Today I want to talk to you about habit change. Habit change is the opposite of all-or-none behavior where we are either doing everything all at once or we are doing nothing at all. Effective habit change is about taking small steps in the direction that we truly want to go–one baby step at a time. This is doable; it is sustainable and it works. This is important, because research shows that it takes 21 days to change a habit–if we are already burnt out by the end of the first week, we won’t be successful at changing.
If you’re a more perfectionistic type, you might not want to waste time. You’re on top of things and you just want to take care of business: “Just give me all 50 steps at once, and let me get on with it.” Problem is, when we try to make change like that is rarely works because life happens–and we can’t sustain that level of change for long. And even if we could, we know that too much change, even if it is good change, is stressful on our organism. Too much of a good thing is still too much. In a state of stress, it is harder to shift in a meaningful way.
Some or us are less perfectionistic but we have a need for constant variety. So, even though we intend to work on something, after a few days when the initial glamour wears off, we notice something else that looks shiny and more interesting, and dart over and try that instead. Forgetting our original intention, we move from one thing to another which allows for no sustained momentum in any one direction. We try many different things, but nothing really sticks, and we get no real results.
And then there are those of us who have trouble getting started at all. We may want to make changes, but when the alarm goes off, it is so much easier to stay in bed then get up for that walk we said we wanted. The initial shift out of one’s comfort zone and into something new doesn’t happen. We feel stuck and immobile and nothing gets going.
We can all relate to these patterns of taking on too much, constantly reaching for the new or feeling stuck where we are and unable to shift. In fact, these might be ways of being that were modeled for us, and so we naturally took them on for ourselves. Sometimes our patterns are reactions against what was modeled for us. In any case these patterns don’t take us where we want to go, and often are not a reflection of our deeper values or our present state of evolution.
The Sufi mystic, Rumi writes, “Let yourself be silently drawn by the deeper pull of what you really love.” ’nuff said!
Habit change begins with deciding the kind of person you want to be. I want to be the woman who loves herself enough to take good care of herself, and that means getting in bed earlier, because when I am rested life looks different: I feel my capacities more fully and I am relaxed. I want to be the kind of woman who ages with grace, and so I commit to slowing down my pace of life, so that I can enjoy what is around me and fully receive all that is here. I want to be the kind of woman who radiates love and wellbeing—inspiring others to take better care of themselves, and so I take time to tune in, to meditate and fill my own cup first….
What kind of man or woman do you want to be?
How are the actions you are taking on a daily basis lining up with that?
Which pull do you follow?
So, pick an action–make it bite-sized like going to bed 15 minutes earlier so you can get up 15 minutes earlier in the morning. Carve out a little time for yourself first thing. Then, commit to that practice for the next 21 days. “I am going to get up 15 minutes earlier and meditate, walk, do asana, write, be (you decide).” Then fulfill your promise to yourself, come what may. Expect to be tested. Remember your original desire and commitment and keep going. At the end of the time, you will have created a new habit AND you will be the kind of person who keeps her promises to herself. The momentum gained will allow you to continue with the next thing.
So if you are resonating with a desire for change, I invite you to make a new vow.
What direction are you wanting to go?
What one action could you take and sustain for the next 21 days that would help you get there?
Write it down. Play with it until it feels just right, and then commit! Stay with your commitment no matter what, and watch yourself evolve into the woman or man you want to be. For extra accountability, share your plan with a trusted friend.
And if you are feeling ready to make some shifts right now, I invite you to sign up for my 10-week course, Sacred Daily Essentials. Join a group of committed individuals like you who are ready to align their actions with their deeper values, and take their health to a whole new level of vibrancy and feeling really good. You can find out more here. Fill out an application here and we can talk. The deadline for applying is noon, Sunday April 30th, 2017. Our first live all in Monday, May 1st.
Love and Care,