Monthly Archives: January 2019

04 How to implement habits that support your goals and vision

Habits are the actual HOW of making our dreams come true. If you have a beautiful vision for your life, it is the daily habit that will determine whether your efforts lead to your success. For example if we have a dream of good health but sit on the couch eating chips, that habit does not support our vision, but perhaps a habit of green smoothies and exercise does. So it's about how we behave on the daily that leads to a cumulative effect.

But there is one way people trip themselves up when trying to form new habits.

Way back when, I was working in mental health and helping people with quite significant illnesses form healthy habits. And I learnt a lot about what helps a habit stick and become part of your life, and what makes it more likely to trip over.

A couple of years ago my workplace had a 10,000 steps/ day challenge. I'm not a very active person, so 10,000 was a huge leap. I made the 10,000 steps by pushing myself, but once the challenge was over it was too big a leap to maintain and I quickly went back to how I was.

Then, after having my bub, I was feeling very inactive. SO this time, I looked at my current levels of activity and increased this habit by just 500 steps/ day. It was such a small increment that it was almost impossible to fail. 

Often we're inclined to start a habit at the ultimate level, and the gap for our little lizard brains is too big - we get into resistance, sabotage and feel overwhelmed and triggered. But when we set a new habit in the smallest possible way, it falls under the radar of our resistance and self-sabotage and is much easier to form a regular habit. SARK talks about "tiny actions" and Brooke Castillo did a podcast about "minimum standards", all based on similar ideas.

Make something a habit in the tiniest form and then when it has become a habit we can build on it. For example, if you want to start running, begin just insisting on yourself running down the driveway each day. If you run further, great. But just get down the driveway.

Once it IS a habit, expand and grow. You can get much further much faster by bypassing resistance until the habit is in place. Rather succeed at a habit of 5000 steps a day than fail at reaching 10,000 and giving up altogether.

So I'd love to hear,  what new habit are you trying to form? And what is the smallest way you could implement it daily? Let me know in the comments below, or women, jump into my Facebook community Sisters With Heart, and let me know in there.

05 Three ways to make your new habit stick

Once you've decided on a new habit, it's vital to set it up for success. We often don't think about what can go wrong or how we can sustain the habit. We make it hard for ourself - we don't change anything in our environment, but we expect the change in our behaviour to somehow stick.

But we're going to change that today, by giving our new habit a fighting chance at being a lifelong habit.

There are 3 areas we can set a habit up for success:

  • 1
    Remove an obstacle. If you can't remove it, ask yourself how can I deal with it or work around it?
  • 2
    Add something to your environment to support the habit and make it almost inevitable.
  • 3
    Clear space and time for the habit. Declutter an area of your home, or cancel some commitments in your schedule that are no longer a priority.

This is where a habit goes wrong... I decided this January I was going to make green smoothies every day. I have a blender, and had the ingredients and looked up some recipes. All good.

So one day when I was hungry for a snack, I decided to make a green smoothie. I walked into the kitchen. My blender was at the back of a cupboard. I hadn't used it in ages, I'd have to look for all the parts, give it a wash, prep the vegetables and hunt for that recipe I'd found a while back.

By contrast, there was a plate of fudge on the bench, leftover from Christmas. I'm already hungry at this point so of course I went for the fudge!

A better way to support my green smoothie habit would be to get rid of the fudge from the house, to set up my blender ready to go on the bench and to have the recipe to hand and some vegetables prepped. This way I could walk in to the kitchen and go for it.

So for any habit you're trying to implement, think of how you can get rid of an obstacle - in my case, the fudge; set your environment up to support you, such as keeping the blender on the bench and vegetables to hand; and clear space; for example clearing other clutter from the bench.

These are simple things but often overlooked, but are really important for the success of a new habit. Think about how your habit will happen and how you can support it. And let me know - how will YOU be supporting your new habit?

06 Why self kindness is the key to achieving your dreams

In this series of posts we have looked at a mindful reflection practice to keep life on track and stay aligned with our values and vision, and to notice our blessings. We then created a vision board to reflect our life vision. Not the shoulds, or how to be good enough... but coming from the place that we are good enough, looking at the life that lights us up. 

