Habits and behaviors determine our days and ultimately shape our lives.
Begin to notice your habits, especially those you drawn to do repeatedly even though you may not want to be engaging in the activity. This can include smoking, drinking, watching tv, playing games on your phone, eating unhealthy foods, mindless social media scrolling, etc. Once we begin to notice the habits and behaviors we want to change, we can attach, and eventually replace, healthier habits around them.
When you notice the habits that you would like to replace, begin thinking about what behaviors you would rather be doing or would serve you better. If you love to watch dramatic, shaming or tumultuous tv, watch a 3-5 minute motivational video, like GoalCast, before and after watching the tv show. I do love my fair share of dramatic tv shows, but I’ve realized that they have an impact on my expectations for life and relationships. We begin to crave the feeling we get when watching these shows and expect that feeling to show up in our lives and relationships. I don’t want dramatic and tumultuous relationships, so it’s important to recognize how these habits impact our and expectations and ultimately our behavior.
As a practice, you can write down three habits (or more) that would improve your wellness. These can be simple, here are a few examples:
30-90 seconds of intentional breathing
10 minutes of meditation a day
Drinking 80 oz of water a day
Going for a walk outside everyday
Practicing 10 minutes of yoga everyday
Physically moving every two hours
Saying something nice to yourself
Writing down three things you’re grateful for each day
Practicing self-forgiveness every morning
Adding 10-90 seconds of cold water to the end of your shower
Drinking a cup of tea
Set yourself up for success by attaching healthier habits to already established habits. When you feel yourself drawn to the habits you would like to replace, do one of these activities first. It’s okay to start small. For example, when trying to reduce the nights a week I had a glass of wine, I would make a cup of hot tea before I had the glass of wine. When I did this, I almost never got around to drinking the wine.
If you have a habit of eating an unhealthy snack when you get home after work, try flossing or drinking a full glass of water before having the snack. It’s okay to still have the snack for now, but you want to become more mindful in your choices when attaching a healthier habit to it. This will hopefully reduce the behavior in the future and replace the habit with one you desire.
Try implementing this for just one week and then reflect:
What worked, what didn’t, what can be done differently
Continue for another week
Repeat the reflection
During the third week practicing the new habit and avoiding the old habit
Reflect at the end of the week
Continue this practice for another week
After two months, add another small habit
During the week and while reflecting, it’s essential to remain curious about the new habit you’re building. Remain patient and compassionate with yourself. It’s detrimental to beat ourselves up. It is much more beneficial to offer ourselves compassion. This may be different than the methodology we are used to. Many of us were raised with the idea that we have to be tough on ourselves to remain disciplined, but when we use unkind, aggressive, or abrasive language with ourselves it breaks down the trust within us making it harder to succeed. Every part of us needs compassion to build the trust within ourselves, which in turn, helps us be more successful in the end.
What is a habit you are wanting to replace? Consider adding a healthier habit around that and eventually, when we experiment and repeat this enough we will replace it with that new desired habit. Remain curious with the practice, reflect often, and adjust to create success.
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