I have a strong message for you today - it’s about getting yourself back on-track after the past couple of months after the pandemic.
Because let’s face it, if you’re like most people, chances are you’ve drifted away (at least a little bit) from your healthy lifestyle habits.
Maybe people’s lives have been flipped upside down for the past few months.
Healthy foods have been harder to get, gyms and fitness studios were closed, kids have been home from school - plus, there was a lot of stress!
It has been a LOT.
I’m going to get a little personal in this blog... but it’s a story I am 99.9% sure you can relate to, at least a little!
A while back, I was working on a MAJOR goal I set for myself: Expanding my business to serve more women to understand how their body and brain works around food and weight.
To be 100% transparent, it felt almost TOO BIG to be realistic (yes, even coaches deal with negative self-talk sometimes!).
But this was too important for me to give in to negative self-talk, so I started to put my plan together.
I mapped out a clear, step-by-step plan for myself to make it happen... and then I put that plan into action!
It wasn’t long before I started making some pretty big progress. I was really proud of what I did in such a short time.
But then all of my progress came to a screeching halt.
For some reason, I stopped following through with my commitment to myself – and I actually started dreading the entire process.
The same things I used to look forward to doing were not fun anymore.
I lost that fire to keep pushing through when things got tough.
One day I had a hard talk with myself and I finally realized what the problem was.
The problem wasn’t the plan or the work that needed to get done, the problem was that I stopped working on my MINDSET.
Since things were moving along so smoothly, I got comfortable.
I stopped doing the same things I was doing before that kept me inspired and focused.
Before, I was listening to podcasts, reading books, and watching videos every day.
It made ALL THE DIFFERENCE for me, more than I realized - they kept me feeling positive, focused, and excited about my progress.
When I got comfortable and stopped paying as much attention to them, things started to fall apart.
The power of mindset
NOTHING is out of reach in your life.
As Walt Disney says, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”
What are YOU doing to keep yourself inspired everyday? How are you staying focused?
Are you making it a priority? Have you gotten comfortable?
My personal challenge to you to help get back on track: Set a DAILY habit goal to read, watch, or listen to something that inspires you! Even for just 5-10 minutes.
This is one of those things that has huge compound returns on your investment!
If you want to dive in a little deeper, some of my favorite books about habits are:
But, let's be real - it's not as simple as just changing one small thing and everything falls into place, right?
How to stop planning and start taking action on habits
Ready to get a little nerdy?
Ready for something crazy!?
If you’ve ever studied “behavior change”, one of the first things you learned about is the “transtheoretical model of change” - sounds complicated but don't worry, it’s not!
It was developed back in the 1970s after researchers studied smokers who were trying to quit. They broke down the “5 Mindset Stages” people go through to create a new lifestyle change.
In a nutshell, those stages are:
- Precontemplation – This is before you’re aware of a “problem” (like the need to quit smoking) or are even thinking of making any changes.
- Contemplation – You’ve got a problem that you want to solve, and you start thinking about making some changes.
- Planning – This is when you are planning to actually make the changes.
- Action – When you’re in the process of changing.
- Maintenance – You’ve successfully made the changes and are maintaining them!
We're going to take a look at that jump from “Planning” to “Action” - because it is so easy to get these mixed up with each other!
It’s also super easy to get stuck in planning mode.
This is especially true with all the info online, where you can literally spend hours going down one rabbit hole after another looking for the “perfect” solution to whatever problem you’re trying to solve.
Sometimes we confuse prep/planning time with actually taking ACTION toward our goals.
Basically, it boils down to the fact that spending 5 minutes going for a brisk walk will get you closer to your goal than spending a half-hour shopping for the right sneakers or reading articles about the “perfect” diet or fitness routine.
(Raise your hand if you’ve ever been guilty of this! We’ve all done it from time to time.)
It doesn’t have to be a BIG action, but taking 1 or 2 steps in the direction of your goal will help you get to the “maintenance” state sooner than later!
If any of this sounds familiar to you, try experimenting by stacking some action RIGHT into your planning.
Go for that walk (or eat that apple instead of a candy bar) AND do your research if you still feel like you need to gather more info.
