Successful habit change is the topic of this post. Staying on track during the holidays or stressful times is hard. How do you keep going toward something new as you have more resistance than ever?
I want to revisit a topic that is important this time of year as well as in the New Year when so many of us begin to think about. Self-sabotage is something that I regularly talk about, so that you are aware of it, why it happens, and that it in fact is likely to show up for you in some way.
Why We Self-Sabotage
Why do I self-sabotage? Was the topic of one of the first Flipping 50 TV episodes I did and that was on purpose. It’s a topic that comes up so often for our community. By midlife we can all look back and say, why did I screw that up when it was going so well? Why did I stop doing xyz when it was working? Why did I start abc when I know that will derail me?
I’ve touched on the answers to those questions in other posts, blogs, and I’ll point you to the Flipping 50 TV episode here. Here in this post I want to approach it in a slightly different way.
You may have found your way to Flipping 50 for fitness and exercise and hormone balancing physical activity expertise. There’s more to it than a workout or a protein shake, though. There’s always a psychological component to any physical changes we make or want to. Today I want to address the things that are so necessary for you to have or to cultivate if you don’t have them yet so you can have change or transformation you want.
3 Things for Successful Habit Change
- Belief you can
- Belief people around you believe in you
- Ability to see the past as data for growth
Whether you’re starting a new goal or you’re stuck in a rut unable to change these things are part of success. If you’re stuck, you need challenge to get over the plateau. Belief that you can is a matter of confidence. You need to re-establish your confidence.
We don’t get strong while we’re doing easy things. We get strong doing hard things. It’s as true for our minds and thoughts as it is for our muscles and bones. Lifting heavy weights to muscular fatigue is required for muscle and bone. Going through challenging times or situations is required to gain confidence.
Take Back Your Power
We often allow someone else to be responsible for our confidence or lack of it. In fact, they can’t be. Only you can do that. Someone may or may not have encouraged you and that may have contributed to feelings you already had, but no one person in your life had all the ability to instill or remove confidence. In fact, the very act of walking away from that person may be your confidence builder.
For personal trainers who might be listening, having to build a business on your own rather than working for a gym that may be closed, may be the very beginning of real confidence that comes from doing it yourself instead of relying for someone else to do it for you.
I can say without a doubt that was true and still is for me. There’s no greater personal growth than starting and growing your own business. You don’t have anything else propping you up. There’s no third-party endorsement. It’s you, building from the ground. And don’t let that scare you from doing it. If you’re inclined to start it, you have what it takes to do it.
Courage Doesn’t Have a Choice
If you’ve ever been around someone who seems so exceptionally courageous, usually it’s because they’ve emerged as courageous because something devastating happened to them. They endured a tragedy, a broken heart, a betrayal or loss. They didn’t have a choice.
Even I did that to myself. I jumped all the way in and left myself no net. In a way, I survived because I had no choice. There was no time to consider my what if this didn’t work. I let myself think for 2 seconds whenever that came up, that I can get a job anywhere doing something and earn a living.
Then I had to get on with the actions of doing what I needed to do, learning what I didn’t know. Filling the gaps that exist for women in midlife unwilling to settle for anything less than loving life at every age.
Create Your Own Need for Courage
I often say to trainers and health coaches during this year of the pandemic, I created my own chaos 8 years ago. I quit my job. Bye, bye, safety security, regular paycheck. Then bye, bye long term relationship.
There’s always more to learn about whether you have established a false base of confidence or a real one. Have you been the best trainer? Or have you been the trainer who worked for a business that filled you up? Have you had a relationship that gave you confidence or robbed you of it? Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest for the trees.
The best way to get to a new level of confidence so you can believe you can do it, is create a challenge. Create your need to be courageous.
Give Yourself a Challenge
Doing uncomfortable things – doing something alone if you’re used to being around others or doing something with a crowd of people if you’re an introvert.
For an extrovert: Going to a movie alone, eating at a restaurant alone (without your phone).
For an introvert: Doing improve activities in a group of people you don’t know
Go through a challenge for a month. Following a plan that feels uncomfortable. Master a new skill, do a small new habit consistently, and what builds confidence about that is the action of following through it less than the evidence of the change.
Successful habit change starts small
When I gave my TEDx talk I described Jennifer’s first 10 weeks with me. That was a confidence builder for her. She followed advice that was counter to the dogma she’d learned for decades. And the first bit of confidence came when she didn’t gain weight as she thought she would. And she was not getting sick or injured any longer either. That was the first step in what’s now 100 lbs of weight loss at age 67.
One of the obstacles for successful habit change can be attachment to the problem. If you identify with your problem, meaning really think of it as a part of your identity, you may stay stuck.
It’s like this:
You are not “depressed.” You have depression or you’re going through a period of situational depression.
You are not anxious. You are experiencing anxiety.
You are not “hypothyroid.” You have hypothyroidism.
And did you know? You may heal in 3 months? The right changes in your nutrition, movement, supplements, and lifestyle habits can get you there. More very soon in an upcoming interview with Dr Alan Christianson about his new book, Thyroid Reset.
How Can You Keep Your Energy Optimal?
If you want to boost your ability to believe in yourself again, you need to exercise that part of you that makes you feel confident. That requires optimal energy. So when your energy dips or you’re on the other hand feeling anxious, you’ve got to have a way to find your way back to your “Goldilocks.”
List #1 What are 10 things that boost your mood and energy?
Remind yourself of times when you’ve done something exceptional – gave a speech, did something incredibly hard in your life and survived it, overcame a huge obstacle.
Other things might be as simple as having a big glass of water, dancing for 5 -20 minutes. There are mornings my day just takes off like a plane and I don’t even have time for a shower before something comes up that needs handling. On those days a quick shower and wearing a “bring it on” outfit make a difference.
Talking to the right person can really boost my energy, I schedule podcast interviews in the afternoon.
I want to be clear that the kind of energy boost you’re looking for is that sustained energy. Not a jacked-up over-the-top can’t focus but one that allows you more focus. It’s like the difference between coffee that creates jittery distraction and matcha that offers a more calmin focus along with energy.
List #2 What are 10 things that calm you down and reduce your stress?
If I were creating this list it might include drawing, painting, writing, hiking, massage, yoga, and music and movies. You want to have a variety of things on this list that you can do anytime anywhere, and that aren’t all dependent on making an appointment – or taking a lot of time. Deep breathing for instance? Big game changer, small time investment.
Another regular habit of mine is sauna. While there are other activities I might be too tempted to multitask, trying to listen to a work-related meeting or catch up on a missed webinar, at most in the sauna I can listen to a podcast, or just music.
Again, I’m going to share the music of the season I’m loving with you- Wholetones Christmas music. Whether you understand or fully buy into the vibrational energy within it or not, I think you’ll love it.
So, your homework from this post is to create both these lists. And take them out as needed. Put them on your computer, your phone, and remind yourself often of them.
And there you have it. I’m keeping this episode short intentionally. Spend time thinking about what you love, what you need, what you need less of it or to let go of.
Find your best balance and you will find the successful habit change.