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Confessions from a real conversation —
“I am a Rebel.” (**Girl, me too!)
“ I don’t like to be held down by schedules, that’s why I choose the work I do.” (**Are we soul sisters?)
“I just don’t know why I can’t follow through when it is something that I actually love to do.” (**Been there, done that.)
“But, don’t get me wrong, I am healthy and kind of in shape. I mean, I only weigh 131 lbs and I am pretty petite…” (**Ahhh, the self-judging inner critic is at it again….)
“I just don’t get why I can’t do what I know I should do, even though I love it and I feel great afterwards. How do you change your mind around that?”
She felt so unjustified. And as she spewed out those words of self-confession and inner criticism, I could practically see her insides twisting with guilt and embarrassment at not being able to figure this out. Her face wrinkled a bit as she leaned back in her chair, giving in to the not knowing and silently begging for guidance.
As I asked her questions to help me learn more and she answered them with an outpour of emotion, a twinkle in my eye began to form as I was connecting some of her dots that she thought were unconnectable. We brainstormed and I could see the cloud of hopeless abandonment begin to lift as her face filled with smiles and she feverishly wrote notes of resonating thoughts.
Then it happened.
Shoulds started to be dropped and I cringed with each one. I wanted to scream out, you are ok and you are worthy. No justification needed, just some guidance and refocusing.
“I should move my body every day. At least for 30 mins. I should just do it and I should not sit for so long at my computer. I know I should just schedule it out and do it.”
When we get stuck in the box of our life’s realities, it can be challenging to see other possibilities and alternatives. It’s like when all the lights are turned out in the house, except for that one distant bedroom light that shines like a beacon, yet it is too far away to shine light on the immediate steps in front of you. That is life’s realities at times — We know there is a light of hope to help us see where we are going, but the current environment is dark and all encompassing. It can be downright scary!
Why is it so hard to actually commit to doing something that you love to do and that you enjoy to do. And why is it so hard for some people to make it a commitment and other people it comes naturally?
There are a few key factors that get lost in the mix of the shoulds, coulds, and woulds of life. Here are my top 5 factors that need to be in place to help you commit even when your schedule changes and your routine is turned upside down — and even if you are a innate rebel, schedule hating, fly by the seat of your pants kind of awesomeness!
- You must know thy self. Like in the story above, she knew that she was a rebel and that she did not like to keep a schedule. She was straight forward with that. Her talks of what she should do only seemed to come in when she began to reference tips of experts or what she reads that she should do. The reality is that if you do not know how you function best, what environment or situation excites you, or even parts of your personality that could set you up for success or failure, figuring a path out of the dark could be quite challenging. Sitting and asking yourself specifics about what seems to be common obstacles that always seem to get in your way and what actually lights you up and excites you would be a great start. Also, ask yourself what are common themes in what kept you committed in the past or committed to other behaviors that come easy to you. If you still feel really stuck, you could also hire a coach or someone to help you work through your sticking points and get you pointed in the right direction.
- Focus on the best times. There are two key questions to ask yourself to navigate this the most effectively — When are you the most energetic and when do you have the most time to commit to being consistent? Setting up time around when you have the most energy and motivation to engaging in your healthy habit can help to push you to get started. It is equally important to ask yourself when you have the most time to be consistent and committed. You may have the most energy in the evening, but if that is family time and/or when you are making dinner, then committing to your healthy habit will never stick!
- Have a sacred spot. It is hard to gain traction and create new habits when you are stuck in the depths of everyday, ho-hum life. Having a sacred spot dedicated to your new habit can help to remove you from everyday and upgrade you to new and extraordinary. For example, if you want to start a yoga program but are stuck at home, then creating a separate sacred space that is your mat, some candles, some inspirational pieces, and maybe even an alter. This could be a whole separate room or it could be a corner of a room — it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that it is used for, and only for, your new habit.
- Create a transition alarm. Pavlov had it right in his dog experiment. Pavolv’s theory involved pairing a stimulus with a conditioned response. You may not like a set schedule, but hearing a specific alarm or noise could trigger your brain into preparing you to transition to the new habit you are trying to create. Or, maybe you love a schedule but often get wrapped up in the world around you. Setting an alarm can pull you out of focus and create a reminder that it is time to take care of yourself.
- Have accountability. Your accountability could come from a person or a class or even a method of self-tracking. Having someone or something to report to helps keep you honest and on track. Want to take an online yoga class but feeling the strain of self-commitment? Partner up with someone in that class and hold each other accountable for being there together on each live session.
With any new habit or when trying to return to an old habit, these are 5 tips that you can implement easily to get yourself started on the right path. What it really comes down to is taking a first step. The first step is always the hardest, but it is the most transformative and it is the step that can catapult you into creating a habit that once seemed daunting! And, once you get the started, the ball starts rolling easier, making it easier to commit.
I love inspiration through story-telling! If you liked this article, then you will love my other blogs.
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