Well… I’ve completely fallen off the wagon. Ok, not completely… it’s more like I’m kind of holding on with one hand while my feet are dragging along the dirt, and it’s getting pretty bumpy up in here! But, I’m holding on and not giving up! What wagon am I talking about, you ask? The positive habit wagon! You know, the one you jump on full heartedly at the beginning of the new year and then all of a sudden, out of nowhere you’re grasping on for dear life!
Ok, so maybe I’m being just a little dramatic… just a little. I have some pretty stellar positive habits, and most of the time it’s all good! But, about 3 weeks ago I got sick. Yep, you know where this is headed. I was feeling pretty crummy for a few days, and of course it happened the week of a big event I was putting on (God sure knows how to make you rest when you don’t recognize you need it). Anyway, I got sick, and as soon as I felt better, I had to jump in to set up and execute a pretty awesome event. So that entire week, I didn’t exercise, I didn’t eat right, I didn’t sleep very well. Basically I was not very nice to myself. Then after that week of being off my habits, I didn’t really feel like working out every day anymore, so I didn’t push it. I did a workout here and there, some yoga a couple times a week or whatever, but I definitely didn’t get my sweat on! Buh-bye wagon!
Finally, a week or so after the event, I gave myself a kick in the pants and got back into the exercise habit. I am proud to say, we are back on track there. But now... I have fallen off the eat nourishing foods habit! I’ve been busy, so I forget to eat, then by 3pm I’m starving and end up grabbing chips or popcorn because it’s quick and I’m SO HUNGRY! Last week I felt a little low and sad, so I decided I deserved to have ice cream… not just my Sunday night ice cream (side note - I love ice cream, so I get to have it every Sunday - if I didn’t limit myself I’d eat it every night), but I had ice cream three or four times that week! And you know the game, when you start to fall off the wagon, you get disappointed with yourself, which makes you bummed out, which in turn makes you grab that ice cream again!
I’m happy to report that I am now working my way back onto the wagon. But I want you to know, if you resonate with any of the above, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Positive habits can be so hard to create and sometimes seemingly impossible to stick with! But we can do hard things! Aka we can create and keep positive habits! And we feel SO GOOD when we create, keep, and practice our positive habits consistently!
As I was thinking about positive habits, it hit me… positive habits can also be a form of self care (boom, mind blown). Self care is literally doing the things to take care of you! Even the things we consider the most basic like sleep, eating life-giving foods, moving your body for energy and stress relief, etc. Those are all examples of SELF CARE. We need to take care of ourselves! So often we think of self care as the extra special things like getting a massage or getting our nails done. Don’t get me wrong, those things are super nice, and also forms of self care, and girl, you should definitely treat yourself to them if that’s your thing! But don’t let the ideas of glamorous self care make you think you don’t have the time or money to practice self care! Self care = taking care of oneself.
This morning, I did Pilates and yoga = positive habits AND self care. I took an extra 5 mins to do a meditation and set my mind up for a great day. I used a yummy body scrub in my daily shower (showering = positive habit that most of us already have). None of these things are super glamorous or take a lot of time and money. But all of these things are self care as well as positive habits. You may not think of showering as a habit because it’s something you do regularly without really thinking about it… THAT’S A HABIT PEOPLE! See, anyone can create and keep positive habits! All of these positive habits/self care are needed to keep our minds and bodies healthy and happy. This translates into our family feeling happier ("ain’t nobody happy if mama ain’t happy") and healthier because we are BETTER when we take care of ourselves! BOOM MIC DROP!
“Ok, cool Chrystal, we get it. Positive habits and self care are closely related and oftentimes the same thing. But it’s still really hard to choose the veg over the French fries when I’m at a restaurant”. Girl, I hear you - those fries are so good! So I’ve come up with a few simple strategies to help you in creating and keeping positive habits.
#1 - Start with one thing.
I know I know, just one thing??!?! “But I have a list of approximately 73 habits that I’d like to create right now.” Me too! But, let’s get one thing started and chugging along at a good pace before we move onto the next thing. Trust me, it is easier this way.
#2 - Habit Stacking
Habit stacking is a game changer. The basis behind habit stacking is adding a new habit on top of a habit you already have. It helps to attach the new habit to an already established routine or habit and therefore sets you up for success more quickly!
Example - you want to start taking your supplements regularly and consistently (speaking from personal experience here). Current habit = brush teeth twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. Place your supplements next to your toothbrush and when you brush your teeth in the morning, take your morning supplements and when you brush at night take the night supplements. Doesn’t that sound simple!?
Add the habit you are working to create onto an already established habit.
#3 - Get in the right mindset.
Mindset. We hear a lot of talk about mindset all the time (we will do a whole month theme on mindset because there is so much to it). Mindset around our habits and who we are is a big one here. In order to create a new habit you need to believe that you are literally the type of person who has that habit. You can say anything, repeat all the affirmations in the world, but if you don’t truly believe and become the type of person who has that habit, you will never keep it. Be the person who has the habit you are creating.
Example - if you want to begin eating more life-giving foods aka healthier foods, you need to believe and become the person who eats healthy foods. You need to tell yourself, and BELIEVE that you are that person. You are the person who chooses the steamed veg over the French fries at a restaurant, because your body needs the fuel of the veg and feels so amazing when it’s given that fuel. Literally say to yourself and believe about yourself “I eat only life-giving foods that nurture my body, because when I do I feel great!”
You must become the person that has the habit you are trying to create!
#4 - Write/Dream/Imagine/Visualize
Once you choose the habit you’d like to create, take a little bit of time to visualize how you will feel, act, look, and be when you create that habit. REALLY get into this, how will you feel, what will you wear, how do you talk, what has changed for the better, etc. Write it out, voice memo in your phone, or whatever works for you. Just take a second to fully visualize yourself living with this new habit and allow yourself to feel all the feelings that come up!
#5 - Reward
A little bribe never hurts, right? The only rule here is that whatever you choose as a reward, can not go against the new habit you have just built. Choose a timeline, and then allow yourself that reward and enjoy it!
When you exercise 6 days a week for 4 weeks you get to buy a cute new workout outfit.
After waking up 30 mins earlier for 30 days, you schedule a brunch with your friends. Or buy a new book to enjoy in those extra 30 minutes you have each day.
You drank half of your body weight in ounces of water each day for 30 days, get yourself that new Hydro flask you’ve been eyeing!
Ok friends, there are just a few strategies you can use to help you on your positive habit journey. Some ideas may seem simple, some may seem difficult, some you may not completely agree with. That's totally cool! Try them out or don't, that's up to you!
One more thing before we wrap this up. And that is GRACE. Be gentle with yourself and give yourself grace. If you miss a day, it is not the end of the world. If you fall off the wagon, you can get back on. One mess up does not completely ruin all of your effort. Take a breath, brush yourself off, and get back on. Nobody is perfect, and we can’t expect that of ourselves. You are perfectly imperfect, and that is amazing!
Do you have other ideas to help our Wildly You movement succeed at creating and keeping positive habits? Please share them in the comments so that we can all learn from one another!
Keep it Wild, my beautiful friends!
Xoxo - Chrystal