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How to Change Your Life, Even If You’re Terrified to Do It

by Shannon Kaiser     January 24, 2016

This post is part of a series by Shannon Kaiser called Live Your Life — a primer on finding your passion and living with purpose. Each day this week, we’ll post one article offering the foundational elements you need to go deeper in the search for your life’s true meaning. When you’re ready to take the next step, check out Shannon’s course: Get Unstuck: How To Find Your Calling & Live A Life With More Meaning.

I spent my twenties in a career that I thought I wanted, but eventually it suffocated my soul. I was climbing the corporate ladder in advertising, but my life lacked real passion and meaning. I was terrified to change my life. I thought, “What would I do for a living? Everything I worked for led me here; this is what I wanted. Now, I have to tough it out and go through the motions.”

I continued this path until I couldn’t ignore the truth any longer. It took a formal diagnosis of clinical depression for me to wake up and see that I needed a change.

Flash-forward to today: I am living my dream life as a writer, coach, and course leader. I am depression-free, and I live a life with passion and purpose.

It can be terrifying to move forward and make a change. I get it. I’ve been there. But the reality is that you don’t have to change all at once. All you have to do is be brave enough to make one small change, one day, one moment at a time. Courage is what will pull you into a happier life.

There are certain small steps you can take today to help you change your life and make a better tomorrow, right now.

It’s important to identify the difference between change and transformation. As psychotherapist Teri Cole says, “We all say we want change, but with change you can always change back. What we really want is transformation.” When you transform, you’ll never go back to your old way of living. So as we sail gracefully into the new year, let’s begin our transformations with these easy steps:

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1. Clear out clutter.
Stuff can pile up and add unnecessary stress to your life. Physical stuff, emotional stuff, and even mental clutter can prevent you from moving forward. Remember, one small change one step at a time can make a profound difference for you, so as Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, suggests, ask yourself if your stuff brings you joy. If you don’t feel happy, it’s time to chuck it. This includes people, jobs, habits, and objects.

2. Nourish the nudge.
You may feel stuck, but focusing on the negative won’t fix anything. If you want to truly change your life, start to pay attention to the inspiration and insights you get — nudges from our inner guide cluing us into what to do next. Even if you don’t know what you want, focus on nurturing and nourishing the nudges that come to you. This could be as simple as following through on the inspiration to go to a bookstore and get a new book, look at YouTube channels, or call a friend and ask for advice.

3. Follow your joy route.
My pivotal moment of transformation came when I decided to make joy my priority. I asked, “What brings me joy?” and made sure I did it every day. This led me to adopt a dog, who helped to pull me out of depression and inspired me to leave the corporate world and work from home. I pulled out my bucket list, updated it to include only things I really cared about, and decided to start checking things off. As I checked things off, I discovered more about my authentic self.

4. Visit your future self.
Visualizing yourself happy and healthy is a key component to manifesting. When I first left my corporate job, I would fall asleep picturing myself as a published author and a travel writer working and writing from all over the world. Today this is my reality. You have to picture it and believe it is possible in your mind before you can achieve it.

5. Find a mentor.
Finding a person you respect and admire to help light the path is key to long-term success. Look for people who have what you want — they can show you the way there. The world’s top life coaches, authors, and CEOs have mentors, coaches, and experts helping them. Mentors help us learn the way on the way, and propel us forward much faster.

If you feel stuck, paralyzed by fear, know that it will evaporate when you take action. Action brings clarity and confidence. The more action you take, the less fear you’ll feel.


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5 Ways to Create Lasting Change in Your Life

Posted: 08/20/2015 

When you think about how hard it is to make changes in your life, you’re tempted to give up before you even start. It’s easier to coast through a good enough life. Everywhere you look, another person or situation trying to convince you a mediocre life is perfectly fine.

In one of her songs, Taylor Swift says, “People throw rocks at things that shine.” Marianne Williamson is famous for saying, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?”

Society has conditioned us against stepping out and claiming the kind of life we want to live. Life is short and time can never be recovered. Each moment is precious and should be lived to the fullest. Here are five ways to create lasting change that leads to an amazing life.


