How many life coaches does it take to change a light bulb? Only one but the light bulb has to REALLY want to change!
Change can be hard but- no worries- I have seven tips to help you make the changes you want to make.
Number one- evaluate what you need. Think it through, don’t just expect it to magically happen. Stop and think about what are the things you’re going to need.
Let’s use my daily yoga practice as an example.
When I first decided that I wanted to exercise everyday, I thought through what will I need? Well, I’ll need a yoga mat. I will need some yoga blocks. I don’t have to have special clothes but, let’s be honest, that makes it a lot more fun. I also need a yoga program. So I went through and thought- let me go find my yoga mat. Let me buy the blocks that I need, let me get my clothes together. Let me find the yoga program. Pick out which classes I want to do . So I evaluated what I needed and I got it together.
Tip number two- do a mental walk-through. This does a couple of things. It helps you catch anything you might have missed that you may need to go get. It also helps you think about the time of day or the place you’re going to do it.
Like with my yoga I realized if I got up in the morning and went into the kitchen and stumbled around and thought, “Hmm, coffee sounds good. I’m going to sit down and have a cup of coffee.” which is not good to do before yoga so that’s going to mess up my wanting to do my daily yoga routine. I realized from that mental walk through that I would be better off doing my yoga in my bedroom before I ever leave the bedroom to go be tempted by caffeine. That was helpful.
Now another thing it does- and you’ve probably heard this before with high performance athletes- visualize yourself. Visualize the complete process of you doing this new habit effectively. This is really helpful because it tells your brain, ‘Hey, I AM the kind of person who has a daily yoga routine. Look, this is how I do it.”
Tip number 3, I’ve hit on it already. Arrange your environment– make it so simple, so easy to do the new thing you want to do. If I have to go look through my house for my yoga mat, chances are good I’m going to get distracted and I’m going to wander off and I’m going to do something else and I’m not going to do my yoga. So I’ve arranged my environment. I’ve put all of my stuff together.
Another thing we can do is make the environment conducive to what we want to have taking place there. Our environment is why it’s a little more difficult for those of us who are all of a sudden working from home. Because our home environment tells us to relax, to enjoy being with family. It also tells us to get the laundry done. But there are all these cues, our whole context is not work. So if now you’re having to work from home, you can, if you don’t have a room to dedicate to be your office. Have a desk, have a table. If even that’s a stretch, another thing you can do is have a ritual, or a sound or something that signals to your brain, “Hey, this is time, this is my place and my time to do my work, to do my yoga.”
One of the things I really like about my yoga practice- I do it with doyogawithme.com online – and, as they begin every routine, they have a sound and that signals to my brain when I hear that sound I know because I’ve done it so much now. I just mentally and physically feel the release and the readiness, the anticipation of “It’s time to do my yoga practice”. So that sound is a cue, it’s an environmental cue.
Tip #4- Schedule it. You might not have to schedule it forever but, in the beginning, schedule your new habit. I actually put my yoga into my calendar ahead of time and I honored that commitment to the time. I didn’t let something else take over. Schedule it and honor that commitment.
Tip number five- ask for help!
Tell somebody what you’re doing, ask for support, ask for encouragement, get an accountability partner, get somebody to do it with you- whatever it takes! Ask for help.
So many times we get caught up in our brain thinking, “I should be able to do this all by myself with no help at all.”
Is that even true?
There is no shame- and it takes courage- to ask for help. And if that’s what it takes to help you get what you want, isn’t it worth it?
Tip number six- add before you subtract.
I think that’s even the actual math principle. But it works for adding habits too.
Add your new habit before you take away your old habit, if you can do that.
You’ve probably heard the saying that nature abhors a vacuum. If you leave a hole, we want to fill it with something.
So let’s think about if you want to stop eating sugar or, and I hate this 4 letter word, diet. If I say, “I’m going to go on a diet”, my brain goes, ‘Oh heck no, girl! We’re going into the kitchen right now and we’re going to eat whatever we want to eat.” Sidenote: it’s probably going to be this because I love chocolate covered orange sticks.
But that’s what my brain does. Now if I say, instead of, “We’re going on a diet”. I say, “Hmmm, I’m going to eat 5 servings of vegetables today.” That let’s my brain go, “Ok, what vegetables are we going to eat?” So I’m thinking about the vegetables and when I actually eat the vegetables, my stomach’s more full. I don’t have the physical craving and temptation to go snack on things like chocolate or chips or whatever else I find in my kitchen.
See, I’m adding.
I’m adding the good stuff instead of taking away the bad stuff. I’m letting the good push the bad out of the way. It’s so much easier!
Now sidenote, if your brain’s going, “EW, vegetables!” Roast them!
They’re so good if you take some olive oil, salt and pepper and a little bit of garlic. Chop them up and roast them in the oven. Ohh, so good!
Tip number seven- small changes.
Don’t be hating on the small steps.
That’s what life is about.
Small steps moving you forward to make the changes that you want to make.
Now here’s a little more detail on how you can do a small step.
When I first started wanting to do my yoga, thirty minutes a day was a lot. I was having trouble committing to that. So instead of 30 min a day, I said, “Alright, I’ll just do 30 SECONDS of yoga a day.
So I put my clothes on, I rolled my mat out, I primed my online video and I started and I did 30 seconds. Well, you know what happened. I wound up doing more than 30 seconds. But my commitment was to 30 seconds a day. But I’d already prepared and gotten there because preparation is so important.
What’s that saying about how much rocket fuel does the rocket use when it blasts off? It’s like the majority of fuel when a rocket ship blasts off is used to take off. So make your commitment to do just a little bit, a little change. Little changes aren’t as abrupt and we’re better able to stick with our little changes.
So don’t be hating on the little small steps.
That’s what’s getting us where we want to be.
If you’re thinking about making some changes in your life, I’d love to be able to help you. Reach out!
Tips to change your life and enhance your mindset from Tracey at tbrowning.
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