Most people know what they need to do to stay healthy - drink plenty of water, eat lot's of fruit and vegetables, exercise, get enough sleep and reduce stress. Being healthy is not rocket science. And yet, so many people struggle to keep a healthy lifestyle and 'fall off the wagon' time and time again.
Why is that??
The secret to getting any desired results is in our daily habits. Something becomes a habit when we do it on autopilot. This doesn't mean we do it mindlessly. It means we do it without questioning it, just like brushing our teeth (at least I hope you don't question it! ;)).
Old habits are hard to break. New habits are hard to form.
It takes constant and consistent effort, and lots of awareness to rewire our behavioural patterns. Because old patterns are engraved to our brain, in other words these are ruled by our unconscious mind. Our instinctual 'operating system', controlled by the right side of our brain and other parts of the brain that have been around since prehistoric times. Thats the part of our brain which is responsible for our survival. Even when it means holding on to old habits that don't serve us anymore or harm us. Because clinging on the familiar is a state of survival.
Willpower and force don't work, habits do.
Habits work on the long term, willpower evaporates the moment challang or difficult emotions are present.
So what does it really take to change behaviour, aka - how to implement new habits?
First of all, realize that habit formation is a personal process, different methods work for different people.
However, there are few universal principles when it comes to habit formation:
1. As always, everything starts with clarity and awareness, you must start with asking yourself the necessary questions. Get clear on what are your destructive behaviours. What are the habits that don't serve you? What do you want to get rid of?
Then get clear on your goal - what is it that you want to achieve? why? and finally - What are the habits that will help you get there?
2. Honing in on the benefits of the habit you are trying to create is what will reinforce your habit. That's why it's essential to get clear on your goal and WHY first. When you are deeply connected with the reason behind implementing this new habit and the benefits are so evident it becomes an internal pull (in opposed to push, when you count on willpower).
3. Get your strategy together. You need to create the best map that will support you in abiding these habits. What is the knowledge and skills you need to acquire? What actions do you need to take? And finally - If you want to master your habits you might want to ask yourself the following - Who is going to guide, coach and support you to achieving them? Who is accountable for you? If you think about skills you already have mastered it's most likely that you had a teacher or a coach that made sure you are taking all the necessary steps. Your'e probably able to achieve it on your own but its going to take you much much longer.
4. Choose to take an empowered stance vs. a disempowered stance. You can easily get overwhelmed when picking up a new habits or embarking on a new journey. Any path will present some obstacles, which you can freak out about or rise up to the challenge. Approach change with curiosity and spirit of experimentation. You might have to try few methods till you find something that works for YOU. Be ready to 'fail' and start again, over and over again till it works. Remember, it's forever evolving.
5. We all have them - blocks! And this is how it usually works - you get excited about your goals and actions, and you have a clear plan. The next morning you wake up and hear all those voices in your head 'what were you thinking' 'you can't do it' 'you already tried' 'if they can't do it why will I be able to do it' and the examples are endless. Blocks present themselves in the form of internal dialog, inner chatter, old stories we have been telling ourselves for years. You have to break these blocks, this is the only thing that standing between you and your desired goal. Warning - the first most common block that might present itself - "I don't have enough time, money, energy" don't buy into that lie, you just need to re-prioritise (watch this video for inspiration).
And finally, how do you know you have mastered a habit? You don't have the internal conflict anymore.
If you want to master new healthy habits and achieve your goals once and for all, contact me for an initial free consultation and discover how I can help you to finally get those blocks out of your way and reach your optimal health and wellbeing.