The Crucial Missing Ingredient for Creating Positive Habits


Last week I wrote about creating the positive habit of exercise. I mentioned the importance of starting small.

Small daily improvements lead to stunning results” Robin Sharma

I spoke about changing one habit at a time and about making time for the new habit in order to integrate it into your life. But it dawned on me this morning that I had forgotten to mention perhaps one of the most crucial factors involved in creating a new positive habit. Attitude; your thoughts and your self belief can determine your degree of success.

Becoming an Early Bird

A couple of years ago I mastered the habit of rising early, to say it wasn’t easy is an understatement. Prior to my decision to join the ranks of the high achievers and use this early morning time to do all the things that I couldn’t fit in at any other time of the day, I was definitely allergic to mornings. Early mornings brought out the worst in me, that is why for most of my life I avoided them diligently.

When I decided that things in my life weren’t going the way I wanted them to, I knew radical change was required. So I joined the early morning club and managed to get up at 5:30 every weekday morning to practice yoga and meditation before my children woke. It made me feel good, in control of my life and happier.

Until one day my old habits returned, and I started to speak to myself in the old way. “Why are you getting up now, you don’t need to get up for another hour?” “You are pushing your body, it could probably do with a rest this morning” “I was up late last night so I should probably sleep for another hour” “I’m tired, sick, lazy whatever the reason I used on the particular day I was allowing the constant chatter in my head to sabotage my positive habits. If we are to allow our thoughts and self talk to interfere with what we actually want for our lives, our attempts at creating new habits will constantly fail.

During Exercise

The thoughts in your head during exercise can also have an effect on our success . How many of you speak to yourself in a positive way while you work out? “This is fun, I love working out, life is good, I’m really proud of myself and what I have achieved with my fitness. Or is your self talk more like this:

“Oh my God why do I do this to myself, this is so difficult, I’m so tired, My back hurts, my lungs are going to collapse, why do I insist on torturing myself?

Don’t you think the first example would be more encouraging and supportive? wouldn’t you achieve more if you were more supportive of yourself?

Observe your Thoughts

The Good News is that it is possible to change your thoughts. Firstly you must become aware of them and intervene when they start to criticize or interfere with the plan. It’s also important to point out that even though I failed that time, I rose again (pardon the pun ) I resurrected the habit of getting up early. Once a habit is created, once you have done it repeatedly for more than a month and worked it into your routines and daily practices it’s relatively easy to get started again. I still struggle with the rising early routine, I go through phases of staying up late and others of rising early. But every now and again I kick start the habit of rising early and after a couple of days I’m hooked again.

So the lesson for today is to observe your thoughts and your internal chatter. Are you words encouraging and supportive or are they negative and self sabotaging?

If you want to create new habits this year, observe your thoughts and once you get them on side you will be half way to the stars.

Photo Credit: Positivity by EmilyJosephine7

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Comments (2)

Hi Ciara

I will think about this one when I am dragging myself out earlier than I want to in the morning and heading for the exercise bike!
NLP and pitching specialist Paul Boross talks about this one in terms of the cybernetic loop- we become what we think we will become.
It is very powerful!

Thanks Orlaith, I haven’t heard of Paul Boross I will check him out.

Good Luck with the cycling tomorrow when you bounce happily out of bed 🙂

As Robin Sharma says “Mind over Mattress”

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