Knowledge is power. Information is king. Or is it? If you are reading this then you have access to virtually any piece of information you desire. Interested in knowing how to make balloon animals, stage your home to sell, build a rocket? The internet is there for you.
Many people, myself included, use the internet to find ways to enhance the experience they are having in their body, whether that means treating a disease or toning one’s muscles. My guess is that you have spent hours doing the same, and if not on the internet, than by reading books or reaching out to friends or paying to visit a medical professional.
If you have applied the knowledge you’ve gained and are living the experience you want to be living in the one body God gave you…ROCK ON! Keep up the great work!
If not, keep reading…
Most of us have tried diets, exercise programs, or supplements that have worked, for a period of time. We feel better, perhaps hit a health goal, become more optimistic about our future health and then - we “upper-limit”. We take on more at work, a family member becomes ill, we move, whatever. We get distracted, our commitment wanes and we veer off the growth-path. Something comes that throws us off. We feel frustrated, alone, and hopeless.
Later, you begin to question the information. Maybe you weren’t acquiring the right knowledge? You try something different, say Weight Watchers. And it’s working! You’re once again motivated and you say to yourself that you’re on your way to ever-improving health!
But then, the program ends, the self-sabotage sets back in, and you’re back to where you began...or maybe even worse. Sound familiar?
Why was my success not sustainable? Am I just inherently inconsistent or lacking in discipline? Am I just not motivated enough or goal-oriented enough? Why do I continue to fail when it comes to matters of my health?
Habit change experts and people who have experienced transformation in how they feel agree, the only way is to automate new habits.
To continue with the weight example, we know that snacking is a major contributor to weight gain. And speaking as a former snacker, it is really hard to fight the temptation. The important thing is when you feel the urge to reach for a cookie that you pause, take a breath and notice:
What time is it?
Where am I?
Who am I with?
What did I just do?
What is the current state of my emotions?
Those five questions will determine the trigger of the habit of reaching for the cookie(s).
KNOW YOUR TRIGGERS, SHIFT YOUR HABITS
Perhaps it’s every afternoon around 2pm (time trigger) that you grab a cookie,
or when you chat with your sweet co-worker, Lila (person trigger),
or when you visit the Office of Student Life (place trigger),
or after you pour yourself a cup of coffee (preceding action trigger),
or when you feel sad (emotional trigger).
Let’s say it’s the feeling of sadness. In order to confirm that the cookie is really what you need to satisfy your urge, get curious and play with replacing the cookie with another reward - like a bowl of fruit or cup of tea. Is the cookie urge gone? If not, experiment with a completely unrelated reward. Go for a walk. Grab your phone and call a friend. Whatever you do, keep running small tests until you find the new reward that satisfies your true need.
Now, let’s say you realize that your need for the cookie diminishes as you walk outside and go visit someone in a different building. Wonderful! It’s time to write down your one sentence plan! “Each time I feel sad (trigger), I will visit someone in a different building (ritual), because it provides me with community and connectivity (reward).”
What’s missing is not the cookie, it’s feeling companionship. Once you know this, you can design daily rituals that enhance your social life!
TAKE A MOMENT AND TAP INTO…
How do I desire to feel and live in my body?
What poor habits do I currently have that keep me from having the experience of health and happiness that I desire?
What is the real urge? Greater connection? Nourishing food? Deeper rest?
What new ritual could I automate, or make part of my daily life?
How can I design my environment to make this new ritual so easy I can’t NOT do it?!
SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE
The compound effect of small shifts overtime is HUGE. Focusing on doing good enough to earn a B- with your new rituals is what will ensure they will take root. By taking super small steps each day the highest version of yourself will emerge more and more.
KNOW WHO YOU WANT TO BECOME & BUILD YOUR RITUALS AROUND THAT PERSON
We are what we repeatedly do. The way we live day in and day out is who we are and that has a huge impact on our ability to hear and l