It’s all about taking IMPERFECT action.
And if you want to jump to the front of the planning line, check out our free guide on a proven habit-creation system for a healthier lifestyle, more energy, and stronger relationships.
The real 5 habits that help you achieve your goals
As I was doing research for this blog, I did some looking around online - and I found a LOT of info about success habits.
WAY too much, in fact!
I can’t even tell you how many different articles I saw outlining the 30 different habits you need to be successful, or the 20 must-have habits, or even 50 or more!
That is a LOT of habits.
Who has time every day for all those extra habits?
It actually made me laugh, because I truly believe the simpler and more streamlined you make things, the more likely you are to stick with them.
You do NOT need 50 habits to be successful. Or even 20!
I want to talk about just 5 simple habits that will help you reach your goals - and the even better news is, they’ll help you achieve almost anything you want in life.
These 5 habit ideas come from Jack Canfield (one of the greats!), who created the Chicken Soup series of books. (I highly recommend checking him out)
The first habit is: BELIEVE IN YOURSELF and BELIEVE that you can achieve it.
When you’re first starting something new or going after a big goal, it can be really hard to believe you can actually do it. But you can - you just have to believe it.
The fact is, you can do almost anything you put your mind to, as long as you put in the work to make it happen. And doing the work is totally under your control!
The second habit is: HAVING SPECIFIC GOALS.
Successful people are always working TOWARD something. Your brain likes having something specific to work toward. It helps give you focus and drive.
What separates your goals from your dreams, is that your goals have a deadline.
So, instead of saying, “I want to run a 5K,” you would say, “By September 1, I will be able to run a 5K.”
The third habit is: GOING THE EXTRA MILE.
In business, this is called over-delivering. It’s giving your clients more than they signed up for, or going above and beyond on the work you’re doing for your boss.
But it also works in your own health and fitness.
It could be holding a plank for an extra few seconds, when your mind is telling you it’s too hard and you want to stop.
Or it’s jogging that extra 50 steps to the next mailbox without quitting.
Or even following through on your commitment to yourself to eat more veggies by doubling up on your dinnertime servings of broccoli.
#4 is actually my FAVORITE.
The fourth habit is: SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE TAKE ACTION.
Nothing will happen unless something HAPPENS, and for that to occur, you have to take ACTION. You have to DO SOMETHING.
It’s true that taking those first couple of steps can seem daunting, but it’s also exciting!
You’ll never run that 5K if you never take a step. You’ll never write that book if you don’t start writing. You’ll never lose the weight unless you take action to make it happen!
Believe in yourself, set a goal, go the extra mile - and TAKE ACTION. See how these are all building on each other?
Which leads to the fifth habit of highly successful people:
THEY SHOW APPRECIATION.
They are grateful for the process, and they take time to thank the people who help them along the way.
You have a choice in how you feel about the journey to achieve your goals. You can feel negative and resent it, or you can feel positive and grateful for the opportunity to create a change.
When you show appreciation and have gratitude, people will be more apt to help you along the way.
Which habit is YOUR favorite?
Habits actually have a lot less to do with willpower and motivation than you might think.
Check out our free guide - it’s all about finding the path of least resistance and linking your goals to something meaningful to YOU.
A huge part of establishing healthy habits is rewarding yourself.
Do ‘cheat’ days work?
I personally love rewards for achieving goals. If you work really hard to do something challenging, it’s really nice to treat yourself to something special! If we don’t celebrate our successes, it becomes only about chasing the next “thing!”
But cheat or reward days can get confusing when they send mixed messages to your subconscious... and to your hormones.
Let’s say you are experimenting with clean eating and you’ve intentionally limited some of your food choices, like cutting way back on sugar.
And then on your “free” or “cheat” day, you suddenly flood your body and brain with cookies or donuts and ice cream and candy that are all packed with sugar.
You are eating the very thing you are congratulating yourself for avoiding. That sends your brain a mixed message, right? (Not to mention your serotonin stores)
There’s a term in psychology called “cognitive dissonance.”
This is when there is a disconnect between your thoughts and your actions - and rewarding yourself with cake for avoiding cake definitely falls into that category!
