“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.” ~Buddha
When we focus on creating new positive habits and routines in place of old negative ones we can literally change our lives.
As it’s been said: Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits.
A habit is defined as any regular tendency or practice that is hard to give up.
A bad habit is defined as any regular behavior pattern that stands in opposition to your long-term goals.
If you have managed to accumulate a few bad habits over the years and you’re now ready to make a change, be sure you are setting yourself up for success by putting a plan in place right from the start.
Because old habits are highly resistant to change, having a plan in place ahead of time will help you be more prepared to overcome any potential challenges you may face.
1. Believe that you can
Step one to creating any change in your life is to believe in yourself. You must first believe you can before you will. Believe with an unwavering faith in yourself and in the knowing that you will, regardless of any and all circumstances, reach your goal.
A strong belief in yourself will provide you with the mental fortitude and strength you need to resist temptations that cause you to revert back to old habits that are not consistent with your current goals.
Human nature is to stay in our comfort zones, but unfortunately, this is not how, when or where we rise to the occasion of our best selves. We grow as individuals when we are challenged, either mentally, physically or both, and put ourselves in situations and circumstances that are unfamiliar, uncomfortable and sometimes even a little scary.
2. Set attainable goals
Setting goals allows you to plan how you want to move through life. Whether you’re setting broad goals or planning specific goals, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment for doing so. Start considering areas of your life that you want to change or start to develop over time. Once you know what you want to accomplish, write it down.
Create attainable, time-specific goals. Then, set a reasonable time frame to complete your goal, for example, 3 months, and hold yourself accountable. Start small and and work your way up to larger, more long-term goals once you begin achieving and checking the smaller goals off your list.
Remember; little by little, a little becomes a lot. Stay consistent and you will start checking these larger goals off your list faster than you may realize!
3. Create an action plan
Write down your goals and start to create an action plan. In other words, how will you accomplish these goals? Writing in a journal or a goal planner is a great way to keep track of your goals and review your progress toward them. Assess your action plan regularly, acknowledging the progress made toward a certain goal.
The muscle of the mind can sometimes be a very challenging one to flex. There is an unspeakable reward in the visual accomplishment of showing up for your own self. We believe this reward is key to staying motivated. It may even encourage you to work harder to achieve that goal.
4. Take the necessary steps
Okay, so far we have acknowledged the need for change, set attainable goals, and created an action plan. Now we need to take the necessary steps in order to make it happen. If the change you want to make is to start thinking more positively, then create a new habit for every time you acknowledge having a negative thought.
Start by stopping and taking a deep breath every time you have a negative thought. Immediately replace the negative thought with a positive thought and move on. Do this EVERY TIME you are aware of having a bad thought, even if it feels uncomfortable. Over time, you will condition yourself to become a more positive thinker! This is just one example of taking a step toward positive change.
It is extremely important to periodically re-assess and re-evaluate your goals, your progress, your plan and what is and is not working.
Re-assessment is important because it keeps you honest about your efforts. It reveals any holes in your action plan and it can inspire you to keep going even when you are only seeing minimal to moderate results.
Ask yourself these questions frequently to help you continuously evaluate your progress.
- Are you sticking to your action plan?
- Where can you improve on your plan?
- Have your results met your expectations thus far?
- If not, what can you do to improve your results?
As you begin this new journey, learn to recognize that progress in any capacity is still moving forward, so pat yourself on the back and BE PROUD of any and all progress you make.
Give yourself permission to feel happiness and satisfaction; to acknowledge the dedication and courage it took to get where you are– no matter how small.
There are long term benefits to acknowledging and rewarding your achievements, AND it has been proven to increase positive emotions.
Keep your expectations grounded and be fair to yourself. Unrealistic expectations can keep you from accomplishing your goals and trying new things. Let go of the mentality that if you cannot do something perfectly, it is not worth the effort.There is no such thing as perfection.
Let go of the expectations holding you back, and just do what you can!
We understand the fear and uncertainty involved in taking charge of your life and beginning a new plan to live a healthy life or any new plan. This requires change and oftentimes the fear that we are avoiding can be paralyzing and keep us from the life we truly desire.
We are afraid that we will fall short of our goals; we are afraid that the change will be worse than our current situation; we are afraid to put ourselves first because that might mean royally upsetting others and changing relationship dynamics.
There is no need to be afraid. Fear is meant to be a protective mechanism to keep us from perceived harm; however, it is many times fear itself that causes the greatest damage from the lack of implementation and follow through it enables. Remember that the fit body, great job, new business, better relationship, whatever you’re dreaming of is waiting for you on the other side of fear.
Fear is a natural part of making changes, but do not let the stories you tell yourself paralyze you and keep you from chasing your dreams!