Habit change can start at any moment of any day. Here are 3 habit change tools that you should be using. They’re easy to remember and, even better, they work!
Start, Stop, Shift:
Choose a habit or behavior that you want to start, that you’d like to stop, and that you’d like to shift. Think of it like a traffic signal: What can you do more of? Less of? Stop entirely? Think of one area of your life and focus on that for this whole week. Here are some examples of goals you have and how using this tool could work:
- You want to get healthier for this summer: Start moving your body for 5 minutes each day. Stop drinking beer or wine on weekdays. Shift your sleep habits.
- You want less clutter around your house: Start scheduling 10-minutes daily declutter sessions. Stop going into stores to “browse” or looking at online sites when you don’t need anything. Shift how you manage new things when they come into the house (mail (touch it once), kids shoes (in bin), etc…)
- You want to feel less stressed and overwhelmed: Start meditating for 1 minute a day. Stop saying yes to things you don’t want or have to do. Shift how you think of your overwhelm (expect it, don’t resist it. Get curious “Why am I feeling overwhelmed right now?”).
- You want to be less reactive with your kids or yell less: Start writing down when you yell or are reactive (write down what was going on, what you were doing right before incident, what happened after…). Stop blaming your kids or others for your behavior (seriously, for this week don’t allow yourself to blame someone else for your behavior). Shift your mindset by reading a book on mindful parenting or a podcast on emotional intelligence (Here’s a link to my recommended book list on Amazon and to the first of two great podcasts on emotional intelligence).
I could go on and on with examples. This Start, Stop, Shift works really well with all types of clients because it allows us some wiggle room. It allows us to look at what we’re doing well while giving us the encouragement to make a shift with things that aren’t working. It allows us to make the rules. Choose one area of your life and try this this week. DM me on Instagram: What will you Start, Stop, and Shift?
Calm Honest Action:
One of my favorite life coaches uses this mindfulness-based cognitive technique. I love this tool because it attacks our behavior on a rational/conscious level while also going behind the scenes to address the parasympathetic nervous system. Addressing both of these makes behavior change easier.
Here’s how this 3-step process works: Set your alarm for two arbitrary times during your day. When your alarm goes off,
- CALM: Stop and ask yourself: Am I calm? Check in with your body: Is your chest tight? Is your brow furrowed? Is your jaw clenched?
- HONEST: Am I being honest? This is an important piece for me. I found I frequently answered the first question yes but when I circle back to dig a bit deeper, I often find that no, I’m not as calm as I’d like to be. Which leads me to the next step,
- ACTION: Do something to bring yourself closer to a state of calm. This could be any of our tools depending on where you are and the time you have: journaling, 3 breaths, quick movement, meditating, etc…
The beauty of this technique is two-fold. One, by pausing in our day to check in with our emotional self, we improve our emotional intelligence. How? We teach our brain to pay attention to the connection between our mind and body. This leads to us being less reactive and stressed because we haven’t stuffed our emotions down. Two, by pausing and managing our emotional state during the day, we’re less likely to get to the end of the day frazzled and ready to break. This means you’re less likely to buffer with unhealthy behaviors (saying “I need this glass of wine because my day was crazy” or stress eating). Try bringing calm, honest, action into your life this week and email me to let me know how it goes.
This is all about tricking your brain in a kind way. Remember from the past couple of episodes, the brain has a motivational triad. Its’ goal is to keep us alive; for us to survive. Add to that, the brain is the most productive mini-computer in the world. It is wired to repeat behaviors over and over if we’ve done them before and survived. For example, if we always have a glass of wine when we get home from work, the brain will do everything in its’ power to repeat that behavior over and over because hey, you’re still alive aren’t you? Our brain doesn’t care about the extra 15 pounds, the internal inflammation, the depressant nature of alcohol, or how groggy we feel in the morning. Our brain asks the question: “Are you alive? Yes? Job done.” In understanding that the brain will come up with excuses as to why we shouldn’t change our habits or behavior, we can overrule it. One way of doing this is to pair something positive with a desired new behavior. For example, I do not love exercising on my elliptical. However, I do love to read. So, I pair reading with working out on the elliptical. I have a reading rack that allows me to get a kick ass workout on the elliptical while reading some of my favorite books. Here are some other ways you can use this tool:
- If you are trying to consistently do laundry, you can put on your daily podcast while you fold.
- If you are trying to eat more vegetables, you can get out a bag of carrots to munch on when you chat with your kids after school.
- If you’re trying to get into bed earlier and you like doing Soduku, you can keep your Soduku book by your bed to do if you get in bed by a certain time.
What do you like to do? How can you pair that with a new behavior that you’d like to start doing?
Now it’s up to you! I am a firm believer that life can (and should) be grand. Where are you feeling a bit flat in your life? Choose an area of your life where you’re not feeling great or where you know you could be doing better, choose one of the above habit tools and go. Reminder: I am here for you. I’ve dedicated my life to helping as many women live a life they love as possible. Email me your plan for accountability today at Susie@SMBwell.com. No more excuses.
“The More You Honor Your Commitments to Yourself, No Matter How Small, The Stronger Your Discipline Will Become.” Brooke Castillo
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