing you would like to add into this week. Here’s some ideas (likely some also from the folks I mentioned above, can’t remember who said what haha) for making and breaking habits.
1. Habit stacking
If there is always something you do, it is SO easy to make add one habit to another. We all clean our teeth in some way every day (I am sure), so is there a way you can create a habit around that habit.
2. Create triggers
Earlier this year I wanted to make a habit of taking a vitamin every day (Heights – life changing!), and given I wanted to take it at lunchtime I leave it in my kitchen where I will see it when I make lunch. You can also set alarms on your phone.
3. Create or remove barriers
Whether you want to add something or take it away, it helps to create or remove barriers accordingly. If I want to stop eating something, I stop buying it. If I want to wean myself off something, I have sometimes gone cold turkey altogether. I did that with salt because I was SUCH a salt monster that I needed to be a little more extreme. Now I have re-educated my palate and can eat salt more responsibly.
4. Habit replacement
When I was trying to break a snack habit a while ago, I simply stopped buying snacks. At the time the snack habit craving kicked in, I simply made a cup of tea, then gradually weaning myself of the replaced tea habit.
5. Make it feel satisfying
Is there a way that you can gamify yourself to feel like you have been rewarded for either doing or not doing something? Sometimes the act is enough of a reward in and of itself, but in case it isn’t, can you keep a daily tally?
6. Create an accountability partner or group
When I was learning how to meditate, it was one of the hardest habits I had to teach myself. I found communities of likeminded friends and we created WhatsApp groups. When a person meditated, they simply posted an emoji into the chat. It was a great trigger to everyone else to meditate if they hadn’t yet today.
When you can get into the habit (see what I did there haha) of creating and removing habits in a more iterative, fluid way it makes tackling the bigger changes a whole bunch easier. Developing a mindset of continuous improvement becomes easier the more you do it. Just like if you are working on a software product, if something doesn’t work, you simply remove it and try something else.
Try also to view any ‘failures’ as positively as you can. They are there merely to provide data points for future growth.
What I learnt about habits in my own world, is that the small habits I was able to create and remove where the things that have added up to the total transformation in not only how I live, but more importantly, how I see myself.
If you feel like you need a little extra help around your self perception, or indeed habits, holler at your girl.