After reading my blog “Where do you start?”, you might be left thinking that it all sounds well and good but how will you ever manage to have time for any of it? You may be feeling a sense of overwhelm. All completely normal when you’re in the thick of it.
My suggestion is, take a look at your habits as a way of identifying what makes you feel good and what doesn’t. It’s something you can do without having to make ‘extra time’ for. You can do it while you’re rushing, relaxing, working and going about your daily activities. All it requires of you is to remind yourself to notice what you’re doing. In essence you’re practicing mindfulness.
When you wake up, make it your intention to observe your habits throughout the day. If you forget at times that’s okay – you have tomorrow, the next day and the next. In fact you will need to do this over time so you can really see what it is you do that makes you feel good and bad or makes your life easier or harder. For example, you might notice that you feel terrible when you wake up, but when you have a coffee you feel better for a while. Or perhaps you have that 3 pm slump where you need a chocolate to get you going again. Maybe you tell yourself you’re not going to go out and drink tonight but you end up doing it anyway and feel guilty. Observing your habits also includes your habits of mind – what do you think or say to yourself that is positive? Negative? How do you feel about being you when you’re with particular people or at certain places?
Whatever it is that you notice, ask yourself why that might be in that pattern. Remember, dig deep! If you reach for the coffee or chocolate to get you through examine what is really going on. Poor sleep? High sugar diet? Racing mind? Anxious? We can have healthy and unhealthy addictions to many things because they make us feel better. You can have unhealthy relationships with food, alcohol, sex, money, drugs as well as addictions to unhealthy patterns because you are trying to feel better, fill a void or even control situations.
You will need to consider why it is you have established particular habits. It can be hard to identify at first because for you it is normal, something you have always done without much thought. It may take some time to contemplate and research in order to figure it out. Our life experience and our connection to food, emotions, behaviour and thoughts all work together and impact one another.
Once you can identify your unhealthy patterns, jot them down in a journal (even if you’re not sure why you do these things). Once you are aware of what you do, you can work on changing it for the better.
For example, maybe you go shopping and buy more clothes, even when you have a cupboard full of ones you’ve only worn once or twice. Is it because you feel like it’ll make you look more attractive? Do you need to love yourself for who you are? What happened to make you think you need new clothes to be attractive? Work on healing yourself. It may be useful to jot down some significant events that happened in your life (good or bad) that has influenced your thinking and impacted on how you behave, think and feel about yourself. It may be difficult to face but you will feel a sense of relief and understanding when you make the connection. Importantly, don’t blame yourself or beat yourself up for not realising earlier – no one forms bad habits with negative intent, it’s a behaviour you form to protect yourself. Appreciate that this behaviour has served its purpose and thank it for assisting you when you needed it. It’s time to resolve the old by creating new patterns and grow YOU.
Write down what you will mindfully do in place of your old habits. Trust your instinct here. You are the expert of your life and you know what you honestly need to do beat old habits and create fresh ones as hard or impossible as it might seem. Believe in yourself . Writing down new habits is the next step towards committing to a more fulfilling path. When you have a plan, change can come more effectively. Read over what you’ve written each day or when you think you need a refresher in order to affirm your intentions and allow your subconscious to steer you towards healthy habits each day. Remember this is about taking control of your happiness and wellness. Let yourself glow!