New Year New Me
This year is going to be the best year of my life so far.
Is that a statement that maybe sounds familiar to you? Have you possibly said it to yourself before? I know I have. I know that I have made that same statement for many years in the past and when I find myself at the end of the year, I hadn’t created it for myself.
Has that happened to anyone else?
We begin each year with the best of intentions whether you are one to set resolutions, intentions, goals or targets, most of us believe we are about to create something new and magical. Sadly, for some of us we begin with excitement and pitter out somewhere around St. Valentine's Day. Six weeks into our new and immensely anticipated journey we find ourselves overwhelmed or maybe we just lost our motivation.
Why does this happen to so many of us and why does it happen every year?
For those of you who don’t want to pitter out this year on reaching your goals, I invite you to join me in a completely FREE week long self-care challenge. I will be coaching you every step of the way to make sure you are set up for success as you move into this AMAZING year ahead.
Here are two main reasons you might be finding yourself in this position over and over again.
Habit. You have deeply ingrained habits that you do everyday that have created the life you currently live. When we go to change our lives sometimes we think we can overcome these hard laid paths we have been establishing for years. However, they run deep within who we are and how we show up for ourselves and others. Habits are how we live our lives. They are what keep us moving forward day in and day out. To think we can change them by just stating it aloud or in our minds or writing it on a piece of paper, we are fooling ourselves. Behavior (habits) takes time to redirect.
Excuses. We all have STUFF going on in our lives and we all always will. That is life. We can plan all we want, yet there are always things that will show up for us unannounced and can knock us off our path. These are the things we allow to become our excuses. Have you ever said, “this isn’t the right time for me”, “there is too much going on right now”, “I don’t have the tools to be successful”, “I’ve tried it before and it didn’t work”, “I don’t have the money right now”? Do any of those sounds familiar or are you even aware of the words you use to excuse yourself from the life you desire? We use these to get out of commitments, to move away from fear of the unknown, to stop the feeling of overwhelm, or to simply remain in a life we find comfortable (yet truthfully unsatisfying).
If any of the above rings true for you here are a few steps that can help get you started on a path to true change.
Steps to replace old habits that are keeping you feeling stuck with new habits to get you on the path to the life you want to create.
Awareness. Become aware of the habits that are not serving your future self. How, you may ask? The best way to do this is by doing a time journal. It may not be the easiest of tasks, but it is incredibly eye opening. I’ve asked my clients to do this in the past to see where they are wasting time. The way to do this is by tracking what you do everyday for 5 days. This is not a simple journal, it’s a time stamped document that tracks what you are doing every thirty minutes. Yes, I know this may sound ridiculous and challenging, but if you truly want to know where your time is being spent you MUST track it. Once you’ve completed this you will know what behaviors are not aligned with where you are desiring to go.
Identify. Once you have completed step 1 now you need to identify the habits/patterns you see that aren’t serving your future.
What’s the cue (trigger)? Now that you know where your time is being spent, and what patterns you want to replace it is time to locate the cue. Take a look over your time journal. What you want to notice is what happens right before you start the habit you desire to replace.
For example, here is my 2019 goal. I want to lose 15 lbs by July 1st. If I have a habit of eating cake every afternoon before my 3 pm meeting and I want to replace that habit with something to help me lose weight, first I need to know why or what is triggering the desire to eat cake. We will say I notice I want the cake because I feel tired and anxious about the meeting. My feeling tired and anxious about the meeting may not change, but if I want to lose 15 lbs by July 1st I am going to want to replace this habit.
Keep the cue, change the habit. OK you have identified your cues, now what? Now you MUST replace the habit that follows the cue with one that serves your future goals.
For example, we will use the same from above. I am feeling tired and anxious before my 3 pm meeting, so I eat cake. Instead I will start leaving my desk and going for a brisk 10 minute walk to clear my head and get my blood pumping. This will do three things that will serve me now and in the future. The first is I won't be eating the cake anymore, secondly the walk will help my anxiety by allowing me time to think as well as boosting my energy because it will get my body moving and create better blood flow.
Notice your excuses. I’d love to title this one, get rid of your excuses, however we don’t all know what they are or even how often we use them. This one is SUPER IMPORTANT. Even if you follow steps 1-4 perfectly if you don’t notice the excuses you have they will become your demise.
Here is an example following the one from above. The excuse, “just this one time”. I start to feel anxious and tired, it’s 2:30 pm right before my meeting and I see cake sitting in the break room on my way to go walking. If I don’t notice how POWERFUL WORDS in my mind, “just this one time” can control my actions, I will enter the break room and eat the cake.
As many of you know, “just this one time” doesn’t mean just once. It means just once right now and then just once next time and then again and then where do you end up???? You end up right back where you started. The excuse can be many different things, “it’s been and extra stressful day today, I deserve the cake”, ‘I’m too tired today to go for a walk, I’ll just have the cake and walk tomorrow”. I’m hope you can start to see where I’m going with this. If losing 15 lbs by July 1st is an important goal for me, yet I continue to choose the cake everyday, do you think I will reach my goal?