We then established a new habit in its tiniest form to set us on the path to this vision by cumulative effect, and also explored ways to remove obstacles and set up the environment to support success.

This last post of the series is the most important of all. We will be talking about self kindness, and why it's vital when building a new habit, and always.

We get it the wrong way round. We think the goal will help us feel good about ourselves. We tell ourselves, when I lose weight, I'll feel good. When I earn more, I'll feel good. 

In truth, when we're kind to ourselves, we can support ourselves to reach our goal. If we're always beating ourselves up, we have to overcome that to reach our goal. When we're lifting ourselves up, we can more easily reach it.

So the practice is to look at how we're talking to ourselves.

How do YOU talk to yourself? Are you saying, "I can't do it", "I always give up", "I don't have the right qualities for this goal".

Or, are you saying "You've got this", "pick yourself up, you can do it".

If you catch yourself beating up on yourself, don't beat up on yourself even more because of that! Instead, think how you'd respond to a best friend who'd you'd unintentionally put down.

You'd apologise, and correct what you said to be supportive.

So when you catch yourself in the act of putting yourself down, apologise to yourself. Because self kindness is about being your own best friend. So however you'd make it right with your best friend, give yourself the same respect.

And think how you'd encourage your friend. How can you do the same for yourself? Can you put encouraging reminders into your phone or stick a message on your mirror?

Let me know in the comments how you're going to be your own best friend.

03 Creating a vision board for inspiration

Resolutions often have an energy of things we "should" do to be better somehow - I should lose weight, I should achieve more. This gives them a heavy energy, so it's no wonder we often drop our resolutions soon into January.

Rather than that process, let's start from the truth - we are good enough as we are, and we can create a beautiful vision for our own happiness and highest expression. From that we can create a vision for our life ahead.

To keep this vision front of mind we can create a vision board - a physical or digital representation of the life we want. A vision board is a very inspiring talisman we can continue to look back on to stay motivated towards our dreams.

It's quite simple to collect images that inspire you to create a vision board. The one thing I see though is that some people create a vision board based almost entirely on material things. And we all know that when we get a new material things, we might get a buzz for a while but it's not really the answer to lasting happiness.

While you can have that on your vision board, I'd encourage you to think - "What will really bring joy to my life?" Is it deeper connection? And not just what you want to HAVE in your life, but who you want to BE and what you want to DO with this one crazy, beautiful life.

You might see a theme forming from your images and a word of the year can emerge, and you can put this word on your vision board.

If you feel short of time or this is yet another thing you need to do, you can jump straight to having a word of the year or choose just one image that inspires you. Let it take the amount of time you want to give it.

Let it be the process you want it to be. Play music, get a cup of something, and enjoy whether you take 5 minutes or over an hour.

If you'd love to take this process deeper, check out my online workshop here. And I'd love to see your vision board! Share it in the comments or women, jump into my Facebook community and share with the sisterhood.

02 A mindful reflection practice

This process has changed everything for me and how I stay aligned.

Have you ever noticed how at the end of every year, people on social media are saying "Oh, I'm so over this year - I can't wait for next year!" But then the next year they say the exact same thing? It's passive, wishful thinking where people hope for life to get better but don't do anything to learn from their situation. Instead, they seem all too willing to write off a year of their life. 

Don't write off your life one year at a time! Implement this mindful reflection to take the lessons and the blessings with you.

This is a practice I do even more than the end of each year - I do this each quarter to keep on track and focused towards my goals. I also complete a simple daily practice to ensure I keep aligned.

Quarterly (or annual) mindful reflection

Reflect over the last 3 months (or the time period of your choosing), and reflect on the following questions. You may like to journal the answers or just give each a few moments thought.

