Habits – are they setting you up for success?

Do you have great habits? Ones that keep you on track, disciplined, focused and able to get on with life, as you create change, become better skilled and help you to be the person you long to be? Some people can nail this and appear super-disciplined in all they do but some of us have bad habits that, if allowed to continue unchecked, can lead to self-sabotage and discouragement. If we live with the frustration of not embedding good habits that, little by little, deliver compounded results, we give up on our goals, make excuses and settle for less than; less than we desire, less than enough and then our self-worth takes a hit and we settle for the opinion that we are, less than.

I can be a frustrating mix of good and bad habits and, going by the changes my clients seek me out to work on, I’m not alone in this space. It’s fascinating how we can have great habits that keep us motivated and consistent while also possessing some annoying habits that can sabotage our best intentions. Sometimes my habits feel well-oiled and invincible, and it seems as soon as I think that, out of the blue, old and bad habits can show up and try to change everything.

Our life is lived through a series of systems and habits. We get up, we have the same routine, we get on with our day the same way, we have the same conversations, a variation of the same meals, we drive the same roads, everything we do is on autopilot. If you live your life in this way, I’d love to know, are you happy? Like truly happy? I’m curious about this because I used to live my life on autopilot, and for some reason thought this is what everybody did and somehow things would change of their own accord ‘when the time was right’. As a result of this pretty naïve thinking, I was freaking miserable.

Joe Dispenza says we are not doomed by our genes or hardwired to remain the way we are all of our lives as long as we recognize the right time never arrives of its own volition, we have to create the opportunity, space, and container to change the way we see things so we can create the blueprint to change. We can choose to create new habits that will, through the passage of time, create unconscious competencies (just like brushing your teeth or driving your car) and become the person we want to be. Of course, this requires, commitment, effort, agility, and flexibility and if you can relate to any of this, I’m here to tell you, you can change if you really want to; if the prize is enough, if the dream is calling you and if you’re prepared to confront yourself, time and again.

For things to change, it is you that must change but you don’t have to tread that path alone. First, consider what you’re going to need to help you succeed.  What is it you must stop or start doing for your creation to come to life? Your systems, processes, and structure matter but essentially, it’s the small decisions, actions, and non-actions throughout each day that add up and importantly, it’s also the people you surround yourself with along the way. Do the people around you support and live the good habits you want to attain and emulate? If not, then you’re not going to remain consistently inspired to keep going. There has to be someone you can model yourself on, and it helps if there is someone you can connect with to cheer you along as your guide, mentor, and friend.

When we create habits that become automatic, we can move forward consistently with behaviours that take us one step further, each day toward our intended goal. When I was studying for my Master’s degree my kids were teenagers, I worked around 50 hours a week and life was chaotic. The only way to get through those years was to embody disciplined lifestyle and study habits. I had to be regimented in the way I planned everything, even down to the times I socialized and slept. I couldn’t have done this without the people who supported me along the way; we helped each other develop great habits so we could get through that time the best we could. Some of those habits remain to this day; others have taken a rest and it will take effort to revitalize them if I need them again. If ever I needed evidence, you are the five people you hang around with the most, this was it and it cemented within me the understanding that to achieve anything, one of the best things you can do is look to others that have already done it. When creating change in your life, it takes a village; ask for help, seek guidance, pursue people who have walked the path, buy them a coffee, and ask them how they did it. Be accountable to someone else not just yourself and show up always, no matter what. Be honest about the resources you need to help you establish habits and develop ways to set yourself up for success. Contrary to seemingly popular opinion, you’re never too old or too ‘insert excuse’ to create new habits, develop new skills and work to chase your dreams; you’ll see evidence of that everywhere you look, if you care to.

