At the end of last year, I took a little bit of time to think about what I’d achieved.
One thing that stood out to me most of all though, wasn’t what I’d gained, it was what I’d lost. In a good way.
I realise now that through last year, I managed to shake off many things that were no longer good for me. From changing a habit that made me less healthy to starting good habits that made me happier.
Was it easy to make these changes?
In many ways, it was effortless.
I suppose the most difficult part of changing my habits was recognising that the things I wanted to stop – or start – were habits in the first place. Once I knew that, I found ways how to get rid of a bad habit that were easy, with quick results that kept me motivated.
Once I realised and acknowledged that these things were just habits, and not me, it made it easier to work on making changes. I’m going to tell you what I changed and how.
I’m also going to share how you and I can work together, to make positive changes in your life.
Affiliate links included.
What are habits?
My coach and mentor, Jim Fortin, says that “everything that you do, or do not do, is a habit”. The decisions we make, whether we realise it or not, have already been decided by our brains, based on our habits.
This makes sense to me as I do so many things each day without even thinking them through. A super simple example is tasks like having a shower each morning, using shampoo followed by conditioner, brushing my teeth, etc. This morning routine is one that I’ve followed for so many years that I don’t even think about it.
On the flip side, there are bad habits that I follow on autopilot too – that I would sometimes prefer not to! Some I’ve changed and some I’m planning to work on. These might be associating Netflix with snacking, hitting snooze on my alarm clock or negative self-talk when I look in the mirror.
I agree with Jim in thinking that everything we do is a habit. In fact, it was Jim who helped me to overcome many of my personal bad habits last year, in his transformational coaching program.
Jim is just about to release a completely FREE training that I know you’ll love too – you can register for free here. If you do nothing else this year to work on yourself, do this.
10 habits I changed last year
There are ten bad habits that I worked on last year and then I’ll share how I broke them. Actually it’s six bad habits I ditched and four good habits I started:
1. Perfectionism at work.
For years, I prided myself on being a ‘perfectionist‘ and it was so important for me to not put anything out into the world unless it was the very best it could be. Anything from work, to words to a hairstyle!
You know what the result was? Failure. Either I spent too long procrastinating that the moment passed, or it was an anti-climax or no-one even cared enough anyway.
How did I break the habit of perfectionism? I let go of the attachment I had to the outcome of my work. Essentially, I stopped caring so much about what other people thought. I did my job really well, put it out there and then moved on. I stopped waiting around for praise or criticism. I now have faith and courage and I feel freer. I make a decision, act on it, then move on.
2. Guilt about what I was eating
I can’t tell you the number of different diets and ‘ways of eating’ I’ve tried over the years. Although I can tell you how many got me the result I wanted: none. That’s a story for another day though!
However, one bad habit that built up over time was feeling guilty about the food I was eating. Because, when you’ve done ALL the diets, you come to the understanding that all food is bad, according to one diet or another.
Fat is bad. Sugar is bad. Fruit is bad because it’s full of sugar. Carbs are bad. Celery juice is good. Fat is good. White carbs are bad. Fat is good. Meat is bad. Protein is good. Eating after 3pm is bad. Fasting is good. Carbs are good. Fasting is bad.
It got to the point that whatever I chose to eat, I would feel guilty about it. Can you relate to this?
How I’m ditching this habit: this was a process of moving my attention from the negative thoughts to trusting my intuition. Now, when I want something to eat and the negative “you shouldn’t be eating that!” thoughts come in, I move my attention to “what do I want to eat? What does my body feel like?”.
At first, giving myself permission to eat what I wanted, when I wanted it, felt like Christmas. Every day. Over time though, it’s helped me to not only break the habit of feeling guilty but also the one of feeling deprived.
Food isn’t limited. Food groups are not limited, if I don’t want them to be. I choose to eat the foods I want and not the ones I don’t want. It’s as simple as that.
3. Daily weighing
Which brings me on to…the scale. Yes, that b*tch.
For years, decades actually, I cultivated a habit of weighing myself every day.
The number on the scale then determined my mood for that day. A ‘bad number’ set me up to feel like a fat, useless and hopeless failure for the day. A ‘good number’ sometimes felt motivating but sometimes gave me permission to overeat at my next meal or treat myself.
Either way, the mental load of weighing myself every day and how negatively it made me feel had to stop.
How to break a habit like daily weighing: well, it came down to removing the scale from my bathroom and putting it high up on a shelf where I can’t see it. Out of sight, out of mind. For a couple of weeks, I would get up in the morning and automatically look for the scale, poised and ready to step on to it. Then, as the days went by, I would stop looking for it and now I rarely even consider what my weight might be.
4. Fear of cancer returning
This fear came down to the habit of me telling myself that it was going to come back and associating every ache and pain with that notion.
What I didn’t realise at the time is that I was focusing so much on what I didn’t want to return, that I was letting that fear grow and develop into an all-consuming weight around my neck.
I developed the habit of thinking about cancer daily – in fact, numerous times daily.
How I stopped the habit: each and every time any thoughts of cancer come into my mind, I immediately move my attention to something else. Generally, I try to think of something more positive to focus on but sometimes, it’s whatever is in my vision.
I might literally look at a plant and start describing it in detail to myself, it’s leaves, how many leaves, what is the plant called, does it need watering, etc. It sounds a little odd but it works!
When I move my attention quickly to something else, even if it’s something trivial, I shut my brain off from thinking about the negative story I was telling myself before. Over time, moving my attention becomes easier and quicker – because that becomes a habit. And over more time, the negative habit of getting into fear starts to lessen.
5. Drinking alcohol
Over the past few years, I developed the habit of drinking too much alcohol, too often. I’ve always been a big drinker but never really the drunkest of everyone in my circle of friends. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of times in my life I’ve been really out of it.
