Each year, at least once a year, we resolve to get healthy, exercise or make some other change. We start off in the intended direction but many times fall back to our old ways. As we move through the months of the year, there comes a time where we look back and wonder, “how can I jump start my motivation again?” It all starts with the mind. Here are my top 5 mindset shifts that will support us in adopting new healthy habits with consistency.
- Ask Why. As Simon Sinek says in his book Start with Why, we must find our “why” or reason for doing something. So when you embark upon a habit change ask yourself why. It might sound simple but first we just need to decide and choose it for ourselves. As one psychologist stated in an article from Psychology Today, “The only way we realize positive changes in our lives is by making choices.” Also important, be sure your “why” gets beyond “I should.” No one ever took action and held onto change based on a self-imposed “should.” Next time you find yourself saying, “I should…” try replacing it with the more empowering phrase, “I could…” Give it a try now.
- Breathe. You’ve heard it’s important to be in this moment or be present. But how do we do that? As a registered yoga teacher and certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner I know the breath can change both our state of mind and our physiological state. Try it now. Take three deep breaths inhaling and exhaling through the nose. Try it before you eat to enhance digestion. Try it when you are stressed or when your mind is racing at night before bed. It will help change your state of mind and body. The mind, body and breath are deeply intertwined.
- Reframe. Reframe obstacles as opportunities. When taking on a new goal or healthy habit think of the experience as an experiment and instead of framing it as win/lose, think of it as a win/LEARN. Detach yourself from any singular outcome and enjoy the process because that is all we have. The process is our life.
- Replace. This has to do with thinking in terms of replacing foods (i.e. cake) or habits (TV watching) rather than removing them all together. When it comes to food, we often go on a new “diet” plan and start to tell ourselves, “I can’t have that” anymore. But what if we rephrased that into, “I’m choosing to avoid that food now because it doesn’t support my goals.” This way, we are empowered. It is our choice. Thinking of the new habit you want to achieve in terms of replacing (not removing) allows us to create new possibilities instead of living with deprivation.
- Get Specific. Generic goals like attaining more peace, losing some weight, and increasing activity have their place in creating a future vision or outcome. However, behavioral goals are goals you can take action on right now. So, ask yourself, what do you want more of right now in your life? Then take out your pen and paper and write a S.M.A.R.T., behavioral goal. Make it Specific, Measurable, Action-based, Realistic and Time-bound. It’s these types of goals that make our vision for our future become reality.
When it comes to building healthy habits, be patient. You may have heard it takes 20-30 days to build new habits but it actually takes longer. Give yourself a full 60-90 days to build a habit. Mark your starting point, build on progress (not perfection) and accept the bumps that come up in the road. If you’ve tried before and fallen down, accept that it’s all part of the journey of your life. It’s what makes your life story so embrace it, share it and keep learning.
If you find yourself stuck or needing motivation, let’s chat about how coaching can work for you. I always offer a free 20-minute session so you get to feel how the coaching experience goes and we’ll talk about what you need to help you achieve your goals. Contact me at: info [at] yourhealthpath.com