James Clear says there is a Valley of Disappointment when creating change; this is where you can become frustrated with how ineffective the changes seem in the first few months. Demanding great results too soon sets you up for disappointment and self-imposed failure, particularly when life challenges crop up and you break the habits that are not yet embodied. Tiny changes make a big difference and there is a compound effect of starting small to create consistency and persistence over time. Let’s say you decide to start exercising for 45 minutes a day but right now you barely do this much in a week; that’s a lot of change. Some people will be able to do this, but most won’t. By starting with 2 or 3 times a week or perhaps 10-15 minutes a day, that’s not such a stretch and this helps get you into the habit of getting on and keeping on; you develop systems, a program, and boundaries for your time. Once that routine becomes non-negotiable for you, then you can add more sessions or extend the time you’re already doing. Small, consistent steps will lead to better outcomes than committing to massive actions that wane quickly.

When you live a life of RICHES, you create systems and structures to create and support new habits that will help you lead yourself through change. Below are some key steps that underpin Lionheart Society’s RICHES program for creating change:

🦁 Reflect on where you are right now and consider where you would like to be. Rate each place out of 10; 10 is the happiest you can be and 1 means there is much work to be done. Getting a realistic perspective on this is one of the most important things you can do when embarking on change. This container is gritty, uncomfortable, and necessary. If you don’t understand where you are, how can you possibly take yourself to where you want to go? As you reflect on your score/10, take the time to get clear on why you feel the way you do and why you yearn to feel the way you want. Context is important so make the space to get clear on it and be able to articulate it in a way that you and others can understand.

🦁 Be intentional; get honest about what you’re prepared to do to get what you want. Are you all in to get a win/win result? Stephen R Covey talks about the importance of win/win in organisational leadership, but you’ve got to aim for this within yourself, too. If there’s a part of you saying you hate change and none of this will work, then that part must decide what its best option is. Is the best option to a) continue with the pain of not changing, or b) move toward the pleasure and satisfaction of doing something you really want? Set clear intentions about what you will and won’t do and be clear about whether you’re running from pain or moving toward pleasure.

🦁 Creating new systems and different ways of thinking, being and doing is the only way you can aim for the win/win success you’re seeking. Developing the blueprint for discarding, adding, and stacking habits that will compound and bring results is the key to getting what you want and you’ve got to get your mind into good shape to achieve all the things as you form the foundation and building blocks to help you get there.

🦁 Habits will help you or sabotage you, as simple that. Treat them with respect, they’ve formed for a reason. We need to understand at an emotional, feeling level why we need to add or remove the habits we’ve created for ourselves. And remember, choosing not to create new habits or drop old ones is a choice and if life isn’t working out the way you want, you can always choose to do something about that.

🦁 Effectiveness – here we check in with the compounding effect. Just like you check your savings account, super balance, share portfolio or anything else you may have invested in, you have to check in with how well you’re tracking toward your desires. If the results aren’t as good as we had hoped, it’s time to reflect again, create new intentions and tweak the systems. If your results are going well, reflect and store this wisdom, knowledge, and power for other things you want to change in your life!

🦁 Stories – the stories we tell ourselves and others are the glue to keep all this together. You need to understand the story of why you’re doing what you’re doing, the story of where/who you are (present self) and where/who you want to be (future self), the story of what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it. There can be stories that drive you away from the pain of not changing and there will be stories of inspiration urging you to keep going. And then there’s the story of change; this is the story that describes what you’ve done, what’s worked, what hasn’t and what you now know. This is the story of innovation, and it will help you come up with ideas that keep you adaptable, flexible, and keen to keep going as you change and stack the habits that will help you get to there, from here.

Within reason, wherever you are now, and wherever it is you want to be, you can get there from here; you just have to make a start and you do this by deciding to get your mind into shape so you can life a life of RICHES. A life filled with RICHES is one where we learn to love ourselves completely and create great life choices. You can download Module 1 which is all about Reflection for free, click on the button below. For your free first module of our RICHES program, click here. If you want to work with me and learn ways to become the love of your life, head over to my booking page on this website to book your free, 30 minute Clarity Call.

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