1. Start with the inner work. Real change starts within each of us. There are struggles and self-limiting beliefs that we have to battle before we can move forward. Take some time for a self-examination of where you are and where you want to be. Address that little voice in your head that gets uncomfortable at the thought of stepping outside of your comfort zone.

2. Be honest with yourself. For the inner work to manifest, it starts with honesty. It’s too easy to lie — especially to ourselves. Real change starts with getting honest about the things that have held you back in the past, and what scares you about the future. Change lasts when you get honest and stay honest. You will have setbacks, and the honesty helps you keep from covering up what will help you.

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3. Focus on one step at a time. When you look at the big picture, it’s easy to get discouraged at everything that needs to happen to create change. If you want to lose 50 pounds, it seems daunting. If you want to leave a job you hate, you get 100 thoughts of all that needs to happen. The best way to approach lasting change is to focus on your next steps. Don’t look at the big pictures. Instead, break this down into bite size goals that you work on every day.

4. Forms habits. Lasting change is most successful when you focus on creating habits. Habits are making lifestyle shifts versus quick wins. You incorporate the changes you want to make into your daily routine. You focus on changing how you think about the things you want to change, which affects the actions you take.

5. Stay accountable. Having support in your life can be the difference between success and failure. As much as we want to try this alone, having someone to get honest with you or hold your hand when you stumble, is crucial. It can be family, friends, or a support group, but stay accountable to avoid giving into excuses.

I realize this is all easier said than done, but I hope you realize how important this is. The death of my father and grandfather were my wake up call. They were the catalyst to shake me out of a 12-year period in my life that could best be described as existing. Today, I’m truly living and loving life.

I don’t know what your dream life looks like. I only know you can and should do something about it. You can make your dream a reality, and it starts with creating lasting change in your life. Use these five ways to claim the life you truly deserve!


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12 Tips That Can Rebuild Your Life And Make It Amazing

“Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pains, losses and disappointments; but let us have patience and we soon shall see them in their proper figures.” ~ Joseph Addison

What if one day you woke up and decided that you were tired of feeling tired and that you had enough of everything? Enough of stress and anxiety, enough of anger and resentment, enough of struggle, lack, pain and poverty, enough of tears, heartbreaks, self destructive thoughts, behaviors and relationships and enough of all that is negative and toxic? What if you decided that you wanted to change yourself and your life but didn’t know where exactly to start, what then?

There are many things you can do to begin rebuilding your life and make it ridiculously amazing and today I will share with you 12 things that are meant to help you do just that. Are you ready? Let’s begin:

1. Make A Commitment To Yourself

I (name),
Make a commitment to myself,
To spend so much time improving myself and my life that I have no time for worry, judgement, criticism, whining and complaining;
To forgive, release and let go of my attachment to any past struggles and allow every challenge life sends my way to make me better not bitter.
Starting now, I make a commitment to let go of what’s behind me and start appreciating what’s in front of me;
To let go of all the pointless drama, all the toxic relationships, thoughts and behaviors that are present in my life and to constantly shift my focus from the bad on to the good;
To make room in my heart for love, happiness, peace and tranquility and to create my life from a place of infinite choices and possibilities – the present moment, and no longer from a place of limitations – the past.
I commit to staying true to myself at all times and to never betray myself just so I can please other people.
I commit myself to give up on toxic thought, behaviors and relationships but never on myself and my dreams.
Starting now and starting today, I will begin rebuilding my life and to make it ridiculously amazing.
Sincerely,
(name)

Once you truly commit to rebuilding your life and making it ridiculously amazing, nothing and no one will be able to stand in your way.

2. Forgive, Release And Let Go Of Past Hurts And Resentments

Fill your heart with love. Forgive, release and let go. Not necessary because those who mistreated you deserve it, but because you do. Let forgiveness liberate you from your past. Allow it to take away all the resentment you kept in heart for all this time and allow yourself to fill in that empty space with love, inner peace and compassion.