Which leads me to a radical alternative to cheat or reward days.
What if you come up with a system that lets you earn rewards along the way to your goals?
I’m talking about rewards that align with your goals and your actions - or that complement them, instead of competing with them.
This could be getting a new pair of jeans, leggings, or shoes once you hit a new benchmark, like a certain number of workouts, or a weight goal, or finally running a mile or two with no breaks.
It could also be something else, like a new set of wireless headphones, or something else you’ve been wanting.
This kind of strategy eliminates that cognitive dissonance and also sets you up for success for rewarding your actions and results!
You can still eat foods you love that aren’t on your normal plan, or take a day off from your healthy habits, or eat an occasional larger-than-normal healthy “refeed” meal every once in a while to keep your metabolism happy.
But it’s important NOT to consider it as a reward - but simply part of a sustainable healthy lifestyle that is all about moderation!
So, how long does it take to create those habits?
A while ago I read something that absolutely blew my mind! It actually made me step back and rethink some of the things I’ve been taught.
Exactly how long does it take to create a habit?
It’s a question researchers have been trying to answer for years. We’ve heard everything from 3 weeks to 90 days to even longer!
But - what if that’s the WRONG QUESTION?
What if instead, we ask: how many 'repetitions' of an action do you have to do before it becomes a habit?
This is SO POWERFUL because it is more action oriented. It takes you out of the 'passive' mode of waiting for time to pass - to being in charge of the process.
After all, it’s the ACTION that helps rewire your brain for success. Studies have shown that your brain can physically change in just a couple of months (and maybe even a few weeks) when you learn new things or create new habits.
This is called neuroplasticity, and it’s a new area of brain science.
Years ago, scientists believed that the brain was static – once you reached a certain age, there was no way to change it.
Well, that’s been tossed out the window, as researchers have found that adults have been able to physically change their brains based on their actions.
For example: taxi drivers who have to navigate city streets have changed the area of their brain that involves spatial awareness.
Pretty amazing, right? And if it works for navigation, it definitely can work for creating healthy habits and a positive mindset!
There’s a specific process called REACH to help “rewire” your brain (aka create new neural pathways in your brain).
Here’s the process:
- Repetition. The more reps of an activity you do, the more likely rewiring will occur.
- Effort. You have to put in some work (and enthusiasm!) to make rewiring happen. Just going through the motions doesn’t count.
- Attention. Being “in the moment” as you’re doing the activity – paying attention to all that’s required – also helps the rewiring process.
- Complex Activities. The more involved/challenging your habit/activity, the more your brain will rewire (i.e. learning to speak a new language requires more rewiring than drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning).
- Health. The healthier your body and brain are, the more ready your brain is for change. So, lay the groundwork for change by getting exercise and sleep, and eating a healthy diet.
So, it’s time to start working on those reps!
There aren’t any hard and fast rules about how long this process takes – but the easier a habit is (like drinking a glass of water when you wake-up), the fewer reps required. And the more challenging a habit is (planning your meals ahead of time), the more reps it might take.
Personally, I find this idea of repetition so much more empowering than waiting around for a habit to “stick.”
Being intentional about getting those reps in puts you closer and closer to making that activity part of your lifestyle.
Download our free Habit Checklist and get actionable tips and advice to help you:
- Live a healthier and more active lifestyle
- Eat better quality food that makes you feel good
- Feel more positive and confident
- Have more energy
- Develop deeper and stronger relationships
Now, maybe you know what you want - but you just don’t know how to get started.
Starting is usually the most difficult step.
You decide on what you want to achieve.
You know what you have to do - and you're feeling...
You put it off.
It’s the reason why you are failing.
So, let's kick resistance in the ass.
It’s time to dig in and get focused again!
I know jumpstarting yourself back up can seem like a big job, but the fact is - it really isn’t.
In reality - all that resistance is just in your head!
All those excuses and inertia are just thoughts in your head. They are not real, so don’t give away ANY of your attention or energy to them.
Your body WANTS you to eat healthy foods. Your body WANTS to move and feel healthy, strong and energized!
