Before you Make Another New Year’s Resolution, Watch/Read This: The Secret Behind Habit Change
Today, I want to talk about a Super Hot Topic which is the very foundation of my coaching method, and that, is Habit Change!
Why is it that some people are able to set a goal for themselves, make change, live into their healthiest self, while others, suffer from setting a goal, or starting goal and falling of track, backsliding into old behaviors they don’t really want to be doing anymore?
We’ve got doctors doing all kinds of sophisticated and useful assessments, we’ve got prescriptions and protocols…but guess what…No One is Focused on Habit Change! Habits are the missing ingredient.
Habits are the number one determiners of the quality of life. When you change a habit, you change the quality and course of your life.
Most people have a pretty good idea of some important changes they would like to make in their health and lifestyle…but it’s the power pull of habits, often keeps us stuck.
We say we want to go to yoga 3 times per week, I’ve done that…we might even buy ourselves a monthly pass to motivate us to go more consistently….but, we don’t go. We say we want to get off sugar, or coffee, or booze. We strategize by not buying it so if we don’t have it in the house then out of sight out of mind, and I won’t do it. Then, our kid or our spouse comes home with a bottle of wine, or a box of cookies and we can’t seem to deny ourselves, so we default into the old habit….we take a little bite, or a second bite, and then we’re in the compulsion cycle…so, we check out, stuff our faces, we then we beat ourselves up over it, we feel bad, and we vow to recommit. it’s a self-defeating loop. It doesn’t work.
We need a paradigm shift around the way we do habits and health. People all over are suffering from diabetes, obesity, heart disease, hormone health….and guess what Doctors number one problem with successful outcomes is? Patient compliance! That’s a fancy way of saying that they tell people what to do, but people don’t do it….even though their health depends on it. Why? Because old habits die hard!
Habits are literally wired into our brains. Neuro-science shows that changing habits is not as simple as making a new year’s resolution. Has anyone ever succeeded in making a resolution? MRI research has shown us that the brain in action, creates neuro-pathways.
And, that our strongest habits have formed neuro-pathways there. Another words, what they say is that neurons that fire together, wire together. Neurons that fire together are what creates our habits.
So, when you are trying to change a daily habit that you have performed thousands of times over 5, 10 or 20 years, it’s no wonder that we find it challenging to change. That’s why telling someone what to eat or not to eat might get a short term result, but won’t facilitate lasting change. My approach with my transformational coaching is not about quick fixes. For lasting change to occur we’ve got to start with our habits!
So, let’s get simple…what are habits? Habits are automated behaviors. So basically the way we live our lives is just an efficient way of behaving. They save us time and energy. For example: I wake up, I go to the bathroom, I brush my teeth pretty much the same way every day without thinking about it. I don’t wake up and go….hmmmm….should I brush y teeth? Hmmmm…..should I go to the bathroom? I don’t spend time thinking about it. It’s Routine. So I’m not crazy overwhelmed all the time.
We need to have things in our lives that are automated so we don’t have to think about them every time we do them. Now, some habits are self-defeating. We know it’s not good for us, yet we keep doing it! Why do we do that? Because it’s a habit! And habits repeat themselves. That’s their nature.
The neuro network in the brain, automatically goes towards what’s familiar. So If we drive to work everyday, we tend to take the same route…that frees up some of our mental capacity. Habits can be neutral, they can be health-promoting and some can be health defeating.
Think of one habit that you do daily, or maybe not daily, but consistently that is currently self-defeating. In other words, is not good for you, or no longer good for you. Maybe at one time it was good for you but it’s no longer good for you, it’s self-defeating and you are aware of it.
So scan your day, there’s likely something, that you know isn’t serving you so well….and Without berating yourself, that’s the key here….without beating yourself up, that’s One of the secrets of habit change….it’s about bringing compassion, it’s not about Uggg, I’m such a loser, I suck…That doesn’t work!
So, if you can name what that self defeating habit is that is no longer serving you…now, I’ll also out myself, I’ll fess up so you know that I am Far from the perfect enlightened human, I have a habit of watching Youtube videos on my phone in bed! The negative impact, is that I sacrifice sleep for something that isn’t doing me a whoooole lot of good! Sometimes I’m watching motivational videos, but it’s keeping me up late at night, and the next day I wake up really tired, then I want non nutritional forms of pick me ups, sugary foods or carbohydrates that give me that quick boost of energy and so then I end up on a negative cycle.