If others mistreated you in the past it doesn’t mean you have to continue their work. Look how beautiful Mark Twain talks about this: “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”

Release and let go of all the negativity from your life. Start small and trust that as you work on letting go of all the extra baggage that is weighting you down, you will begin to feel lighter and you will gain a lot more clarity over your life. You will feel happier and more at peace with yourself and the world around you.

3. Embrace With Grace All That You Face

Shift your focus from the bad on to the good, from the pain on to the gain, from resentment on to the forgiveness, gratitude and appreciation. Learn to embrace with grace all that you face.

Appreciate everything life sends your way, whether good or bad and know that “Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ~ Melody Beattie

4. Visualize Your Achievements And Create Your Destiny

Ask yourself the same question I asked myself a few years ago when I decided to let go of my attachment to my past and begin rebuild my whole life: “If there were no limits to what I can do, be and have, how would my life look like?”

Let your imagination run wild. Dare to dream big. Don’t settle for less than you are worth.

The richer your imagination, the more beautiful your life will be.

“The power of imagination is incredible. Often we see athletes achieving unbelievable results and wonder how they did it. One of the tools they use is visualization or mental imagery… they made the choice to create their destinies and visualized their achievements before they ultimately succeeded.” ~ George Kohlrieser

See in your mind’s eye the life you would love to live, the person you would love to become and the relationships you would want to have. Live your life from the end and act as if all of the things you need and desire are already present in your life. Feel the feelings that come from having all those wonderful things happen to you and allow those feelings to be with you at all times.

5. Work Hard, Dream Big.

Act upon your heart’s desire. Do the things you need to do in order to get where you want to get. Read the books you need to read, contact the people you need to contact, build the skills you need to build.

Find a mentor. Dare to ask questions. Do whatever it takes to move yourself closer to making your dreams come true.

Trust that with every step you take, your life situation will improve and you will become even more happier than you already are.

6. Take One Step At A Time

Because of the many years of past conditioning and the intense training you have in holding on to toxic thoughts, behaviors and unhealthy relationships, giving up on all that is toxic in your life won’t be easy and it won’t happen overnight. Chances are that you won’t see major improvements in your life immediately, and that’s okay. Be patient and gentle with yourself while working on rebuilding your life and remember to enjoy the journey.

“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” ~ Greg

Take one step at a time and keep in mind that a journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step.

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7. Develop A Deep Trust In Life

You have to have faith. You have to have trust… Trust in yourself, trust in the people you interact with and trust in life.

Put your fears aside. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Develop a deep trust in the wisdom of life. “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” ~ Matthew 17:20

8. Give Yourself Permission To “Fail”

Give yourself permission to “fail” and make “mistakes”.

Trust me when I tell you that in every “mistake” there is a lesson to learn, lesson that will be very beneficial to you as you continue walking on your life’s chosen path.

“There are no mistakes. The events we bring upon ourselves, no matter how unpleasant, are necessary in order to learn what we need to learn; whatever steps we take, they’re necessary to reach the places we’ve chosen to go.” ~ Richard Bach

9. Be Good To Yourself

Love yourself and be good to yourself because if you do, the world around you will start mirroring your behavior. Take good care of your mind, body, heart and soul. Exercise, drink plenty of water, eat healthy and delicious food.

Nurture good thoughts. Act in compassionate and loving ways, towards yourself and the world around you. Spend time alone, spending at least 5 to 10 minutes per day in silence would make you help make you feel refreshed, rejuvenated and renewed.

Go outside. Spend some time in nature. Look at the plants, the sky, the stars, the moon and the trees. Celebrate the miracle of life.

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” ~ Albert Einstein

10. Give Up Living Your Life To Other People’s Expectations

Way too many people are living a life that is not theirs to live. They live their lives according to what others think is best for them, they live their lives according to what their parents think is best for them, to what their friends, their enemies and their teachers, their government and the media think is best for them. They ignore their inner voice, that inner calling. They are so busy with pleasing everybody, with living up to other people’s expectations, that they lose control over their lives. They forget what makes them happy, what they want, what they need….and eventually they forget about themselves.

