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How We Form New Habits

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During the last month,  we have been discussing  The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Live and Business and how the cues and keystone habits can help you create change in your life.

If you missed the posts, click to read more about cues>>>

and keystone habits>>>.

 

The third and final tip to help you form healthy new habits is to do something that seems very easy, but it’s the hardest to implement.

 Act as if.

Science proves that “acting as if” works.

So what I mean is that you really must believe, truly believe down to your bones, that change is possible for you.

You can do all kinds of things to form habits by setting your cues and developing core keystone habits, but if you don’t believe that you deserve to feel good or can change, you just won’t.

The first time you fall off your healthy eating plan on vacation cruise, you’ll step on the scale when you get back home, and you’ll freak out.

Possibly you’ll tell yourself,

“See, I told you…I knew this would happen. You suck. I can’t keep the weight off no matter how much I try. I’m going to be fat forever.”

And in that moment, saying that you can’t change, well, you actually sealed your fate.

If you realize, instead, that you were on vacation and it’s okay to let go and have fun, and you’ll get back on the horse, no prob, you’ll be able to bounce back in no time.

Also if you “act as if” you are a certain way (healthy, strong, sexy, happy…) and you’ll discover that you already possess the qualities you desire which will lead to wanting to feel that more and more.

But I just can’t stop here and tell you that it’s going to be easy to “act as if.”

Body image…

Self-esteem…

Confidence…

Inner critic…

Ego…

The wiring of your cells for years, possibly even being born into anxiety or the “I’m not good enough” thoughts can make things extra hard when trying to form new habits.

Honestly, I can’t pretend that I don’t still struggle with my inner critic, who tends to tell me I’m not good enough or I don’t deserve to be happy. She sometimes pops up at unexpected times, especially those times when I’m trying something new.

I was born with the feeling of “I’m not enough.”  So I have first-hand experience with overcoming the thoughts that can keep you small and stuck.

I can sometimes fall into the trap of  trying to be perfect and not allowing myself to be vulnerable or fail.  I need to have my shit together, right?

Truly believing that you deserve the world and that change is something you can do is extremely powerful… my cells possess, way deep inside, deep down…a part of me that knows I can do it.  But “acting as if” was something I had to teach myself.

Even though I’m a newborn (0r possibly now a toddler) with feeling that I CAN do it, I CAN make changes and I deserve it, I can tell you it gets easier each time you take a step further.

I’ve done so much work on digging deep inside, acknowledging this judgy voice  and then telling her

“Thank you, but no, I don’t agree. I deserve this and I’m a bad ass. So move along!”

I’ve been asked many times,

“What do you do if your cells don’t believe you can change?”

And the only answer I swear by is, in order to believe, you need to have proof.  And how do you get proof?

Taking action is my advice…just jumping in,  can help you build upon each success which in turn gives you confidence. Your cells change and the vibration is raised.

And you can say I literally mean jumping in!

It’s a story, my story of how I started the whole process of really believing in myself.

When I was 37 years old, I blindly signed on to compete in the Iron Girl Triathlon with a group of friends from the gym.

I didn’t realize, until I read the description, that I had to swim .62 miles (more than 1/2 a mile!) before biking for 18 miles, then running a 5 k.  The bike and run, okay, I could manage. But swimming…I never learned how to swim.  I was never on swim team and the only time I went to the pool back in my day was to lay out.

It took all I had, every ounce of my being, to put on a swimsuit, cap and goggles and sit by the edge of the pool. It took me forever to dive into the water to start laps.  Once I did, my body hit the cold water, and I wondered if it was too late to quit.

I started by keeping my head above water; it was too scary to submerge all the way. After practicing for months like that, I realized that I was going VERY slow and putting my head under water was what I had to do in order to survive the race.

Little by little, I put my head under water, panicking, gulping water and breathing like I only had one last breath!  I  had 2 more weeks before the race, so I just kept going, moving through the usual doubt I came across anytime I tried something out of my comfort zone.

I really wanted to quit.  Really.

I was scared shitless about not being able to make it through the swim and since I was so slow, I knew that my friends will smoke me with their times.  I wasn’t looking forward for all the comparing (actually it was only me who compared when it came down to it).

Race day came, and I got through the swim…granted I did the back stroke, free style, anything to make it.  It took me forever and thoughts of being scooped up on a raft or told I was disqualified flooded my thoughts.

But when I crossed the finish line, shit, I felt invincible.

 

Iron Girl

I reach for this story anytime I fear I won’t be able to change, do something that will lift me up, even higher than before.

And you won’t believe it, but now it is a habit for me to do laps for my morning workouts…I do this at least 3 times a week and even more in the summer. I lay out my stuff the night before (keystone habit), and since my cue is siting by the edge of the pool, instead of waiting and waiting, fixing my goggles, looking at my smartphone, doing anything to stall getting in the water, I now changed the behavior to diving right in immediately, feeling the shock of the water, knowing that I can swim, I have done it before, and now it is a habit I love.

 

pool

By taking action, you’ll start to realize, actually feel it in your body, what change feels like, how it molds new thoughts and eventually your habits.  You’ll get into the practice of switching your mindset from negative to positive, but you will always need to be aware.

You never know when that inner critic, ego, whatever you want to call that part of you, pipes in to stifle your dreams.

Just know that you aren’t alone in feeling that believing in yourself can be hard work. It is HARD work…for all of  us.  Just a little bit at a time…jump in and see what happens.

What do you say?

Tell me how you will use this last step in achieving your health goals.  What small step will you take in order to truly believe that change can happen for you?

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4 Responses to How We Form New Habits

Robin Hallett

“It took me forever and thoughts of being scooped up on a raft or told I was disqualified flooded my thoughts.” Lisa! I had no idea! This was such an inspiring post. I can so relate to this story, (even though I cannot remotely imagine myself in a triathlon which makes you even more awesome in my eyes). I can relate to the feeling of being terrified and then getting in there and swimming. Thank you. My goal: I am jumping in to a deeper intention around my vision for my pleasure and joy filled life. Thank you, loved your story!
Robin

    Lisa Consiglio Ryan

    Thank you, darling, Robin! I try to thank my body every day…our bodies take amazing care of us! And as for your goal, digging deeper into joy and pleasure sounds amazing. How will you jump into this? Mediation? Making sure to do something that fills you up with glee each day? Love this, Robin! AND you!

Kathleen

Thanks for the healthy tips.

    Lisa Consiglio Ryan

    You are so welcome, Kathleen! How will you jump in? If it feels good to you, please share with me. Hugs!

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