HOW TO CREATE YOUR DREAM LIFE ON AUTOPILOT
I can’t even count the number of blog posts out there describing all the habits successful people have that make them successful. Or “THE morning routine of the successful!”. And even though I ALMOST roll my eyes every time, they DO have an interesting truth to them.
I don’t think it’s WHAT they do exactly, but it is the fact THAT they do something each & every day that makes them reach their goals. Because that is something that every successful person out there has realized:
MOTIVATION IS WHAT GETS YOU STARTED, HABIT IS WHAT KEEPS YOU GOING!
But as I said: it’s not about what exactly they do, it’s that they do it repeatedly! And everything you do on a regular basis is a habit. No matter if it’s once a day, once a week or once a year!
THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE UGLY!
There’s one thing we all forget, though. We ALL have them. Habits I mean. Human beings are creatures of habit, that’s what they say, right? And so our human nature is to do things on a daily basis. That’s how we feel comfortable.
First, we copy them from our parents, because they’re our heroes. Then a bit further down the road, we start building our own habits. And depending on what we learned up until then, those habits will focus on different things.
But, you’ll always start doing the things that make you feel good and safe. No matter if it actually is good or bad for you in the long run! You’ll start with the way they make you feel NOW! Which is the root cause for addiction - but that’s a whole other story for another day.
Those habits can be:
- sleeping in
- showering each day
- drinking your morning coffee
- starting your day on Facebook
- going for a walk after dinner
- prepping your kids for school with a certain routine
- taking the same way to work each day
- leaving the house overly punctual so you have a few minutes to spare just in case
But also things like:
- not chewing your food properly
- thinking about how fat you are
- avoiding deep conversations with your husband
- scratching your head when you’re thinking
- responding with a YES to every favor that’s asked of you
"HABITS CONTROL PRETTY MUCH EVERY MOVEMENT, EVERY DECISION AND EVERY THOUGHT IN EVERY SECOND OF YOUR DAY." V. Freit
HOW TO KNOW IF YOUR LIFE IS FILLED WITH GOOD OR BAD HABITS
Ok, before you start getting dizzy trying to think about the MASS OF HABITS you have, stop it right there! Because you can’t! It’s too much and it won’t give you the clarity you need.
There is one simple and yet complicated question to ask yourself that will clarify everything you need to know. And that question is this:
IS YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW THE KIND OF LIFE YOU WANT TO BE LIVING?
You see why I wrote “simple and yet complicated”? It’s one question, a simple conglomeration of words. And yet it’s NOT! You won't find the answer looking at your day to day life. The answer is a FEELING. Deep inside of you!
So thumbs up or thumbs down?
Unfortunately, most of my clients would say thumbs down. But LUCKILY, I have good news for them and for you.
There’s a way to get a hold of your habits. You need to intentionally create the ones that are going to build that life you’ve been dreaming about. On autopilot! How does that sound?
Before we proceed: I have a free 12-month habit tracking printable pack in my Resource Library for my subscribers...wanna check it out, too? Not to mention the OTHER 15+ resources in there!!
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT HABITS FOR YOU
Again, this is very easy in theory, but the reality is a little more of a piece of work. So here’s what you need to do, step by step:
- Decide what you want your life to look like
- Choose your big goals for each area of life
- Break those down into smaller goals
- Decide the habits you need to adopt to reach those goals
- REPEAT REPEAT REPEAT
- Make those habits become muscle memory
- See your goals come to life on autopilot
Now you might ask yourself: What areas of life? What are you talking about? Goooood question, you’re paying attention, thank you so much! ;)
I've been working as a Life Coach for quite some time now. And I found that collectively trying to change bad habits into good ones is JUST.TOO.DAMN.MUCH for most of us. We lose motivation. We lose focus. And we get bored out of our minds.
You need to take it one step at a time. And give your body and mind enough time to actually build the habits you want.
And so I’ve built my coaching business around exactly that concept. I created a schedule to help women change their lives by dividing it into 3 different areas. Then I went ahead and divided those areas further...until I had 12 steps.
From “Fueling Your Body” to “Being Your True Self”, from “Decluttering” to “Money Mindset” and from “Love/Marriage” to “Friendships” to name a few.
If you’re interested in more information about this schedule, you should go read my other post where I go deeper into the concept:
So you go through each area of life going through one step of that area each month.
You get clear on your goals for each step.
You create the habits you need to reach your goals.
And then you REPEAT REPEAT REPEAT until your body adopts those habits as your own.
And BAM! Your happiest life is right around the corner in only 12 months time!
HOW OFTEN TO REPEAT HABITS UNTIL THEY TAKE EFFECT
This is the part I love so much about my work...the sciencey part. I know science can get boring quickly, that’s why I’ll make it short’n’sweet.
I bet you’ve heard about the 21-days-to-form-a-habit theory. Well, I would love for it to be true. But I’m a true believer in science, and that’s why I need to take it a little further.
A new study of 2009 (here’s the link to the source) states that it takes an average of 66 days (!!) to make a habit stick. Until it becomes muscle memory. Why is that?