Never get your sense of worth from outside yourself. Your worth comes from inside yourself and not from forces outside yourself – people, events, material possessions. Don’t ever let other people tell you how much you’re worth, decide for yourself. It’s called self worth not others worth.

You have one life – this one right now – you must live it, own it, and especially don’t let other people’s opinions distract you from your path.

11. Discipline Your Mind To Stay Present In The Now

Learn to be present and engaged in the present moment. Be happy with what you have, what you know and who you are right now. Don’t allow your mind to trick you into thinking that you won’t be happy until you get where you want to get.

Appreciate what’s in front of you. If you learn how to be present and engaged in the NOW, you will live a very happy and content life and no matter how many challenges life will send your way, you will become a better not bitter person.

“As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease. When you act out the present-moment awareness, whatever you do becomes imbued with a sense of quality, care, and love – even the most simple action.” ~ Eckhart Tolle,

12. Surround Yourself With Loving And Supportive People

Surround yourself with positive, cheerful, supportive and loving people. People who can lift you up when you are feeling down; people who will turn on the light for you when you are in the dark; people who can see you for what you truly are and who you can truly become. Take the advice of Mark Twain and “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

You need positive and loving friends who will support you in your new way of life…

Commit yourself to making the best of everything life sends your way. Be soft and flexible. Go with the flow of life and no longer against it.

Enjoy the ride and no matter what happens to you and no matter how many challenges and difficult people life might send your way, know that they are all there to help you grow and evolve into the beautiful being you so much want and deserve to be.

You only have one life to live. Make it a memorable one.

Give up on all the toxicity present in your life but never on yourself and your dreams, ok?

“The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.” ~ Don Williams Jr.

Luminita D. Saviuc


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How To Thrive During Huge Life Changes

BY WYNDHAM WOOD         MARCH 22, 2015 

Change is hard, we’re told. But it’s also a constant, they say. Inevitable, they add. These are all words of advice we’ve heard countless times — beliefs we’ve learned to swallow whole and pass on with little forethought.

But when we listen more closely, we may discover a decidedly bleak outlook on life. If change is hard, as well as inevitable and constant, we’re essentially asserting that life is always, and inevitably, full of challenges. And sure, no one will deny that life isn’t characterized by some degree of challenge at most times.

But the bigger question here becomes this: are these beliefs about change helping us, or conditioning us to resist a part of life we can’t avoid?

While not all change is created equal — some seems like an obvious blessing, other may take time to become so — it seems to me that these conventional ways of talking about change gives it a bad rap from the get go. And after all, without change, there would be no new love, no seasons and no “best ever” experiences.

So how can we turn change, especially big change, into something that we initially look at as an enriching aspect of life?

It’s a question that’s been on my mind a lot recently, mostly because in the early days of 2015, my family and I moved from the West coast to the East coast. With so much changing so quickly, I’ve been taking a deep, long look at my own relationship with change.

Here are some simple reminders and practices that have helped me to thrive during this period of widespread change:

1. Like oil and water, change and control don’t mix.

Having been taught that change is “hard,” we resist it by creating elaborate roadmaps of the future, whether out loud or in the silent comfort of our own minds. Unfortunately, these mental roadmaps lead to suffering when our expectations don’t mirror our experience.

Whenever you catch yourself trying to predict the future, stop what you’re doing, take a deep breath and visualize or do something simple that gives you comfort, whether it’s your daily walk or cuddling up with your coziest blanket. Bring all of your senses into the experience and let yourself get carried away in the feelings of safety and enjoyment it brings.

Over time, this simple practice will help to train your brain to feel safe, instead of fearful, in times of uncertainty.

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2. Unknown ≠ Bad. (NEVER forget this).

By now, most of us are old pros at surviving. Since it’s a habit that’s most easily accomplished by maintaining the status quo, we tend to view the unknown as bad, if not downright threatening. The actual truth, however, is that the unknown has delivered every one of us immeasurable amounts of delight, love, light, laughter, joy, abundance and fulfillment over the years.

