Here’s how to create and sustain positive habits…
By: Liz Garcia
Editor’s note: This is the second installment of an eight part series entitled, Self-Awareness for the Emerging Entrepreneur. Part one: Refining the Art of Saying Yes or No
I just met a woman who proceeded to tell me about her new focus on eating healthy and continued but then I had a hamburger so I was like forget it, I already messed up!
Following this conversation I wondered of how many other people have decided to begin a positive habit without taking in consideration the nuances to ensure their success.
With that in mind here are some strategies to set yourself up for success when establishing new habits:
1. Plan consciously for what you are unlearning and losing
Think of your closet with all the hangers. At the point where the closet gets full you have to take an old hanger out in order to insert another. Make sense?
So goes what you add into life. When you begin something new or incorporate a new habit in your life it’s inevitable you’ll need to lose something or have to unlearn a long term habit. Time to get into the drivers seat and anticipate what to outline which may have to be unlearned or elininated.
Will it be uncomfortable? Painful? Inconsequential?
You may not know initially, but that’s where planning comes in and makes an impact in your mindset. The more you mentally prep the more likely you are to remain steadfast through the inevitable challenges and discomfort change.
2. Make small shifts
For those currently running a small business the likelihood is you’re already keeping plentifully engaged (read: busy). The likelihood is that your thought process, time and energy are on overload. So, prepare for success start by taking small steps or small shifts instead of big ones. A few years ago I worked with a client who was physically in training to drop weight. She was new to working out and her goal was to lose a significant amount of weight. I took her hiking and for the first couple of weeks our training routine included hiking for 3 minutes and resting for one.
I captured her initial feedback by asking: does this feel extremely short to you, too short an interval? Her answer was yes because we started with such small increments. These small increments also allowed us to incorporate a stretching routine, learn how to breathe properly and to maximize her recovery time for greater workouts. As she progressed I slowly I began increase her intervals until she lost her goal weight of 25 pounds! The lesson is to begin with small increments and let yourself build. Additionally it serves to set you up for easy wins that help drive motivation.
3. Plan for a step back
Another common mistake of folks beginning something new is the notion that all will be smooth sailing and if theres a stumble that means youre done. As noted above, if you are working on creating a new habit the likelihood is that you are working on undoing a habit youve carried for a long period of time, possibly years or even decades.
So be good to yourself in this process and plan for a stumble here or there. Prepare yourself by thinking about what will be most important for you to remind yourself when you stumble. For example did you know Michael Jordan missed over 9,000 shots in his career? He developed a mindset hat carried him beyond those missed shots.
Think about what feeling are you striving for in those moments when you stumble? Yes, were going to get touchy-feely here; Im a Life Coach, thats my job! This question is particularly important for the perfectionists and/or those who tend to beat themselves up for mistakes. Identify what feeling you want to experience when you stumble excitement that a stumble means one step closer to success? Joy that if there was a stumble there was also likely a good lesson? Do you want to focus on remaining calm as opposed to anxious as in the past?