Updated: Aug 9, 2020
A holistic approach...
Our habits and goals define our lives in so many ways, from our morning routine to our stress coping mechanisms, these habits can make or break us. So when we want to upgrade our lives and step into a better version of ourselves the best place to start is with our every-day. Rather than flipping our world upside down over-night let’s try to break things down into tiny achievable steps that we can do every day and sustain long-term.
Areas to focus on…
Are you ready for a change?
First and foremost we need to be ready to make a change in our lives, we have to want something more for ourselves and find our own personal motivations and desires to change and grow. Sometimes this phase of considering a change can last a while. It can start as a simple spark and grow into a burning desire for personal improvement in any or all areas of our lives.
Setting our goals
Possibly the most important part of habit building or any change in our lives is the goal setting. In the words of Antoine de Saint Exupéry, a dream without a plan is just a wish.
Often when we start envisioning a bigger, better, happier life for ourselves it can feel overwhelming and unattainable, but by breaking our goals down into short, medium and long term steps we can begin to see the stepping stones that will lead us to where we want to be. Think about what you can do today, this week, this month, this year to get you closer to your goals and go from there.
Put your goals on paper or at least on your phone, just write them down. By physically putting pen to paper (or typing it out), we are taking the first step towards change, and making it real.
Be as clear as possible! When goal setting I like to get super specific, similar to manifestation, the more detail you put into your goals, the clearer they become. I also find this motivating and fun! Make a vision board, Pinterest board or start drawing doodles of your future self, living their best life!
Making the change
It’s time to put our plans into action. Set yourself up for success. Put reminders in your phone, find the best apps to download, subscribe to motivational websites, lay out your gym clothes the night before, fill your fridge with fruit and veggies- whatever it is you want to achieve, make it as easy as possible for yourself. And remember repetition is key! Keep going and practising your new habits for at least six weeks.
If you fall down, pick yourself back up, be kind to yourself and keep going from where you left off.
Give yourself feedback. One of my favourite little games to play with friends and family is highlight, lowlight, lesson learnt, where we take it in turns to describe our highlight, lowlight and a lesson learnt in the past week or so. This can be a great way to reflect and think about what is working well and what is not working so well in our lives. Plus it’s also a fun little way to connect with the people around us.
Allow room to re-evaluate your methods and goals and don’t be afraid to modify them as you go- it’s your life and your journey so make it your own.
Tools to help…
Journaling can be a really productive personal tool allowing us to process our thoughts, tease out our dreams and desires and reflect on ourselves. Try finding a few minutes each day to write down your thoughts, reflect on your behaviours and remind yourself of what you are working towards.
Another great tool for reflection is self-rating scales. I like to use these to assess my satisfaction after a meal, my productiveness at the end of the day or how hard I pushed myself during a workout. Rate your work/effort/ productiveness out of ten.
Challenge a friend/ family member
Sometimes having another person on to hold you accountable can be hugely beneficial. Whether you don’t want to let this person down or you’re bringing some friendly competition to your goals, having someone else in the picture can be incredibly motivating. Try setting a 30-day challenge with your mum, dad, sibling, best friend, boyfriend, dog, you get the idea!
Barriers to look out for…
Do you have any self-sabotaging behaviours? Highlight them, underline them and bring them to the forefront of your mind. Once you know they are there you can learn to recognise when these behaviours are limiting you and gradually you can let them go.
A great way to ditch your limiting behaviours is to write them down, think about where they come from and what your subconscious is attempting to achieve by reverting back these behaviours or beliefs. Once you’ve exposed these negatives it can be far easier to put them aside and create new behaviours that override the old ones.
What does your physical environment look like? Make physical space for yourself to thrive, pin-point your negative triggers and consider taking actions such as removing certain foods from your pantry or turning off your phone at a set time every day. Get strict with yourself and create rules and boundaries you can follow.
Similar to our behaviours our thoughts can be self-sabotaging with negative self-talk and doubt often creeping in to undermine our progress and our confidence. By learning to recognise this negative voice in our heads it becomes far easier to put it aside and focus on your achievements, progress and all the other positive elements of your life.
A Note on Self-kindness…
Sometimes you have to be your own best friend. Speak to yourself with respect, compassion and empathy. We know ourselves better than anyone else and in times of growth and change, we need to support ourselves the way we would with any other loved one. When things get tough, go back to your why, your goals and visualise your future self living their best life, thanking you for the hard work you are putting in now.
Sometimes you have to be your own best friend.
So you’ve completed six weeks what now? Keep going! By now, your new habits are built into your routine and it is becoming easier to do these things every day. Have confidence in your abilities and celebrate your success.
This is also a great time to reflect on how to continue your self-improvement and what the next step is towards your ultimate goals. Learn from your challenges and continue to focus on creating your best self and your best life.
You got this!