When you find yourself spiraling down the rabbit hole of future doom, stop and force yourself to focus on times when your negative expectations were disrupted in wonderful ways. Remember the interview that went better than expected, that call you got out of the blue from a dear old friend, the fact that you woke up to sunshine this morning. Each of those gifts came from the exact same unknown that you’re now facing.

3. Yes, you CAN freak out now.

We’re often told that the emotions we experience during times of change — emotions like fear, anxiety, frustration, sadness and anger — are “bad” or “negative.” The problem with these emotions, however, isn’t that they exist; it’s that we were never taught how to release them.

Since it’s only by experiencing the full force of your emotions that you’ll be able to let them go, at those moments when they’re swelling up inside you, it’s crucial that you let yourself feel them fully. Whether you do this through journaling, yoga, meditation, running, hiking, howling at the moon, or a mix of these and more — figure out what works for you and use it. Constantly.

Turning big change into big progress isn’t about doing any of these things perfectly, or all of the time. It is, however, about making a conscious point of moving forward — in ways big and small, seen and unseen — each and every day. When you do that, you eventually have the moment I had when I sat down to work this morning — in our new office, in our new town, finally without a box in sight. Ahh.


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Overcoming Resistance to Change: The Secret to Lasting Health

By Deane Alban      Contributing Writer for Wake Up World    October 2014

What do you want to do when you retire? The most common answers to this question are to spend time with friends and family, travel, volunteer, exercise (finally!), learn new things, live abroad, and write a book.  But you won’t be able to do these things later if you don’t take care of your body and your brain now.

If you’re like most people, you’ve tried to change, but you find it really, really hard (as in “impossible”). You’ve made the resolutions and set the goals. When you’ve failed, you’ve tried even harder, but making change stick has still eluded you.

Let’s take a look at why the usual ways of making lifestyle changes often fail. Then I’ll give you some super-easy but counter-intuitive tips to create new, healthy habits.

Change the Usual Way Is Hard

Most people rely exclusively on motivation and willpower to make a change. There are some surprising reasons this doesn’t work.

Motivation

When you decide to start a new diet, exercise program, or any self-improvement venture, you are usually psyched! You just know this time you’re going to stick with it. You’re excited about the new gym you joined or a new diet book you’ve read, and your motivation is high.

Initially you are motivated by the pleasure of what you want (getting into your skinny jeans, wearing a bathing suit this summer) and the pain of what you don’t want (hating the way you look, having a heart attack). But motivation naturally diminishes with time.

Willpower

When motivation starts to wane, you switch to relying on willpower. But no one has an endless supply of willpower — it is a resource that gets used up. When your day is filled with things you really don’t want to do, by the end of the day you no longer have any willpower reserve left.

So you spend the evening plopped down in front of the TV munching on unhealthy snacks, vowing to do better tomorrow. It’s not your fault — you simply have no willpower left to make the healthier, harder choices.

If motivation and willpower let you down, don’t despair! There is another answer that relies on using the power of your subconscious brain.

Make Change Easy by Working With Your Brain

According to neuroscientist Dr. Bruce Lipton, author of The Biology of Belief, 95% of your life is dictated by the subconscious mind. This is the part of your brain that runs a large portion of your life on autopilot enabling you to do many tasks without thinking about them, everything from tying your shoes to driving a car.

When you do something often enough, it becomes a habit.  Habits are activities you do effortlessly with minimal thought on your part. You can appreciate the power of a habit when you try to stop a bad one. It’s tough!

Next, I’ll tell you how to harness the power of your brain to stop struggling with a healthy lifestyle change by turning it into a habit!

I’m going to use an example of starting a walking program, but these concepts can be used for creating any new healthy habit.

Take Baby Steps

Setting big goals is exciting! Telling your friends (and yourself) that you are going to start walking 5 miles a day sounds impressive, but you are probably setting yourself up for failure.

But starting with small boring goals, “baby steps”, will greatly increase your chance for success. There will be many days you won’t walk at all if 5 miles is your goal. But if you make walking around the block your goal, you can certainly accomplish that!