The key is you just have to START and take action, as soon as possible.
The longer you wait, the harder it will be to get back on track!
I know you already know this.
The other day a friend sent me a message to tell me she’d just finished her first workout in weeks, and she was amazed at how much better she felt both mentally and emotionally.
This went far beyond the physical boost. She couldn’t believe how much more positive and focused she felt!
Even though she got laid off from her job, got stuck in a mini-rut, and she had forgotten how much better she feels after she does it - because during her layoff, spending any extra energy seemed like a lot of work at the time.
Well she picked herself up and got her body out the door for a workout, and she finally realized how IN CONTROL she actually was (over her life AND how she feels).
And exercise helped to give her that confidence boost!
I want to encourage you to fall back in love with feeling great!
Start taking a few steps TODAY to get back to your healthy routines. You will NOT regret it.
But you WILL regret putting it off if you wait too long.
Right now, I want you to think of ONE THING you can do to get back on-track - and write it down.
And then I want you to go do that one thing, as soon as possible. OK?
And let me know when you’ve done THAT one thing.
The first step always feels like the hardest - but how many times have you said to yourself in life, “That was a lot easier than I thought! Why did I wait so long?”
“Tiny” habits to lead to gigantic change
The other day I was listening to a podcast with a man who says he does 2 push-ups every time he visits the bathroom.
Now, even though this sounds a little weird, because I wouldn’t recommend doing push-ups in the bathroom (maybe right outside the bathroom?!), the basic info was solid.
It was all about making realistic changes in your lifestyle to support your goals.
The man – BJ Fogg – is actually a Stanford behavioral scientist who studies how people create routines and change habits.
He used his 2 push-up habit to kick start another “tiny” but healthy change in his life.
And do you know what happened?
They all added up to a 20+ pound weight loss in just a few months.
He wrote the book I mentioned earlier - Tiny Habits.
He also came up with a formula that outlines how to make these changes so they become automatic, so you don’t even have to really think about them:
"Behavior (B) happens when Motivation (M), Ability (A), and a Prompt (P) come together at the same time."
This basically means that to make a lasting behavior change (habit), you need to piece 3 things:
- Motivation – You have to WANT to make a change. If you think you SHOULD make a change but you aren’t really into it, it won’t stick.(REALITY CHECK: sometimes you have to give a new habit a try before you decide whether it’s for you or not. Once you start feeling the results, you’ll start to want to make the change.
- Prompt – This is a reminder to do the behavior. It could be something like going to the bathroom or opening the refrigerator door, or setting a timer or alarm on your phone.Or, your reminder could be a reward … if you want to check your phone, you need to do 5 squats first.
- Ability – Not only you should be physically able to do the behavior, but also have the time and space to do it. Doing those 5 squats takes a lot less time and is much easier than running 1 mile!Over time, this formula adds up to habits (and results) that can stick for a lifetime.
One of the things I really like about this approach is that it is super achievable.
He set the bar low – rather than making himself do 10 push-ups, he just did 2. That gets rid of the dread factor!
Then he built it up from there, adding or changing a few behaviors as they occurred to him, eventually creating dozens of reflexive changes in his daily life! Pretty awesome, right?
Let’s say you want to restart a workout routine but the idea of going back to what you used to do feels a little overwhelming.
What if you committed to starting with a 10-minute walk?
Then tomorrow, you could do 11 minutes, then the next day 12, continuing until you reached 30 minutes?
Or if you’re strength training, you could start by doing just one set of exercises instead of three.
If your goal is to eat a healthier diet, you could start by focusing on boosting the nutrition of a specific meal or snack, and then another, and another. Get your breakfast under control, or your afternoon snack, and then move on from there.
Start with something that doesn’t require a massive amount of energy or time, and slowly build it up from there.
Does that all make sense?
It doesn’t have to be ALL OR NOTHING.
If you’re looking for guidance to get back into your healthy lifestyle, we’re here to help!
We love brainstorming and helping people achieve their goals - and we can help you to get there. We’ll help you put your plan together, and then be there to keep you inspired and focused along the way.
There’s no better time than RIGHT NOW. Let’s talk about your needs.