You KNOW that I love the power of good habits! Habits like drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning, setting out your gym clothes the night before, or journaling before bed are easy to do and make a positive impact in our lives. But what about those bad habits of ours? I have a new way to help you break bad habits - and maybe even change them into good ones!
I know how frustrating it is when you realize you’ve been doing something out of habit (again) that you didn’t even want to do. Like finding yourself arm-deep in a bag of chips whenever you get upset, despite normally being committed to your health goals. Or maybe you drink a glass of wine or two after work each day, but wake up the next day wishing you hadn’t.
We aren’t born with these bad habits - they are learned behaviors! And if you learned to do them, you can also unlearn them. And the key to breaking bad habits has to do with how and why we form any habit in the first place.
Why You Have Bad Habits
Habits are simply actions you’ve repeated over and over, in response to a trigger. The trigger can be an emotion, a time of day, or something that happens around you. And after a while, they become automatic.
Remember the story of Pavlov’s dogs? A bell would be rung right before the dogs were fed. This was repeated with each meal. Soon, every time the dogs heard a bell they would start to salivate. Even if they didn’t see the food yet, they knew they were about to be fed. Our brains work in the same way.
When you repeat an action over and over again, your brain creates a link between the trigger and the action, and the link strengthens over time. Technically, the brain is creating a pathway inside itself that automates what you do next. And then when the pathway is used, the brain rewards itself with a shot of feel-good hormones. Sneaky, hey?
So in our snack food example, the trigger is feeling upset. Maybe at some point in the past, you tried to distract yourself from feeling sad or lonely by eating sweet or salty foods. Eventually, your brain linked the trigger to the action. And when you take the expected action, your brain gets it’s feel-good juice, reinforcing the behavior.
No wonder our brain loves habits! So while you’re heading for the snack cupboard or the wine fridge, your brain is basically running on auto-pilot. And there you are, busy thinking about the future, your to-do list, or thinking about what you’re going to make for dinner… and not thinking about the chips you are eating.
And that is the key: learning to be present in the moment.
Short Circuit the Bad Habit Loop
When you notice yourself on autopilot and engaging in a habit you want to quit, it’s time to be present. Ask yourself why you are reaching for the chips or wine or whatever. This interruption forces your brain to be MINDFUL, PRESENT, and ENGAGED.
And then, you have the opportunity to stop what you are doing, and replace the action with something you DO want to become a habit. Stressed? Put down the chips and go for a walk or meditate for five minutes. Mindlessly filling your wine glass? Turn on the kettle and make herbal tea instead. You have the power to make a healthier choice that will make you feel good.
And soon, you will have changed the trigger-action to something you can be proud of, and that will help you live the life you actually want.
What habits are you trying to break or create? Remember, I’m always here to support your success and help you reach your goals.
In order to keep going after our dreams, we need to maintain our physical, mental, and emotional energy! And if you’ve been feeling sluggish in any of those areas, then this post is for you. I know that at one time or another, most women have been tempted to find the best way to detox as a way to boost their energy… and they come away with some strange detox diet that doesn’t sound healthy (it isn’t), or a “cleansing tea” that leaves them feeling physically depleted and gross.
The best way to detox or cleanse in order to boost your energy isn’t about embracing a fad. Rather, I’m talking about cleaning up your body, mind, and environment so you can feel your best and take action every day toward your big dreams. And that sure feels a lot better than drinking cayenne pepper and lemon juice all week!
Your Body Detoxes Itself
Have you ever been so proud of yourself for staying on track all day, only to suddenly find yourself on the couch in the evening eating a bowl of ice cream and forgoing the workout you had intended on doing? You can blame decision fatigue for this sudden lapse in willpower.
What is Decision Fatigue?
One part of my work focuses on how we can use habits to live a life of ease and joy; but in order to do that, we need to create some new habits while breaking others. If you’re struggling in the habit department, I have some ideas why things aren’t going as smoothly as you’d like, plus some tips on how to shift things in your favor.
Reasons Your Habits Aren't Sticking
You know that I love a good goal setting session, and that I think anytime is a good time to review your goals or set new ones. But unless you’re taking action (doing the goal getting), setting goals is moot. So if you’re finding yourself constantly shifting your goals around and not meeting them, I have an idea that might help.
What Your Goals Represent
Did you know that even high-performance coaches like me lose our momentum sometimes? That even with all the knowledge and tricks up our sleeves, our motivation can stall?
I’m happy to say that I’m not currently feeling that way (thank goodness!), but last week I got a good reminder about how motivation works hand in hand with mindset.
I attended a seminar called The Art of Success, and I took so many notes my hand was cramped afterward.
My biggest takeaway that I want to share with you now is that we all have within us an amazing tool to help us reach our goals - if we remember to take care of it.
The Care and Feeding of Motivation (and Mindset)
Have you ever said that you’ll “get started as soon as I find the motivation”? Looking back, did that motivation just show up and encourage you to work on that goal? Probably not!
Our motivation comes from a healthy mindset, and both are what drive you to succeed. Unfortunately, we can’t just turn “on” our motivation when we want to. Very much like exercising our bodies, we need to take care of our mindset so that it can be strong when our motivation wanes.
We're a couple of months past the new year, but as far as I'm concerned, it's always the season for setting goals … and today I’ve got something that will help you to make them a reality, even if you're feeling like you don't have as much momentum as you'd hoped!
It’s a checklist to stay on-track, no matter what goals you’re working toward.
Let's jump in!
10 Steps to Conquering Your Goals
1. FOCUS & DECIDE
Instead of choosing several goals to work on all at the same time, harness all that energy and focus it toward just 1-2 main goals.
2. Pick the goal with your BIGGEST WHY.
This is the goal that you emotionally connect with and have a STRONG REASON for choosing. (example: “I want to have the energy to play with my kids or grandkids” - that’s a pretty big reason)
It’s your “WHY” that keeps you going, so it has to be a good one.
I’m going to share something people don’t talk a lot about when it comes to a “balanced life” and reaching for your goals.
It’s almost impossible to have both at the same time.
When you’re in the process of making changes in your life, no matter what they are, it’s absolutely NORMAL for your life to get a little out of balance. At least for a short while.
I’m talking about times when …
It’s the week of Thanksgiving in the United States and even though it looks much different than usual, things can still get a little hectic and crazy.
Even a small celebration with your household can involve extra planning and shopping.
The number of things you need to get done in a day (let alone a holiday week!) are INCREDIBLE.
It’s easy to feel drained, rushed, and pressured, and feel like you need to focus your attention on all the things you still HAVE to do (lack of something).
The LAST thing you want to take the time to do is slow down and practice a little gratitude. But guess what
Gratitude is one of the surest ways to protect yourself from getting pulled into the negative, stress-filled, and energy-draining hamster wheel.
I read this statistic on Jack Canfield’s blog that blew me away:
“Researchers estimate that we think about 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts a day – and that about 80% of those thoughts are negative.”
WHAT! That’s a mindblowing amount of negative self-talk.
If you’re going to live the life you are MEANT to live and that you DESERVE, it can’t be dragged down by all of that negativity and doubt.
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Hi, I’m Crystal!
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