You will feel good that you’ve honored your commitment to yourself. But even more important, you’ve created a new neural pathway that turns your daily walk into a habit.

Using small goals tricks your brain. Your subconscious likes to be in control and doesn’t like change. A huge change often sets up subconscious resistance, but a small change will be accepted. You can learn more about using this “small is better” concept at TinyHabits.com.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
– Lao-tzu

change



Use Triggers

Ask anyone who smokes and they can tell you about triggers. Most smokers have triggers to smoke after a meal, with a cup of coffee, or after sex. You can use triggers to your advantage. When you regularly take a walk after another event (such as eating dinner), your brain will create an association so you’ll automatically be inclined to take a walk after dinner.

You can help yourself with visual triggers, too. Leave your walking shoes by the front door, keep your pedometer by your keys, or lay your walking attire on your bed to create triggers you can’t miss.

Be Prepared

If you are going to start a new habit, you need to be prepared. A successful walking habit means more than putting one foot in front of the other.

Initially, you have a few decisions to make. Where are you going to walk? What time do you want to leave? Are you going to walk alone or solo? Will you bring your dog? Should you bring water?

Next, get the right equipment to ensure your success. Get a good pair of comfortable walking shoes and socks to match. Get a water bottle that’s comfortable to carry.

People who use a pedometer walk 27% more than those who don’t, so consider getting one to encourage your success.  The Fitbit One is an incredible, tiny device that track your steps, distance, calories burned, and even your sleep cycle. Pretty amazing!

Make It Convenient

Put everything you need to take a walk in one convenient place so you can grab it and go. If your shoes are in the linen closet, your socks are in the bedroom, your house key in your desk drawer, and your left your water bottle in the car, you’ll give up before you get out the door! icon cry Overcoming Resistance to Change: The Secret to Lasting Health

Make It Fun

Make your walk something you look forward to. If you like companionship, find a walking partner. If you enjoy music, podcasts, or audiobooks, listen while you walk. You’ll find the time spent walking flies by!

The Big Red X

When Jerry Seinfeld was an upcoming comedian, he created the habit of writing new material every day using a wall calendar and a red marker. You can do the same.

Put up a wall calendar (there are free ones you can print online) in a highly-visible place, like on the fridge. Every day you take your walk, cross out that day with a BIG RED X. You won’t want to see any blank days which will, as Jerry says, “break the chain”. I’d listen to Jerry. He’s been pretty successful. icon wink Overcoming Resistance to Change: The Secret to Lasting Health

It’s widely accepted that it takes 30 days to create a new habit, so after one month, your new habit will largely be formed. Then you can ramp it up to the next level. Eventually you can turn your walk around the block into a five-mile-a-day habit, if that’s your ultimate goal.

Small Habits Create Gateways

These techniques can be used for any lifestyle change you want to make – diet, exercise, meditation, stress reduction techniques, and more.

Not sure where to begin? Here are some examples of healthy “baby steps” you could take:

  • Replace one soda with a glass of water.
  • Replace one cup of coffee with a cup of green tea.
  • Eat a small baggie of raw vegetables as one of your snacks.
  • Have a piece of fruit instead of dessert after dinner.
  • Do 5 minutes of yoga stretches in the morning and in the evening.
  • Listen to a 10 minute meditation.
  • Pick one healthy change (or create your own) and commit to doing it daily for 30 days to create a new healthy habit.

Small changes aren’t very exciting, but many people have found using this technique really works to bring lasting change. Your new habit can serve as a gateway to bigger changes that can significantly improve your life.

Article References
 http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/planning-to-retire/2013/03/01/10-things-to-do-in-retirement
 http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703478704574612052322122442
 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2094159

Article Source
Surprisingly…Unstuck: Rewire Your Brain to Exercise More, Eat Right, and Truly Enjoy Doing So by Maria Brilaki


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The Best Day to Start a New Healthy Habit

October 30, 2014          By Catherine DiBenedetto

When the clock “falls back” this weekend, we’ll get an extra, precious hour on Sunday—and that morning is the perfect time to begin a feel-good habit, says happiness guru Gretchen Rubin.