That comes from the fact that to form a NEW HEALTHY habit we always do it by REPLACING an old unhealthy one. It is true that after 21 days the new habit will be predominant over the old one, but the old one will be still there.
But it takes a lot longer for the old habit to disappear. An average of 66 days according to the study.
My coaching concept relies on 4 to 5 weeks for each step. It’s healthy to focus on ONE step for that amount of time. That’s the time you need to actually & intentionally WORK on your goals and habits. After that time it’s more of an unconscious repetition work. And it also becomes BORING to work on just ONE thing. You have enough mental space to work on several things at once.
Starting with a new focus every 4 to 5 weeks makes the motivation stay fresh and the excitement stay present!
HOW TO HELP MAKE HABITS STICK: KNOW THEIR WEAK SPOTS
There’s a LOT you can do to make habits stick. You need to learn how to make it easier. You need to understand how habits are structured. According to this article by Quora, a habit has 3 components:
The Cue or Trigger: This is the part of the habit loop where you are triggered to take some sort of action through a cue in your internal or external environment.
The Action: Good or bad, this is the part of the habit loop where you actually take action on the habit you want to adopt or drop.
The Reward: This is the part of the habit loop where your brain receives a reward for taking the desired activity (or not).
So there are 3 key moments you can influence. You need to learn how to spot those moments and how to consciously make the habit you had, the old one, AS DIFFICULT AS POSSIBLE.
Let's look at an example:
STEP 1: So you want to stop eating sugar. This is the bad habit. So here’s how it may be manifesting:
The Cue or Trigger: this could be an internal trigger like feeling stressed or avoiding an uncomfortable situation or an external trigger like having your favorite sweets lying around at home or walking by them at the grocery store.
The Action: sitting down and eating sweets in front of the TV, or putting them in your grocery cart without thinking about it.
The Reward: in this example, the reward is pretty easy to spot. When you consume sugar, your brain lights up like a Christmas tree. Especially the reward center, which then pours out dopamine, which makes you feel cozy, safe and excited! Did you know that the newest studies show that sugar is 10 times more addictive than heroin? Just a fun (I mean scary) fact...
STEP 2: Now you know how to reveal the tricky moments of the old and unhealthy habit. It’s time to set yourself some kind of trip wire along the lines of each of those moments. And create a healthy habit around it. And I’m sorry to say that, but if you’ve been struggling with pulling through new habits, you need to be ruthless.
So taking the example we just used:
Cue or Trigger moments: if you’re a stress eater, try only having natural sweets at your reach. Like fruit or dates, a sweet smoothie or whatever it is you like. After that, you take care of the external triggers. Just swipe your life clean from sweets. Ruthlessly. Make them disappear! I told my husband once to hide the sweets from me. Put them somewhere only he knew. And it worked like a charm.
Action moments: If your TV time is when you might miss your usual sweets the most, you have two options. Change the action moment. So instead of watching TV, you could start a new habit that you don’t connect with sweets that much. Like reading or writing in your journal. If it’s the grocery store again, make sure you avoid the aisle with the sweets. Or take only enough money to buy your other important groceries.
Reward moments: This is the trickiest thing to reproduce without the instant dopamine boost from your usual sugar intake. Because the benefits of NOT eating sugar are more longterm. You need to do something to make you feel better right away. So every time you avoid sugar you choose another thing to treat you with. Like a new book, or one set of washi tape, or a beautiful new pillowcase for your couch.
You could also try to use a Vision Board! That’s a visual reminder of you achieving your goal! It can be a very powerful visualization technique! If you want to know more about what visualization techniques there are, check out this post:
THE HABIT OF THINKING
There is one thing I want to mention separately because I think it’s one of the most powerful habits we have.
Nope, wait, it’s THE most powerful habit we have.
And it can be both, positive and negative. It depends on us.
Our thoughts are habits, too, you know? They are a learned behavior and they’re quite repetitive. Did you know we think the same 90-95 % of our thoughts EACH & EVERY DAY? Holy moly!
And so I not only want you to check any unhealthy thoughts you might want to convert into good thoughts. I also want to remind you how powerful repetitive intentional thoughts can be to help you ADAPT NEW HEALTHY HABITS as well.
ENTER AFFIRMATIONS. Affirmations are a way to manipulate your brain in a positive way. So instead of telling yourself each day how unlikely it is for you to actually achieve your goals, you can create an affirmation that goes something like this:
- I am powerful
- I can do this
- I can adapt to any healthy habit I want to
- I love change
- I can change habits easily
You can repeat this sentence for a few times during your shower in the morning or throughout your way to work. What happens after some time is that the brain starts to see those words as fact. And it will start acting accordingly.
I talk a lot more about affirmations and other powerful mind-changing techniques during my 7-day Self Love Challenge called “Dear me”. You should go check that out here:
Well, now I want to know from you. What habit have you been wanting to change but never seemed to get through more than the first week? let’s hear your stories in the comments below so we know we’re not alone with our struggle.
Have an incredibly good day!
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