21 DAYS TO CREATE A NEW HABIT OR DITCH A CRAPPY OLD ONE.
Who’s with me?!
Each day for the next 21 days I’ll be breaking down how to create this new habit and stick with it.
First, you’ll need to identify what it is you want to change.
BE WARNED: There may be many things you want to change. Choose ONE THING ONLY. You want to give your habit time to sink in and take root, and you don’t want to overwhelm yourself.
So what is it for you?
- Do you want to lose some weight so you have more energy to run around playing with your kids in the park?
- Do you want to cut down or quit drinking because you don’t want to deal with hangovers in the morning when you are getting kids ready for school, and you don’t want your kids following your example by reaching for a bottle of red when the stress kicks in when they are legal to drink?
- Do you want to combat stress by meditating every day?
- Do you want to feel more confident? As a parent and generally?
First identify WHAT you want to change and WHY. This is important. Your why will see you through and keep you motivated, so make sure it’s a good one. Here are some questions that can help you identify your ‘why’: What keeps you awake at night? What do you worry about?
- Not being around to see your kids grow up because of health issues that could be addressed with exercise and healthy eating?
- That you will mess your kids up with all the shouting you do? Worried that your stress levels and inability to stop shouting will give them self-esteem issues? Or drive them away when they get old enough to lave home? Whatever it is…this is your motivation and reason for wanting things to change.
Now today we will do a short exercise that will really help you identify what’s stopping you from changing the thing – whatever it is. Today the biggest part of the “work” will be done, and the next 21 days will be about cracking on with “installing” the new habit.
Grab a pen and paper.
I want you to imagine that you are already doing whatever the new habit is.
So if you have an issue with retail therapy and spend most your money ordering things online for example…what would it look like when you stopped spending your cash that way? How would you feel? What would you be able to do now that you couldn’t before? In what ways is your new habit giving you freedom or some other gain? How would you look with this new habit in your life? Just sit down and imagine a day in the life of you with with this new habit as a natural every day part of it. Try to really visualise it and embody that new version of you. It’s still you, just without that bad habit, or with a new positive one.
Now, your mind will start coming up with all the reasons why it couldn’t be like that. It’ll start listing all the reasons and excuses that would be the reason why you COULDN’T POSSIBLY achieve this new goal.
Write them all down.
All the thoughts, excuses, reasons…Whatever self mockery or negative self-talk comes up for you, it’s okay – just write it all down.
Go deep – allow the negative thoughts to come.
‘I never see things through till the end’
‘I tried before and it didn’t work’
‘Who am I to attempt this?’
‘it’ll be too hard’
‘Where would I find the will power? I don’t have will power’
‘I can’t afford the time that’ll take’ or whatever it is for you.
When you are done listing all the reasons – whatever they look like for you, don’t judge them, just write them – put down the pen and stop writing.
Okay, you are now going to create an affirmation or mantra. One of the most powerful tools when building new beliefs is also the simplest. A mantra is a statement that you repeat. You already have mantras that you aren’t even aware of. They might be things like ‘I always date crazy people’, ‘I hate my nose’, ‘I’m no good with numbers’, ‘I like my hair’, ‘I have weird feet.’ You have already created the reality you live in via the thoughts, beliefs, habits and actions you’ve repeated over and over throughout your life. You experience whatever you believe, and you believe whatever you tell yourself repeatedly.
Stop and consider that some of the things that you tell yourself may not be true. Sort of like that pretty friend you have who doesn’t think she’s pretty, no matter how many times you’ve told her she is. That’s because her own inner dialogue tells her otherwise, so she can’t see it.
You can train your brain as easily as you can train a dog and repetition is your friend.
So you are going to design a mantra or affirmation that helps you feel excited about this new change. It has to strike an emotional chord, and it’s okay if to start with it feels a little unbelievable, crazy, lofty or far fetched.
So now go back to your list of excuses and crappy reasons why this new habit isn’t really for you.
LOOK FOR THEMES.
What are the themes that come up?
Look at the 3-4 statements that make you most angry, sad or shocked. Write them down.
FLIP THE SCRIPT
Now write down the opposite of what they are. Flip them around.
So if for example it says ‘I don’t have time to make these changes.’ You could flip it to ‘I make the time to prioritise my health’ or ‘I value my health enough to invest my time in it’. If it’s about how it’ll be too hard to do, then the opposite could be something about flow and ease.
If you want to work on being a more patient person – maybe you want to be more patient with your kids or partner. You have been labelling yourself ‘impatient’ for years. The opposite could be ’I am excited to show the world what a patient person I really am’.
HOW TO PHRASE IT
Make sure that whatever you come up with is in present tense, and keep it short and sweet. Starting with “I am” is great. Avoid any negative words. So, if for example, your bad habit is that you bite your nails when you feel self doubt, then don’t say ‘I no longer bite my nails when I feel insecure.’ Ditch any negative words, or the word labelling what it is you’re trying to change, because you will be repeating this word over and over again drawing more attention to it each time, instead of slowly fading it out and replacing with healthier habits.
Instead you could say ‘I love my pretty pink nails’, ‘I am radiant with confidence and self-belief’ or something along those lines. Go with what resonates for you.
Don’t try to address every single issue in your mantra/affirmation. Just the biggest or most emotionally charged issue. Keep it short and sweet, and easy to remember.
RINSE AND REPEAT
Once you have your affirmation repeat it. Over and over. First thing when you wake up. Last thing at night before you sleep. When you’re stuck in traffic. Before you sit down to eat a meal. When you walk the dog. When you pick up your kids from school. When you walk past a mirror, glance in and say it to your face, looking into your own eyes. You will be repeating this mantra for the next 21 days. You will be living and breathing it.
“The more you hang out in the energy of that which you desire, the more effortlessly you’ll attract it to you’Jen Sincero, author of ‘You are a Badass’ and ‘Badass Habits’.
Use your new affirmation as a club to beat your doubts and excuses into submission. It’s a good sign if there’s resistance. Prepare for it and expect it.
I’ll see you tomorrow. (all the other posts will be much much shorter – you’ve done the hardest part now in a lot of ways)
Go to DAY 2 HERE.