However, in recent years, I started to turn to alcohol more and more to deal with life’s problems. I wanted to blur out pain, stress and anxiety.
For a time, it seemed to work. Until the day I realised that the habit of daily drinking had gotten so bad that I couldn’t stop. I tried to cut back and cut down but my habit was so reinforced and wouldn’t budge, despite how desperate I was to overcome it.
How I stopped the habit of drinking: it took me some time to realise that the problem I had was a habit. Once this became clear, and I learned the steps to unravel the habit, it became effortless. Learning how to stop bad habits addictions and behaviours can be quick to do and thankfully, this was for me.
Within two weeks, I didn’t only cut back my drinking habit, I eradicated it completely. Do I feel deprived by not drinking? NO way. The freedom, clarity and positivity that fills my life since kicking my drinking habit is immense. So much so, that I wrote a book on it! If you want to know how to stop a bad habit permanently with my method, find out more here:
6. Negative stories
The habit of believing in stories really ramped up after I was diagnosed with cancer. I was at my most vulnerable then and over time, started a habit of telling myself bad things and believing them.
“If something didn’t call me back quickly, I’d imagine it’s because I’d offended them and they were avoiding me.”
“Lumps and bumps were a ‘tell-tale’ sign of cancer, not just a normal change in my body.”
“If an Instagram post didn’t get many Likes, it was because people were judging me and hating my pictures or words.”
“I would never be good at exercise because…I’ve never been good at exercise.”
“I’ll never lose weight because diets never work for me.”
Do any of these examples resonate with you?
They are all ‘stories’. Stories that I made up in my head that did nothing except torture me and lead to emotional upset. They kept me trapped in the past or in a made-up version of my life.
How I’m ending this: every day and every time I notice a negative story popping up, I move my attention to something else. Doing this is a simple way to break a bad habit and has become one of my main ways to break a habit now. Or, I’ll use my over-active imagination to conjure up a more positive story instead!
7. Walking daily
Well, this is more about starting a new habit and learning to develop good habit plans, rather than ditching old ones. I started the habit of exercising every day – for 30 minutes, I walk. And I LOVE it!
Apart from the fact that moving more helps me achieve the better health I’m seeking, I also realise I was spending too much time inside.
I wanted to be more conscious of stepping away from my desk, walking and breathing in the fresh air. Feeling the sun on my skin, smelling the roses.
How I started a habit of walking every day: firstly, I ditched all of the excuses for why I couldn’t do it. Because I DO have 30 minutes spare daily. I made it a habit by tracking it and setting reminders to make sure I did it. I downloaded the best habits app I could find on my phone and set a reminder at 11.30am every day to Walk.
My intention was always to walk first thing in the morning after the kids’ drop off – this just suits my lifestyle. If the habit app alarm went off at 11.30am and I’d already walked, it reinforced how awesome I felt about achieving it. If I hadn’t walked yet, I’d do it at lunchtime. ‘Worst-case’, I will walk after the kids have gone to bed – I can always find 30 minutes in my day, somewhere.
Related: I’ve done a simple habit tracker that you can download instantly here.
8. Loving myself
I love myself, I love myself, I love myself.
Apart from the fact that I do love myself, it’s also a quote from a great book I read called “Love yourself like your life depends on it” by Kamal Ravikant. I’ll do a full review soon. This is another example of a habit I wanted to start.
This beautiful book guides you through the different ways we can start to love our mind, body and spirit through positive stories, mirror talk, repetition and meditation. The best part is, it’s easy to start and once you do start, you instantly reap the rewards.
Getting into the daily habit of telling myself how much I love myself has made my self-esteem soar – I really recommend this book.
9. Saying No
Yes, it’s a little cliched but finally, I started owning my time. I’ve been a people-pleaser for years: wanting everyone to like me and to help as many people as I can. However, over time it got to the point that I was saying Yes to too many things and leaving myself feeling frazzled, frustrated and sometimes, a little taken advantage of.
I’m owning it though – no-one had me a gunpoint when I said “Yes” to all the things. I take full responsibility for over-committing to too many things last year and I knew it had to change.
How to stop saying yes to everything: well, it was as simple as not saying anything at all at first and giving myself the time to really consider whether or not I should commit to doing what was asked of me.
Before saying yes to doing something for others, I will consider if I have the time and the inclination to do it. I do not like letting people down but I had to also get into the habit of letting go of that misplaced guilt too.
We only have so much time, energy and resources and we can’t be everything for everyone. I am responsible for my own life and actions.
10. Investing in myself
Finally, in the past 12 months, I’ve never invested in myself more – and the benefits of that are vast! I’ve been working with some exceptional coaches and mentors to not only improve my business but also my personal life, relationships and health.
It’s what’s helped me to not only identify where I want to make improvements but get on the path to actually doing the work too.
They aren’t cheerleaders or teachers. They don’t list all the things I need to change and teach the steps to do the work. They help me to see where my natural abilities lie, what resources I already have that might be hidden, and how I can use my own skills and strength to get what I want in my life.
I’m open and receptive to their coaching and this has become a habit that transforms my life for the better every day.
How I built the habit of investing in myself: I started by listening to motivating and transformational podcasts every day on my daily walk, such as:
- Stop Your Procrastination Habit With A Daily Power Hour!
- Jim Fortin’s “Transform your life from the inside out”
- Lisa Corduff’s “Conversations with Lisa”
- James Wedmore’s “Mind your Business”
Then, when it came to choosing coaching and mentors and their programs, I followed my gut.
I researched so many different programs from life coaches to business coaches to a lot of woo and now I’m in the habit of trusting my gut relation and intuition. As it is never wrong.
You can grab my printable monthly habit tracker here.
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