  • What are the behaviours, actions and beliefs that have supported my vision?
  • Which behaviours, actions and beliefs have NOT supported my vision - even sabotaged it?
  • What were the highlights? Take time to celebrate and remember no matter what, there were some good points.
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    What needs healing or forgiveness? How will I proceed with this?
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    What were my lessons?
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    What do I need to let go of?
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    What am I most grateful for? What am I most proud of?

Daily mindful reflection practice

These are some questions I reflect on most days. You may like to use these as a starting point for your own daily reflection, or choose your own. It's important to choose questions that reflect on the areas of life important to you.

Once again, you may like to journal or just give these questions some contemplation time.

  • How much sleep, water and steps have I had? These are basic self care questions. Self care is the foundation of wellbeing so reflect on how you take care of yourself.
  • How was I aligned with my values today?
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    How was my productivity and focus? This is great if you experience procrastination or are working on a project. 
  • What were my thoughts like today? This is useful if, like me, your thoughts can spiral negatively.
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    What did I experience in my emotions and intuition today?
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    How was my relationship with food today? I ask this to check in where I am eating for emotional reasons or making choices that don't feel good.
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    How was my connection to my body today?
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    How was my connection to others?
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    How was my connection to Spirit?
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    What am I grateful for today?

I hope you enjoy this practice - make it your own. I'd love to hear, what one mindful reflection question you will be adding to your practice? Share in the comments or come join my Facebook community Sisters With Heart and tell me there.

01 – Why I don’t make new year’s resolutions and what I do instead

Today we will be talking about why I don't make New Year's resolutions, and what I do instead.

Recently I fulfilled a life long dream, and published my first book, Transform Stress to Self Care. As soon as I'd written it, I realised the conversation wasn't over - it's so important to manage the stress we have to get the most of our lives, so my Youtube channel and podcast was the next step.

Being January, I wanted to discuss why I DON"T make resolutions. I was committed to resolutions until a few years ago, when I realised I wasn't achieving any of them. I realised there was something broken with the model of resolutions, and explored other ideas of what to do instead.

This article explores why I don't make resolutions and what I do instead, and there will be 5 following posts diving into the 5 step process I do instead. You might like to come back to this annually or even better, quarterly.

The reasons I don't make resolutions

  • 1
    A year is just too long. I don't even remember what I wanted a year ago! We usually forget by December what we wanted to do in January. Somehwere throughout the year we lose focus and our goals are not front and centre. New things take our attention and we forget until the next January.
  • 2
    Resolutions often have an air of "should" about them. People feel they "should" lose weight or "should" be further ahead. It's another pressure we put on ourselves and our resolutions then just feel like yet another task. With that heaviness in the energy, it's no wonder that we push it to the back of our minds, distract ourselves and give up.
  • 3
    Because resolutions are usually for a year not a quarter, we make goals that are too big so we feel overwhelmed and give up. There is a theory that a stretch goal can be more motivating than a small goal. You need to see what works for you. For many of us, when we don't believe the goals can happen or we feel overwhelmed by them, it is harder to work towards them. Having a small goal with a short timeframe feels immediate.

What I do instead

  • 1
    I focus on quarters now - the goal and the deadline remain visible on the horizon. This is how I wrote my book after  many years of failing to write as a resolution. With this short turn around, I stay focused and inspired.
  • 2
    Instead of having "should" goals that I feel I must do to feel better about myself, I begin with the premise that I'm good enough already, exactly as I am. I then go from there to create visions that are exciting - what would excite you to have happen? What would light you up? When your goals enliven you, you don't need to work so hard to stay motivated. 
  • 3
    Instead of big goals I have an exciting vision and then look at short term achievable goals and small incremental habits that support it. By setting a tiny habit which is so achievable, it's easy to commit to it, do it and with a cumulative effect over time achieve our results. For example I am currently losing weight for my health by just not eating anything after my evening meal. When I radically overhaul my whole diet in one go, I can't stick to it. But by just not snacking at night, I can stick to this habit for an ongoing basis and create permanent success.

So I'd love to hear how you're inspired to create positive growth in your life this year. Which of these ideas speaks to you? Let me know in the comments! And if you love it, please subscribe on Youtube or iTunes and share with your friends.