“For most people, mornings are great for habits,” Rubin explains. And she would know. The bestselling author of The Happiness Project and Happier at Home is finishing up a new book all about habit formation. (Better Than Before comes out next March.)

“Our self-control tends to be strongest in the early hours,” she says. “As the day goes on, it gets depleted by all the temptations and choices we face.” Plus, the morning tends to unfold in a predictable way. “Later on, complications arise and you may end up pushing off the activity.”

But resetting your alarm clock—and your body’s natural rhythm—to start a new habit, whether it’s meditating or jogging, can be painful. (For me, it has become a daily habit of hitting snooze, with the hope that any day now, I really will hit the gym before work!) That’s why Rubin suggests seizing the end of Daylight Savings Time, when getting up early doesn’t actually feel like getting up early.

If you’ve been thinking about joining a yoga studio, instituting a regular walk with a friend, blocking out time to read for pleasure, or picking up any other healthy habit, try starting this Sunday. Just make sure it’s an activity you enjoy, says Rubin. “If it’s something you want to do, you’ll be more motivated to get out of bed every day going forward.”

One caveat for night owls: This trick probably isn’t for you. “There are some people who prefer to stay up late, but struggle in the morning,” Rubin says. “For them, a morning habit won’t make sense.” Heed your true nature, she says, and schedule your healthy habits at times that work best for you.


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Overcoming Resistance to Change: The Secret to Lasting Health

27th August 2014      By Deane Alban  Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

What do you want to do when you retire? The most common answers to this question are to spend time with friends and family, travel, volunteer, exercise (finally!), learn new things, live abroad, and write a book. [1] But you won’t be able to do these things later if you don’t take care of your body and your brain now.

If you’re like most people, you’ve tried to change, but you find it really, really hard (as in “impossible”). You’ve made the resolutions and set the goals. When you’ve failed, you’ve tried even harder, but making change stick has still eluded you.

Let’s take a look at why the usual ways of making lifestyle changes often fail. Then I’ll give you some super-easy but counter-intuitive tips to create new, healthy habits.

Change the Usual Way Is Hard

Most people rely exclusively on motivation and willpower to make a change. There are some surprising reasons this doesn’t work.

Motivation

When you decide to start a new diet, exercise program, or any self-improvement venture, you are usually psyched! You just know this time you’re going to stick with it. You’re excited about the new gym you joined or a new diet book you’ve read, and your motivation is high.

Initially you are motivated by the pleasure of what you want (getting into your skinny jeans, wearing a bathing suit this summer) and the pain of what you don’t want (hating the way you look, having a heart attack). But motivation naturally diminishes with time.

Willpower

When motivation starts to wane, you switch to relying on willpower. But no one has an endless supply of willpower — it is a resource that gets used up. When your day is filled with things you really don’t want to do, by the end of the day you no longer have any willpower reserve left.

So you spend the evening plopped down in front of the TV munching on unhealthy snacks, vowing to do better tomorrow. It’s not your fault — you simply have no willpower left to make the healthier, harder choices. [2]

If motivation and willpower let you down, don’t despair! There is another answer that relies on using the power of your subconscious brain.

Make Change Easy by Working With Your Brain

According to neuroscientist Dr. Bruce Lipton, author of The Biology of Belief, 95% of your life is dictated by the subconscious mind. This is the part of your brain that runs a large portion of your life on autopilot enabling you to do many tasks without thinking about them, everything from tying your shoes to driving a car.

When you do something often enough, it becomes a habit.  Habits are activities you do effortlessly with minimal thought on your part. You can appreciate the power of a habit when you try to stop a bad one. It’s tough!

Next, I’ll tell you how to harness the power of your brain to stop struggling with a healthy lifestyle change by turning it into a habit!

I’m going to use an example of starting a walking program, but these concepts can be used for creating any new healthy habit.