What stops me from stopping, is that it’s a Habit! I do it Automatically…because I’ve developed the habit…So, again, I want you to think of one habit that you know you have that you’d like to change. And remember this isn’t about beating yourself up, we’re just practicing awareness. Stepping back and naming what one of your self-defeating habit are, is one of the first crucial steps to. Making change.
The good news is, as humans, we have the glorious capacity to change. Any self defeating habit, can be upgraded simply, easily, even pleasurably. Now this is different. The old paradigm is ‘No Pain No Gain’, unless you’re a glutton for punishment, that’s not much fun! Have you ever tried to stick to a diet or exercise plan by forcing yourself? How did that work for you? It does not work…and, It’s not very fun, and, mostly leads to shame, and despair….not fun.
I’ve been a health coach now for 6 years, and after working with many clients, there is this common tendency to create punishment/reward cycles to get ourselves to follow through.
Does this sound familiar to you? I’ve been good all day, so I’m going to reward myself with desert or something unhealthy. Or, are you this kind of person? I’ve been bad, I ate too much, or I didn’t go to the gym like I said I was going to so I’ll workout for 3 hours and skip a meal tomorrow. So notice, that the first one is kind of a Reward…and the second one is a Punishment. That’s really common….and then there’s a third type of person…there is Bargaining….and it sounds like this, if I don’t have a cocktail, I’ll let myself have bread and butter. Right? We sort of trade up our vices. And these, are sort of hacks!
They require willpower and discipline and some ninja mind hacking to override the compulsion to keep doing the self defeating behavior, not because we want to, but because we’re not wired to do anything else…yet! So, are you a reward, punishment or bargaining type of person? On a scale of 1 to 10…1 being not effective and 10 being a winning strategy, how effective is it to give yourself punishments, or rewards or bargains for your energy, your body, your overall health? How effective is it? Does it create lasting change? …..It’ not very effective.
Most people who need to make change in their health have good intentions…..But, they’re using willpower, goals and punishment, reward and bargaining incentives to create motivation. This can work in the short term, maybe a few weeks like a New Years resolution, because people tend to stick to a New Years resolution 7 to 14 days…Whooo Hooo!!!! But…Results Don’t Last! When the initial motivation wears off, we revert back to our habits! It happens every single year. We do the same same thing, expecting different results!
So, what’s the paradigm shift? What’s the secret that creates lasting habit change? Because no matter how long I get to live, what I Really want is a Quality life! Allllll of the evidence points to your habits! Habits are the number one determiners of your quality of life. Unfortunately, many of our common habits are KILLING us! Literally killing us. Fortunately, we Can change our habits. So what’s the difference that makes the difference with habit change? Let’s look at some options…
If you’re doing behaviors that you know are bad for you, one option is to just ‘Stop It’. Just stop doing things that aren’t good for you! Does that work? No. How come that doesn’t work? Why not? It doesn’t work because if we Could stop it, we Would! Right? We can’t! We can’t just stop it. It’s like I’ve been eating Christmas candy every day….well, just Stop it. Like, the criticisms I do at myself in the mirror…well just Stop it! I don’t like it that I push snooze every day instead of going for a run….well just Stop it! It doesn’t work…I’ve tried that!
So, let’s look at a second option. Make a list of what to do and what not to do. Do eat greens. Don’ t eat carbs. Do drink water, Don’t drink soda or alcohol. Do go to bed at 10 pm, don’t stay up late watching videos. How does that work? Have you ever mad a list of what to do and what not to do? Does That work? Nope, that doesn’t work either, or if it did, how long did that last? A Day? Two days, three? So….it’s not either of those options….
The Difference That Makes The Difference, is the idea, that Health, is Not Something you do, it’s Who You Are!
This is a really exciting concept, OK? This is the secret…so I’m going to say that again, The difference that makes the difference, is the idea that Health, is not something you do, it’s Who You Are! From the Inside Out Identity Level!
