There's a saying that we become what we repeatedly do.
What do you repeatedly do? And who are you becoming? These are powerful questions. Questions that I routinely ask the clients who step into my psychology and life coaching practice. Questions that I ask myself, as well.
We humans are, indeed, creatures of habit. And if your life isn’t what you’d like it to be, it’s important to pay attention to how you’re moving through your day.
Think of it as a “habit audit,” a chance to look carefully at your thoughts, words and actions, and see if they are supporting the life that you want to create, or not.
And if you discover that you’re engaging in the one of the following six habits? It’s time to drop ‘em. Immediately. You don’t need to think about it, stress about it, or make a complicated plan. Just make a commitment. Simply tell yourself: I am choosing to do better, and better begins today.
1. Being mean to yourself.￼
If you say cruel things to yourself that you would NEVER say to anyone else — not even your worst enemy — it’s time to stop.
Instead of: Ugh, you look so fat today. Try: I love myself unconditionally. And because I love myself, I’m going to make a few improvements to my lifestyle that will allow me to look and feel even better.
2. Not exercising.
Your body was designed to move. You don’t have to train for a marathon, but you do need to move, every day.
Instead of: I don’t wanna exercise! Try: I deserve to do this for myself. I am worth making this effort for myself.
3. Letting negative emotions build up inside.
When you allow negative emotions to fester inside, it’s like allowing steam to build inside a pressure cooker. Sooner or later, you’re going to erupt — either with an angry outburst, or by directing that anger towards yourself.
Instead of: ￼I shouldn’t be feeling this way. I have no right to feel this way. I’m a bad person.
Try: I feel what I feel, and I’m going to do something about it ... so that these feelings don’t fester. [Then, go somewhere private and thwack a pillow with a knotted-up towel while vocalizing your feelings, until you feel a sense of release.]
4. Saying yes when you mean no.
If you’re saying YES to things that feel like a distraction, create feelings of resentment, or literally make you feel sick ... stop.
Instead of: Sure! (I don’t really want to, but I’ll seem like a jerk if I say no…)
Try: What is the contribution that I want to make, in this lifetime? Would saying YES to this request support me in making that contribution? Or not?
5. Blaming your parents for everything.
Maybe your parents did a terrific job raising you — except for one or two things. Maybe they did a terrible job. Or maybe, it's somewhere in the middle. Regardless of what your parents did wrong or right, holding onto unresolved anger is unhealthy. It’s unfair to you and the people around you.
Instead of: It’s all their fault that I [insert unhealthy behavior here]. That’s how they raised me!
Try: ￼I’m an adult now. It’s my responsibility to give myself the things that my parents couldn’t — or wouldn’t. I have that power. I can do that, for myself.
6. Worrying about the future.
Worrying is not the same as “being concerned” or “planning your next move.” Worrying is a state of unproductive paralysis, where you’re repeatedly telling yourself: I don’t think I’m capable of handling my own life.
Instead of: What if ___________ or ___________ happens? How will I manage?
Try: Whatever happens, I have complete confidence in my ability to handle it.
Putting an end to self-sabotaging habits is both simple and challenging at the same time. Simple, because it’s really not that complicated. It begins with a simple choice.
Challenging, because making that choice (and committing to it) takes a great deal of self-awareness and a willingness to learn new tools — especially when it comes to managing your own emotions. But whether it takes you one hour or one year to change a bad habit, the rewards are so worth it — for your health, your career, your relationships, and for everyone who spends time around you.
You have all that you need. Begin now!