Have you been secretly beating yourself up for yet again failing to follow through on promises you made to yourself? Maybe this was going to be the year that you started exercising regularly? Perhaps this was going to be the year that you stopped eating sugar, or you were going to finally lose that weight? Was this the year that you were going to prioritize learning to meditate?
We beat ourselves up for failed promises all the time and it subtly but steadily chips away at our self-esteem, our confidence, our belief in who we are as people. Guess what? YOU are no less capable of making these changes than anyone else. You just need the proper tools, information, and support. Change is hard… for everyone!
When you see pictures of Adele post major weight loss… do you think it was easy? She’s so talented she can do anything! Not true! She tried for years to lose weight and she had a lot of help when she finally learned that her happiness came from healthy habits, and the belief in herself to make them stick.
The Good News
The good news is that you too can learn the “secrets” of habit change. Some of those secrets are about making behavioral changes, but some of those secrets are about changing your mindset. It starts with believing that you can. Believing that YOU deserve to be THAT person. It begins with showing up with as much energy and as much love for yourself as you would show up for anyone else in your life for whom you love and care deeply.
The best news, however, comes to us from the wisdom of the Zen masters. As the Dalai Lama reminds us, “Every day is a new opportunity to begin again. Every day is your birthday.” Visit this article on having the best day ever every day!
For certain, we know that beating ourselves up for anything that happened in the past does not work. Right? Has it helped you so far? Focus on the future and how to make those changes you deeply desire. If at any time you find yourself off track, which you will, remember that you can always begin again.
7 Secrets to Successful Change
Set Yourself Up for Success!
Before you even begin become deeply acquainted with your motivation. Take a week to ask yourself some important questions: What will be possible in my life if I make this change? How will I feel about myself if I make this change? What will making this change allow me to do or make easier? What will be the likely course of my life if I do not make this change? It helps to write down your answers.
Keep your motivators front and center: on your mirror, on the visor of your car, on your computer, on the refrigerator. Maybe this is a picture of you when you felt your happiest or most comfortable in your body. Perhaps it is a word that reminds you how you want to feel; peaceful, calm, loving, carefree, buoyant, energetic.
You GET TO Do This Awesome Thing!
What would change for you if you think “I get to ______________, instead of “I have to _________________ ?”
For example, “I get to meditate every day instead of I have to meditate every day.” Or “I get to eat gorgeous healthy food!”
Consistent Baby Steps.
Set yourself up for a quick win and a foundation on which you can build. The most successful habits are practiced daily and are reasonable so that you can keep it up. Be consistent and patient. Healthy habits spread. If you build in one healthy change others will follow.
Schedule it! Leave nothing to chance
The secret, if it is not scheduled – like a meeting or a doctor’s appointment – it is at risk! Put it on your calendar every day so you make a commitment to yourself. Pro tip: Attach a new habit to an existing habit. For example, want more gratitude? Every time you brush your teeth think of 3 things for which you are grateful.
Accountability, Accountability, Accountability
First, get real. Can you successfully monitor yourself or do you need outside support? Create a system of tracking your accountability such as a checklist, or a calendar, and/or find an accountability partner. Do you know someone working on their own goals? Text each other every day. Will your spouse support you? Ask them to check in daily. Create a system that will stand up to the long haul. New habits take a minimum of 3 months to become steady and can take years to become so ingrained that you no longer think about them. Remember, you can always begin again!
Celebrate Every Step of the Way!
This is crucial. The work is in the doing, not the outcome. There is no end goal! You want lifetime habits. Set mini-milestones and reward yourself. (Flowers? New shoes?) Tell everyone about your intentions and your successes. The secret: look forward and feel amazing about the journey.
How a coach can help: Even pro athletes still use coaches. Coaches are habit change experts and can help you identify your motivations, design sustainable paths to change, keep you accountable, and will always celebrate your small wins! If you are frustrated, try coaching! We are here to help.
I am Lauren Weinberg, a Nationally Board-Certified Integrative Health Coach trained by Duke University’s Department of Integrative Medicine. Originally a counseling psychologist, for which I studied at the University of Pennsylvania, I am following my passion to help people become their happiest and healthiest selves by looking forward to how they want to live their lives and to support the behavior changes they will make to get there.
With a whole-person approach to wellness, I believe that a healthy life is multi-dimensional and ever-evolving. Kindness toward ourselves and others, deep satisfaction with work and relationships, caretaking of our bodies and minds, and a sense of connection outside of ourselves can all be a part of helping us achieve well-being and happiness. Whatever your focus, I will help with an open heart, a playful spirit, and deep compassion for your personal journey.
As a working woman, a wife of a busy professional, a mom of two “almost grown” young adults, and a chronic community volunteer, I know what it takes to fit wellness into a hectic schedule. To be perfectly honest… learning to prioritize my own health and wellness was a journey that took years! When I was finding my way I had never heard of “health coaching!” So take comfort in knowing that I understand the challenges in making life changes even when we know it is truly important to do so. I will walk with you every step of the way.