Have you ever felt like you are always making promises to yourself without much follow through? Well, a few years ago that was me. It felt like everyday I was making up a new “rule” or coming up with a different ending to the phrase… I will never again… or I will always…
I know that most of us at some point or another have fallen into this trap. The all or nothing mentality. If we want to make a change, then it needs to be BIG it needs to HURT if it’s going to count. It took some time, and I am by no means perfect, but I have come to place of awareness and acceptance around what it takes to create real and lasting change in my life. If the change I was seeking was not going to come from making and breaking unrealistic promises, then what was the answer?
For me the answer was and still is SIMPLE HABITS. The way I define simple habits are the small,seemingly insignificant behaviors that you repeat on a daily basis.
Once I started to trust and believe that the slow and steady path was the right one for me, I was able to take a breath. I could take my time and get super clear on what it was I actually wanted and which behaviors(habits) and goals would help me get there. Gone were the days of throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks.
This has been, and continues to be my journey. A journey that looks like ditching the black and white mindset and embracing the gray area. The area that feels uncomfortable at times, but in my opinion is where I find the MOST VALUE.
When I started to get serious about personal development and creating REAL change in my life, I started with the morning. From my experience, when you start the day strong, for the most part things tend to fall into place. It doesn’t hurt that I am one of those “crazy” morning people. I was reading the “Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod and I was super motivated! I began to cultivate a morning routine that mirrored the one he outlined in his book. For awhile it was working, but before too long I began to feel frustrated and overwhelmed at the time commitment and the list of things “to do”. It went from enjoyable to more like work.
I realized that if I wanted to continue on with this practice of having an intentional morning routine, it would have to be MY VERSION. I needed to remember what season of life I was in(mom with young kids) and not compare my morning to his- or anyone else’s for that matter.
Now, when I am helping women to design their own morning routine in peace and productivity, that is one of the main things that I teach over and over again, you have to make it YOURS. Whatever routine, habit or system that you want to create, it must fit into your life and not the other way around.
Another realization that I had when it came to designing my morning routine, was that it was made up of many parts. The definition of a routine is, “a sequence of actions regularly followed.” If I wanted to create true flow and something that I was excited to wake up for, I was going to have to start with each individual piece of the puzzle, or each habit that would make up the whole routine. Back then I started to do this without realizing exactly what I was doing, but it was working. Now I now that I was essentially creating simple habits, one at a time and slowly I began to string them together to create a beautiful strand of positive habits.
The more I research and look into the foundation that creates a lasting habit and how they can literally change your life, one small action at a time, the more convinced I am that this is the missing link. For me and for so many of us. We want the instant gratification, but with cultivating the small, simple habits, the change will be slow, steady and PERMANENT.
“According to researchers at Duke University, habits account for about 40 percent of our behaviors on any given day. “ James Clear, Atomic Habits.
We owe it to ourselves to take a good, hard look at the habits and behaviors that are making up a HUGE part of our days!
Now that we have a better understanding of the WHY around habits, I want to share with you some of the specific habits that I have cultivated and grown over the past few years while I was on my journey out of overwhelm. I literally still do ALL of these, every. single. day.
Affirmations are short, positive words or phrases that encourage and instill confidence. Our minds are powerful! Our thoughts have the ability to set us up for an amazing day or have the ability to set us down a negative spiral for the rest of the day. The good news is that the choice is YOURS! This is why one of the habits I suggest is to intentionally pick a word, or a phrase that makes you feel GOOD! Here are a few ideas to get you started down the road of shaping your day and the way you feel with the words you are choosing to use.
I know this comes up often, BUT there is a reason that people are talking about the power of gratitude. It can be transformative. For me, personally, I find that it is SO easy for me to get in my head and wrapped up into whatever I’m doing or what is not going my way. This inevitably leads to a bad mood. But when I am intentional with thinking about and writing down what I am grateful for on a daily basis, it shifts my perspective. I stop seeing the hard and the frustrating things(or see them less) and I start to see all the things that are going well. Start with ONE thing. It can literally be that you are grateful for your cup of coffee(which is often one of mine). You will see how this habit will naturally evolve and build on itself.
Put Pen to Paper.
This is probably my favorite habit! Getting thoughts out of your head and onto paper is one of the best ways I have found to calm the mind and to make sense of the constant noise that we are always surrounded by. I naturally gravitate towards writing and journaling, but I know that is not how everyone feels. That’s why suggest starting with ONE page. You might be noticing a theme here 🙂 I love the concept of focusing in on one thing. What is the thing that will help me to move the needle towards the objective? In this case, the objective is to create a writing habit. You don’t need to be a writer or have anything particularly earth shattering to say, the important thing is that you are doing the act of putting pen to paper. You might be surprised what comes up and out of you.
I will be going into much more detail in my group coaching program about how you can design your ideal habits and daily routines to work for you and your family. But for now, I just want to outline a few key things to consider while you are beginning to explore the wonderful world of habit formation.
First of all, I highly recommend the book, “Tiny Habits” by BJ Fogg. He has a great way of simplifying the often confusing and complicated nature of behavior change.
In his book he outlines both the recipe for a solid habit as well as the recipe for behavior change. I love the idea of looking at these things like a recipe. You can add what you want and leave out what you don’t. Again, this is how we can truly design a life we love, because it is uniquely ours. Below I am going to boil it down to a few key things that have helped me to design each of the above habits.
Attach the desired habit to a behavior you already do with consistency.
In my case, the morning time always comes with a cup of coffee, so anything that I can attach to or associate with that will be likely to stick. Let’s use the gratitude as an example. You could say, after I take my first sip of coffee, I will say one thing that I am grateful for.
Distill the habit down to its most simplistic form.
This might be the most important aspect. Our tendency is to make habits BIG from the start. This is unfortunately where many people fall off. When you can take the habit you want to create, let’s say Practicing gratitude, and make it as small as possible, you have a better chance of doing it consistently. So, a simple gratitude habit would be saying ONE thing you are grateful for as opposed to feeling like you need to write down 3 things everyday.
Have a plan for follow through.
Lastly, setting yourself up for success is key! This looks like creating an environment where it is near impossible for you NOT to do the desired behavior. Going with our example of gratitude, you could set your Simply Big Life Planner or Journal right next to the coffee maker with your coffee cup ready to go the night before. You could even go a step further and write I am grateful for… on the top of the page. Whatever you need to do that will be a sufficient reminder for you to do the simple habit.
Overall, simple habits are where it’s at! They are useful building blocks that can help get you to any goal. It also helps to feel more calm and less stressed during the process. The hard part is remembering to start small and fighting the urge to overthink and overcomplicate. We are looking to plant DEEP roots that will allow for true growth and genuine change over the long haul.
The other important thing to keep in mind is to make this process work for you! You can apply the tips and approach above to whatever habits you might want to cultivate. Think about what season of life you are in and go from there.
Until next time friend, Thank you so much for your time and energy. I would love to stay connected and see how I can support you.