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The Becoming

Updated: Aug 27, 2022

How your #habits help (or hinder) who you want to #become.

Hey, ya’ll!! I have recently been putting a lot of thought into my daily #habits and my #routine. Taking the moment to reflect on which ones are “good ones” and which ones are “bad ones” - what's adding to my life, and what is not!

What is a habit? I know this seems like a silly question, but humor me. Let me set the stage. According to the dictionary, it is “a routine or practice performed regularly; an automatic response to a specific situation.” It is the tiny things that we do day in and day out, that make a huge difference.

As someone who was once a #fitness and #wellness #professional, I have preached about forming good habits - and now, as a #Chief #People #Officer and #Executive #Coach, I am able to observe how the small daily actions either lead to massive positive changes over time, OR I observe that amazingly intelligent person remain #STUCK in their own sticky floor until they take hold of those small daily actions.

I have always subscribed to the belief that every day you are either getting better or you are getting worse. You are never staying the same. It is through those daily habits that your life either moves forward towards the positive or you slide backward.

Over time I have developed a few key tricks to creating positive change habits, eliminating the habits that no longer serve us all of which lead to that #positive outcome, AND how you can make them stick.

The first step to creating a #positive habit is to start small. If you are looking to save more money, do not start by putting half of your paycheck away into savings each month. Chances are, it is not realistic, and you will cave after one or two pay cycles. That lofty goal of massive savings is just too much to handle at once! The same thing goes if you are trying to lose weight or make a change to your fitness lifestyle. Do not set your alarm clock to an ungodly hour and tell yourself “I am going to do an hour of cardio, and 30 minutes of strength, followed by 15 minutes of stretching EVERY DAY!” Again, chances are, you may make it through day one when you are super motivated, but by day three, when you aren’t seeing the massive muscle gain or a 10-pound weight loss you may say “F this! I’m done!”

When you start small - for example, you tell yourself that you will save money by not buying the $5 Starbucks coffee Monday through Thursday, and will save it for your Friday morning as a treat for getting to the weekend, you’ll have saved $20 that week! That of course adds up to $80/month, and $960 a year!

When it comes to #fitness, instead of setting this huge, monumental goal - tell yourself you will get in 10 minutes of movement in the morning, and slowly add on as you go from there. It is common sense, and it works, but we fail to do this!

WHY start small like this? Because with each action that we take, our brains are looking for a reward. And when it comes to things like saving money, and fitness, those rewards are not instantaneous. You don’t lose 100 pounds overnight, and you don’t save 6 months of income in 6 months' time. It is impossible! And as human beings, we really struggle with the patience required (without seeing a reward.) Even more so, it's so challenging for us to stick with an 8-week fitness program, when we don’t see results right away!

You must remember that small is attainable. It is much easier to say “I’ll skip this coffee” than “I have to put away all my extra income” or, “I can walk for 10 minutes” rather than “I have to devote my whole MORNING to working out.”

And guess what? When you start to do that, day in and day out, you’ll start to see the positive changes. You’ll learn that you have more time in the mornings when you brew your coffee at home, and you get an extra 10 minutes to relax instead of rushing out the door. You’ll feel the energy shift after your walk - and you’ll be motivated to do more! Once you hit that pivotal moment, you don’t have to worry about the “willpower” to push you through, nor do you have to worry about the motivation - which is short-lived. You start to lean into the positive feelings and positive outcomes, and you start to crave more!

When it comes to getting RID of those pesky bad habits that are engrained in our brains- that can be challenging in a different way. Our brains have learned that a certain behavior sparks a certain #reward - scrolling through social media entertains us, or drinking a glass of wine numbs out the stressors from a hard day. Our brains are constantly looking for those “rewards” - and we are wired to look for immediate rewards (those dopamine hits!)

So what can we do? I’m a big fan of the mindset of replacing the habit - not RIDDING yourself of the habit.

Let me explain.

When you feel the urge to grab your phone and scroll through #Instagram - whether you are trying to beat the boredom, or distract yourself, say to yourself, instead of immediately reaching for the phone to scroll, I am going to (insert a different behavior HERE) BEFORE I do that. For example - Before I start my scroll, I am going to connect with a friend, or go for a walk, or read 5 pages of a book (whatever you want to do!) THEN you are free to scroll through gram. Or, instead of saying “I’m not going to drink wine at night” start with “I am going to make myself fancy sparkling water in my favorite glass before I break open that bottle.

Why? How does this help?

Over time, your brain starts to learn new pathways and you are not going about it without the feeling of deprivation. You aren’t restricting yourself. You are slowly changing the pathways of the brain, to NOT start the immediate scroll through social media, and NOT have an immediate pour of wine after a stressful day - and instead, you are reaching for something new. I promise you this works!

But the last piece of the habit puzzle is the biggest piece of the habit puzzle.

It's the #becoming.

This is where the deeper work begins. You need to look past any goal you may have set for yourself - such as losing 100 pounds, and decide “who is it that I want to be?” Do I want to be someone who struggles to get around, and is restricted by my weight? Or do I want to be a healthy person that can get up and down from the floor without help? The person who can chase after my kids without losing my breath? Do I want to be someone who lives paycheck to paycheck? Or someone who has a safety net of savings, to where I can walk away from a toxic job without another job lined up if I want to?

To be that type of person - you must become that person.

If you want to be a fit person - you must start doing FIT THINGS. (Park your car at the opposite end of the parking lot to get in a few extra steps, or take the stairs instead of the elevator.)

Wait to buy the outfit until it goes on sale because you are a financially responsible person.

Why? Because your habits are who you are - they are your identity. You need to know who you want to be - you need to know what you want to represent. And on a deeper level, you need to know what your core values are, which will drive your actions, which drive your habits - which dictate what type of person you are.

It is as simple and as hard as this: Want to be a saver? Be a saver. Want to be a #runner? Go for a run. Want to be a reader? Read.

The most effective way to establish good habits, and change bad ones, is to focus on the BECOMING.

You have to ask yourself, is this who I want to be? Is this what I want to represent? Then do the work. Start small, focusing on the replacement of the habit - not the RIDDING of the habit - and reinforce the becoming.

Read 10 pages every day - you are a reader.

If you are like me, host a podcast every week - you are a podcaster!

Do something physical every day? You are a health-minded individual.

Your habits are ultimately, who you become.

When you know who you want to become - you can change your habits. Your identity is NOT stuck in stone. You have the power to make the change - and you have to take ownership to be the change.

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