Why is it so hard to rid bad habits?
Why on earth is it so hard to get rid of bad habits? Or is it really? Maybe it is just me? Why is it not enough for me to know that those less favourable habits will not empower me to be the best version of myself to be able to initiate change? Do I lack willpower? Or am I just a seriously hopeless case of ‘changelessness’?
After a few years of Wellness and Health Coaching as well as Personal Training experience up my sleeve, I am somewhat relieved to be able to say that ‘no it is not just me’ and there is nothing wrong with me or my willpower… Rather it is about with my approach to change.
Here’s my recipe to help – 6 ingredients that will help you kick bad habits
I have learnt the hard way that while it may not be so easy to dump bad habits –it is actually fairly painless to equip yourself with new ones. So how about focusing on exactly that and create some new routines. Those new deliciously healthy patterns will then be your best asset and help you to crowd out your undesirable old practices in no time. And forever.
Let me share with you my mouth-watering and effective recipe that will actually work and not backfire (as jumping on a crazy diet, living on shakes or popping diet pills would) and guide and empower your beautiful self on your journey of transformation.
Ingredient 1 – your end goal
Your ingredient number one is of course your goal. So what does this end goal of yours look like? Do you want to go back to your pre-kids body shape, weight and unworried self? This is a pretty big goal and call. Don’t get me wrong, I want you to dream big. But in order for you to succeed with your objective, it is essential that you break your large scale vision up in lots of little ones. Goals that you know are achievable, realistic and that will bring you one step closer to your overall big goal.
Ingredient 2 – the steps
So your ingredient number two for your delicious and life changing recipe are your little action steps. I have learned – not always the easy way- that those steps are most successful if you make sure they fit into the busy flow of your crazy life and you can associate them with positive me time or self-nurturing.
So an action step for your big goal of feeling and looking the way you did before your had kids, could be to get up 15 minutes earlier and go for a brisk walk, do a sun-salutation, start your day with lemon water, or make a menu plan and start preparing your lunches and dinners ahead. In order to set yourself up for success it really important that you set very specific action goals and that they are set in a way that you don’t feel too overwhelmed by them or that they add extra stress.
Little by little you allow your brain to re-wire those pathways and create new habits. Before you know it you will love drinking the additional water, loving your new healthy way of nurturing your beautiful body inside and out with lots of greens and an exercise routine that boosts your energy levels. You will start loving your journey because it will not feel like a chore. Instead little by little you have empowered yourself to reset behaviours that make you feel so much better and bring the best out in you.
Ingredient 3 – know how change works
Ingredient number 3 is to be aware of the different stages of change.I find it so incredibly empowering to know that there are actually different stages of change.
Research says there are 5 in total.
- Stage one is the stage of pre-contemplation;
- Stage two is contemplation;
- Stage 3 is preparation;
- Stage 4 is action; and
- Stage 5 is maintenance and relapse.
Yes, you have read correctly. It is a normal part of change to go one step forward and two back. To try something new and to fail. This is quite alright and if you embrace it as part of your journey you will know what to do next time different to get one step further ahead.
Ingredient 4- be kind to yourself (and honest)
Ingredient number 4 is being kind and honest to yourself. Kind means not engaging in any negative self-talk or setting yourself up for failure (by setting goals that are too far off from where you are now or by setting too many action steps at once).
It also means to surround yourself with support. It is awesome if you are usually really independent and used to do everything on your own. If you are really serious about your transformation though, this is the time to get your friends and family on your side.
By honest I mean that I would like to encourage you to have a proper look at your big goal and be certain about why is it that you want to achieve this or transform in this way.
- Is it because you think you should do so, because you feel this is what someone else wants? Or is it because you are scared that if you don’t do this something horrible will happen to you?
- Or is it because you really and truly want this?
Because if you are not intrinsically motivated to really want this change, it is not going to happen.
Ingredient 5 – find someone to help you be accountable
Ingredient number 5 is finding someone who holds you accountable for achieving your goals. Knowing that there is someone out there who knows about your plans and goals and will ask you how successful you are doing with them, is incredibly empowering and helps to stay on track. So find a like-minded person or group or tell your best friend what you want to change and why and tell her how you will be going about it (your first action step).
Ingredient 6 – be precise
Ingredient number 6 is being precise. Instead of saying that you would like to change by summer to look great in those bathers, think exactly about what it is on your body that you would like to change.
- Did you want to tone up your arms? Flatten your belly and give your butt a lift? And by which month and day in summer? And also think about why this is important to you.
So to answer my question…it is so hard to change your behaviours because we make it hard. We love to set ourselves up for failure, instead for success. But change does not have to be hard and painful. It can also just be really invigorating, fun and one of the best experiences of your life. So go for it. Put all those ingredients in your food processor, blend thoroughly and out comes you in the most vibrant, radiant and beautiful version of yourself! Enjoy!