Take Baby Steps

Setting big goals is exciting! Telling your friends (and yourself) that you are going to start walking 5 miles a day sounds impressive, but you are probably setting yourself up for failure.

But starting with small boring goals, “baby steps”, will greatly increase your chance for success. There will be many days you won’t walk at all if 5 miles is your goal. But if you make walking around the block your goal, you can certainly accomplish that!

You will feel good that you’ve honored your commitment to yourself. But even more important, you’ve created a new neural pathway that turns your daily walk into a habit.

Using small goals tricks your brain. Your subconscious likes to be in control and doesn’t like change. A huge change often sets up subconscious resistance, but a small change will be accepted. You can learn more about using this “small is better” concept at TinyHabits.com.

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A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
– Lao-tzu

Use Triggers

Ask anyone who smokes and they can tell you about triggers. Most smokers have triggers to smoke after a meal, with a cup of coffee, or after sex. You can use triggers to your advantage. When you regularly take a walk after another event (such as eating dinner), your brain will create an association so you’ll automatically be inclined to take a walk after dinner.

You can help yourself with visual triggers, too. Leave your walking shoes by the front door, keep your pedometer by your keys, or lay your walking attire on your bed to create triggers you can’t miss.

Be Prepared

If you are going to start a new habit, you need to be prepared. A successful walking habit means more than putting one foot in front of the other.

Initially, you have a few decisions to make. Where are you going to walk? What time do you want to leave? Are you going to walk alone or solo? Will you bring your dog? Should you bring water?

Next, get the right equipment to ensure your success. Get a good pair of comfortable walking shoes and socks to match. Get a water bottle that’s comfortable to carry.

People who use a pedometer walk 27% more than those who don’t, so consider getting one to encourage your success. [3] The Fitbit One is an incredible, tiny device that track your steps, distance, calories burned, and even your sleep cycle. Pretty amazing!

Make It Convenient

Put everything you need to take a walk in one convenient place so you can grab it and go. If your shoes are in the linen closet, your socks are in the bedroom, your house key in your desk drawer, and your left your water bottle in the car, you’ll give up before you get out the door! 😥

Make It Fun

Make your walk something you look forward to. If you like companionship, find a walking partner. If you enjoy music, podcasts, or audiobooks, listen while you walk. You’ll find the time spent walking flies by!

The Big Red X

When Jerry Seinfeld was an upcoming comedian, he created the habit of writing new material every day using a wall calendar and a red marker. You can do the same.

Put up a wall calendar (there are free ones you can print online) in a highly-visible place, like on the fridge. Every day you take your walk, cross out that day with a BIG RED X. You won’t want to see any blank days which will, as Jerry says, “break the chain”. I’d listen to Jerry. He’s been pretty successful. 😉

It’s widely accepted that it takes 30 days to create a new habit, so after one month, your new habit will largely be formed. Then you can ramp it up to the next level. Eventually you can turn your walk around the block into a five-mile-a-day habit, if that’s your ultimate goal.

Small Habits Create Gateways

These techniques can be used for any lifestyle change you want to make – diet, exercise, meditation, stress reduction techniques, and more.

Not sure where to begin? Here are some examples of healthy “baby steps” you could take:

  • Replace one soda with a glass of water.
  • Replace one cup of coffee with a cup of green tea.
  • Eat a small baggie of raw vegetables as one of your snacks.
  • Have a piece of fruit instead of dessert after dinner.
  • Do 5 minutes of yoga stretches in the morning and in the evening.
  • Listen to a 10 minute meditation.

Pick one healthy change (or create your own) and commit to doing it daily for 30 days to create a new healthy habit.

Small changes aren’t very exciting, but many people have found using this technique really works to bring lasting change. Your new habit can serve as a gateway to bigger changes that can significantly improve your life.

Article References
[1] http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/planning-to-retire/2013/03/01/10-things-to-do-in-retirement
[2] http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703478704574612052322122442
[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2094159

Article Source
Surprisingly…Unstuck: Rewire Your Brain to Exercise More, Eat Right, and Truly Enjoy Doing So by Maria Brilaki