Your Habits are the Way, you Embody your Identity, and what you value. So, if you floss every day, you are embodying the identity of someone who values oral hygiene. If you make your bed every day you are embodying the identity of someone who is clean and organized. Each time you exercise, you embody the identity of someone who’s fit. With Every Behavior, you are casting a vote, for Who, you want to be! Now, if you cast enough votes, you start to believe that’s Who you are! If you consistently choose to eat the kinds of foods that energize you versus bloat or deplete you, you are embodying, the identity, of a healthy eater!
What makes My heath coaching methodology so different from what other people may be teaching or preaching is that it’s working with the Ultimate form of Intrinsic Motivation, where it’s not about losing 20 lbs., or going to the gym every day….It’s about Becoming, the Type of Person, you want to be! So, in other words, Who are you, as your healthiest self?
With habit change we’re not working with Lists, of what to do, what not to do…My approach is to teach people how to make healthy habits, a part of their identity! True Behavior Change is Identity Change! It’s about becoming, the Kind of Person, that chooses healthy living because it’s simply just Who they are! When That Happens, making healthy choices around food becomes automatic.
I had a client once who came to me and she said, I don’t just want you to give me a menu plan, I want you to help me make health, my religion. I’m like yeah, You Got It! I got that! Then she went on to say, that she would wake up every day and the things that she used to eat that weren’t good for her anymore, she no longer even identified them as food! They weren’t even food to me, so it wasn’t like I had to deprive myself. I just didn’t even recognize it as food. That’s what I’m talking about.
So, when this happens, making healthy choices becomes automatic. It’s not a brain hack you have to do, it doesn’t occur as deprivation, exercise doesn’t feel like a chore you trick yourself into doing, it’s no longer a should, or a Have to, it’s a Get to!
So, if I want to become the kind of person who wakes up at 5 am to go for a run, it’s going to be difficult to Force myself out of my cozy, warm blankets into the winter cold…the alarm will go off and I’ll be, like, am I Really motivated to do this today? Arrrgh….maybe I can put it off until later, I’ll do it later this afternoon, or I’ll do it tomorrow, I’ll do it this weekend…yes, I’ll go for a longer run this weekend. That doesn’t work!
On the other hand, when it becomes part of your identity, the alarm goes off, and you Already experience the excitement and inspiration to get your sneakers on and get out that door, feel the fresh air on your cheeks, feel your lungs expanding and waking up with the gratitude that your body can do this. It’s Easy, because it’s Who You Are!
When we make change on an identity level, Follow through becomes automatic! The habits that create our best life become Non-Negotiables! It doesn’t require discipline or willpower because it’s Who We Are! We are someone Who Chooses Healthy living.
This, is how we build healthy habits that last! And this is why my habit change coaching method is different. The basis of most coaching models is: First we identify the clients wants, like they have some sort of goal, the they have some obstacles that are in their way of why they haven’t been able to achieve those goals, and then they go to work on giving some obstacle removing tools. The result is, that the focus is on the obstacle removal….and now this is slightly effective and let me tell you how…it’s a temporary breakthrough. Basically we remove this obstacle and we sort of feel this possibility….which is good….but it creates a Temporary breakthrough, which feels good in the moment, but…within a few days or weeks, but the old patterns start rushing back. This is what I call a Fakethrough or a fake breakthrough. Because these temporary breakthroughs will stop working.
On at the other hand, when you create change on the identity level, there’s an embodied cognition. Embodied cognition. This is when it becomes integrated as a part of who we are. Thats how you get results that last.
So if you would like to become more true of your healthy self, become proud of who are and living into your core values as a healthy person who makes healthy choices….This is Extremely Powerful! I believe the missing ingredient in health care, is a focus on, habit change.
We don’t need more Information, we need Transformation. And that’s the power of my Transformational Health Coaching. Sure I inspire people, but that’s not my job to be a cheerleader, my job and passion and purpose, is to facilitate Transformation! Even when life is difficult, with more power and grace.
That’s what I provide and I have the tools to help you if you are done would like to Make the rest of your life the Best of your life, I invite you to a free 60 minute Discovery Session where we will create a spectacular vision of what you want, discover what’s been standing your way, and the loving steps to reach your goals.
This is a great opportunity to see what it would be like to work with me as your Health Coach.
To your best life ever! Namaste