As a coach most of my time is spent helping people figure out how to get out of their own way. It’s easy to find ways to avoid doing things–even things we desperately want to do. Why? Because motivation is fleeting. No one “feels like” exercising all the time (well, maybe someone out there does but it’s rare!). No one “feels like” eating healthy every day. No one “feels like” going to bed at a decent hour when there is Netflix to watch. No one “feels like” making the time to work through the to do list when it’s easier to just answer email. So, what’s the secret to getting to your goals? Process.
Building Healthy Habits
Because you won’t be motivated the same day to day, you must create structures and habits to establish discipline. This way, even when you’re heart’s not in it, your brain is still on autopilot, able to accomplish what needs to be done. The best way to do this is to start small. Think about your main goal and find one thing you can do this week that will get you one step closer. This one thing should be tied to a challenge you might be facing with reaching your goal.
For example, if you are trying to drink more water and you just haven’t been able to do it, decide that this week you will drink 8 ounces a day. That’s it. One glass of water every day. Do it at the same time as something else you already do every day, such as brush your teeth. This way, it will be easier to remember and do. Once you can do that consistently, make it two. One glass in the morning, and one at night, and so on. Slowly you will build up to enough water to meet your daily hydration goals, which incidentally is about half your weight in ounces, if you were wondering.
Here’s a more complex example. What if you want to work out but you find yourself skipping the gym or workout more often than you’d like. Think first about what is getting in your way. If it’s the fact that you’ve decided to work out after work and are often too tired, try setting aside time before work or at lunchtime, if possible. If you continually end up at work late or involved in other activities outside of your control, find a time when you know you won’t be interrupted. Did you know that the most consistent exercisers are those who do it first thing in the morning? That’s not surprising. After all, what could possibly happen first thing that could get in your way? I know it can be hard to get up early and work out but after a few days, weeks, and months, it will become a habit and then you won’t need that motivation anymore. Discipline kicks in. It will start to feel weird NOT to work out first thing in the morning.
Sometimes you have to build habits that remove the temptation to avoid doing the thing you want to do. Take healthy eating, for example. If you know you can’t avoid the Girl Scout cookies, don’t have them in the house! Or put them in small snack bags so you allow yourself only two a day. The idea is to create a barrier that makes you stop and think before mindlessly choosing to do the thing that you would like to avoid!
Here’s the thing. You have to want something badly enough to make these incremental changes to get there. If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse. Saying “I don’t have time,” is actually saying, “I don’t want to.” Sometimes you just might not be ready and that’s OK. But, the important thing is to be honest with yourself.
I believe everyone has it in them to make lasting changes. If you need a little nudge, advice, or a full-on plan to help you reach a particular goal, contact me. I love to help people find the right path to their personal and professional goals. Whether it’s looking good for a summer beach vacation, feeling better through nutrition, managing stress, or finding time for you, I am here, ready to help you get out of your own way and on your way. You can do it. I believe in you.