Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to achieve in the next few months and years. As a health coach, it’s also my job to help people get clear on this image themselves.
The next six months are going to pass whether you put in the work or not. Blink a few times and it will be June 2021. It’s your choice to keep doing exactly what you’re doing and stay exactly where you are for the next six-twelve-eighteen months. Or you can get up, make the change and transform your reality. It’s up to you.
If you are ready for change, your habits are the perfect place to start.
When it comes to making change, the best life-hack available is positive routines and habits.
Simply defined, habits are unintentional or subconscious behaviours, which can be both positive and/or negative. Once established, our habits require very little attention or effort, they are automatic, allowing our brain to work on autopilot either for or against us in the pursuit of our best selves.
Science tells us it takes a minimum of six weeks to form a new habit. And it all begins with identifying with your goals. To create change you have to want it, you need a specific why behind your actions to create momentum and motivation to propel you forward.
Once established, the repetition of your new habits becomes key. Have you ever found yourself driving along a familiar road only to wonder how you actually got there? Repeated behaviours and/or actions become second nature, hence the repeated motions of driving home from your office each day become so familiar you can drive them without conscious thought.
Finally being aware of potential disruption and implementing strategies to deal with challenges as they arise is fundamental. Despite your best intentions, life often pops up unexpectedly and your habits need to be strong enough to withstand disruption and change when it does occur.
So, going into a new year, what habits do you need to develop?
Here are a few of my favourites:
Believe it or not, our mindset is a habit. That positive attitude or negative self-talk, it’s all a learnt behaviour from somewhere. And yes, that means you can change it. I recently noticed that I have been overindulging in an ‘I’m so busy and stressed!’ mindset. Needless to say, consistently filling my head with thoughts of being busy and stressed had me feeling overwhelmed. It was counter-productive. Instead, I’ve adopted a new mantra, ‘I have all the time in the world.’
What have you been telling yourself? Start reflecting on your thoughts. Think about what you are thinking about. Notice any patterns, reoccurring thoughts or stories you tell yourself and learn to call yourself out. I’m all about self-love and being your own best friend, but if you are constantly indulging in self-pity, entertaining your negative thoughts and secretly getting off on the woah-is-me stories you tell yourself, you are doing this wrong.
Instead, try introducing some new mindset habits like:
Focus on what you already have right in front of you that brings you joy, contentment or simply comfort. Take a few moments in bed each morning and evening to fill your mind with the things you are most grateful for in your life. Past or present, focusing on these thoughts consistently will train your brain to find the good in every situation. In the wise words of Eckhart Toll,
“Gratitude is the foundation for all abundance.”
I used to think journalling was a waste of time (and paper) until I tried it myself. I instantly found the process of writing down my inner monologue forced me to slow my thoughts down, allowing me time to go deeper, reflect and question what was actually happening between my ears. Three pages in and several ah-ha moments later I was hooked.
Since starting a daily journaling habit I’ve unpacked (and ditched) several limiting beliefs, revolutionized my relationship with myself and found so many creative ideas for writing, creating and planning in many areas of my life.
You should try it too.
You have to see it to believe it. Yet a little like the chicken and the egg, the key with visualisation is believing it to see it.
I’m not going to tell you to create a vision board (although be my guest), but I am going to suggest you find a few quiet minutes a day to fill your mind with what it will look, feel, sound and taste like living the life you dream of. Allow yourself time and space to create an image in your mind and then gradually watch it come to life, piece by piece.
Let’s get real for a moment. What are your financial habits? Are you a saver or a spender? Are you organised with your finances or one of those people who dreads opening their bank apps?
Chances are you’re going to want some financial stability in the pursuit of your biggest goals. Are you starting a business? You're going to want some cash flow. Are you planning on travelling the world? You’ll need some savings. Are you setting yourself up to retire at 40? Then you will definitely need some kick-ass financial habits to see you through.
If 2020 has taught us anything it is that nothing is for certain. Yet when it comes to savings and being a financial boss, I feel fairly confident in saying you won't regret sorting your finances now, especially if you want to be in the best possible economic situation in six months.
If you want some saving inspiration, check out my article, 10 Money Hacks Every 20-Something Should Know, here:
10 Money-Hacks Every 20-Something Should Know Money makes the world go round, unfortunately. And while there are so many elements of our best lives that don’t… medium.com Environment
We’ve all been there. You go on a diet then next minute you realise it’s your best friend’s birthday, mother’s day and your cousin’s graduation all within a 10-day period. Delicious, tempting food is coming at you from all directions. Your will-power holds out for a few days until you cave. The temptation is too great and your diet is out the window.
I’m not a diet person, but this feels like the perfect example. Life throws us challenging situations all the time. It happens with money- you plan to save only to be bombarded with sudden expenses. You plan to work out more often, just to twist your ankle or the weather to turn miserable and rainy.
So what’s the solution you ask?
Discipline and organisation.
Not the answer you wanted to hear, I know. But getting real with yourself and becoming friends with your diary and calendar are more often than not the truest secrets to success.
Set yourself up for success by setting the scene. Got diet goals? Get rid of every scrap of ‘junk food’ in your house. Got productivity goals? Get rid of time-wasting apps on your phone and laptop. Got fitness goals? Set out your workout clothes the morning before, or even better sleep in them.
There comes a time in every situation where your willpower has to be greater than your level of comfort to create change.
The next six months are going to pass whether you work towards your goals or not. Time is forever moving and your goals are not going to fulfil themselves without some effort on your part.
As we end what has been a crazy year, I seriously encourage you to reflect on the habits and routines you have created and decide on what you both want and need moving forward.
Just imagine what your life could look like in six months time.