Changing Habits – 4 Lessons for Creating Personal Change
It’s that time of the year when we look forward and think about what we’d like to achieve in the year ahead. Most often, reaching goals requires changing habits. I’m no life coach, but I learnt some stuff about building new personal habits in 2021. I lost 15kgs and basically gave up drinking alcohol. I also have some self-care routines that are nicely entrenched now and will stand me in good stead going forward.
In 2022 I want to lose another 15kgs, increase my exercise and build better business habits – taking what I’ve learnt about building better personal habits through into my work world.
Here are the top 4 things I learnt.
1. Small Changes Create Big Results:
Tiny things done every day are doable. They’re not onerous, you’ve got time for 10 or 15 minutes and each tiny step adds up. Some of the tiny changes I made last year were spending 10 minutes on my Noom app each morning learning the psychology of weight loss, high 5’ing myself in the mirror and being my own best friend thanks to Mel Robbins (more about that below) and doing a 15-minute yoga routine every single morning. I love yoga but the time and energy it took to go to a class (or not thanks to covid), find the right space and dedicate an hour was too much. So I simply promised myself that I only had to do 15 minutes and suddenly I was doing it every day. I’ve worked out a routine that basically stretches every part of my body, I only use my mat and I don’t even worry about music. Simple, quick and super effective.
2. Be Aware of Yourself:
Spending a couple of minutes in the mirror, looking into my own eyes and quietly talking to myself sounds crazy, but after I read Mel Robbins’ The High 5 Habit and started doing it, I realised that I have been avoiding looking at myself for years. And talking to the person in the mirror with love and support is powerful. I couple this habit with one I’ve had for many years – every night I write down what I’m grateful for. This builds my self-awareness and makes me acknowledge the positivity in my life. I also set an intention when I do my yoga and have a mantra that makes me aware of how I show up in the world. Thanks to Noom, I also learnt to notice when my hunger for food was simply a ‘mouth’ hunger rather than real hunger – a taste is enough – I don’t need to eat the whole thing if I’m not really hungry. Take the time to be aware of yourself. Meditation helps this practice too although I’m still battling with adding that one in every day!
3. Crack the Cognitive Dissonance:
I learnt this one through Annie Grace and This Naked Mind when I decided to give up drinking alcohol to help with my weight loss. It’s about wanting something very badly with your conscious mind but being controlled by your unconscious mind (all the feelings) to not do the thing you want to do. It’s a tough one and involves breaking down the emotions behind why you do what you do and learning the facts about things. So when it comes to alcohol, I knew I was drinking too much, wanted to stop but would let myself down every time. Learning that one of my prime motivators for drinking was actually boredom rather than anything else was a big eye opener and led to significant change.
4. Ditch the All or Nothing Thinking:
All or nothing thinking is about thinking of things in terms of absolutes. Something is either good or bad, allowed or forbidden. In terms of diet, it’s the idea that chocolate is bad, and you can never eat it, but if you do, you’ll eat the whole thing. Learning that everything is ok in moderation creates sustainability in behaviours. For me, learning moderation has been a key factor in the changes I’ve made in my personal habits. All or nothing thinking was keeping me stuck. Learning to let it go enables me to continue on my journey of self-healing. Examples in my life are – walking along the beach is just as viable an exercise as sweating it out at the gym; enjoying a zero-alcohol beer with my husband at the end of the week is just as good as drinking half a bottle of wine with the added bonus of a clear head and a good night’s sleep; enjoying the air baked popcorn instead of the big bag of chips; eating the fish and salad at the restaurant is just as yummy as eating the big bowl of pasta. Cut yourself some slack and enjoy all things in moderation.
How do I apply this learning to my business? That’s a good question and I’m still working on the answer. Vague plans are forming that involve scheduling my work more productively, using an app to help me do this, blogging more frequently, scheduling my social media posts, diarising networking every month and finding people to learn from. I’ll let you know what I come up with in my next blog.
Meanwhile, if you’re new year goals are to improve customer engagement, check out my latest business packages and consider outsourcing the copywriting so you can free your time for something else – perhaps a little more self-care?