How to Maintain Your Good Habits Throughout the Year

Chinese New Year 2013

I recently had an article published on Daniel Gold’s website DEGConsulting about the benefits of rising early. Not long after I wrote the article I felt a bit like a fraud. I stopped practicing what I preach!

Sabotage

Human beings have a tendency to self sabotage, We know what we should be doing but we don’t always do it. Eating healthy, exercise, meditation, you name it we know its good for us but we battle at times with the negative voice that tricks us into thinking that we don’t need to maintain our good habits. That skipping the gym or eating that delicious brownie won’t really effect the big picture.

But it does

It does, not because of the minor damage that missing one session makes or the addition of a couple of hundred unnecessary calories. But what it does is, it creates a platform for failure, a platform we usually jump onto quite easily as our old habits die hard.

The Confession

The month of January has never been my favourite month, after the overindulgence of the festive season and the lack of exercise the toxins usually take over my brain and make me feel glum. To add to it this year I got sick, very sick. It was just a virus but one that made me feel that someone had stuck a burning hot poker into my trachea and then took a knife and cut into the burning red tube. Yeah ok I know you may think I exaggerate but it was bad. Add on the lack of exercise the extra 3 kilos of chocolate etc I wasn’t in my best form and I certainly wasn’t getting up early

Recent Morning Scenario -Husband rises 6am

Husband: Are you getting up ?

Me: HUh?

Husband: Are you getting up this morning you know how much better you feel when you get up early ?

Me: Fakes slumber to avoid assimilating the Good advice

Husband: Will I make you a cup of tea

Me: ZZZzzzzzz

This scenario wasn’t a solitary event, the worst of it each night I would say, help me get up tomorrow will you? and the next day we would repeat the same conversation, Until……..

I Broke the Cycle

The first thing I did was not to feel guilt; I no longer waste valuable time criticising myself and telling myself what a lazy git I am, no, I’m done with the self loathing. That’s just a waste of time and energy.

I did the opposite, I connected with “The Why”. I read my own article !!
I reminded myself of all the benefits of rising early and I reminded myself why I created the habit in the first place.

I reminded myself how it makes me calmer, more creative and happier, and in making me happier it directly has an impact on the four men in my life. The ridiculous thing is, the impact is so enormous I can’t believe I ever allow myself to forget.

Then I asked myself a few practical questions

  • Was I going to bed too late? Yes
  • Was I getting enough exercise? No
  • Was I drinking wine too late at night? Yes
  • Was I setting the alarm clock early enough? No
  • Was I making excuses about needing time to recover from illness? Yes
  • Was I allowing myself to make numerous other excuses on waking, Yes yes and yes again.

So there you have it, You may have many things to work on, but once you are aware of what needs to change or what needs to be done it is easier to make that change. Reminding myself how much I and those around me benefit from my good habit was my motivation, the practicalities were the fact that in order to make it happen I had to go to bed earlier and start back to my normal exercise routine which rising early facilitates.

Your Turn

If you want to get started, regardless of the habit start little by little, if you currently get up at 9a.m. start by rising an hour earlier, let your body adjust little by little. What you will need is more sleep so you will have to go to bed earlier to make sure you are getting enough sleep.

To Create any New Habit the following tips will help

1. Start small
Whatever habit you want to create start small, if you want to create the habit of writing, start with committing to 10 minutes a day. Ten minutes doesn’t seem like a daunting task and you will find once you get started it becomes easier and you create the momentum that will drive you forward.

2. Try one at a time
One of the reasons New Year’s Resolutions Fail is that people try to change too much all at once. They give up smoking, start running and commit to eating healthy only to fail a couple of weeks in. By starting one new habit at a time you can focus positively on creating that new habit. Do it for at least 30 days and you will have created new pathways in the brain that will make the habit more seem more natural.

3. Do it at the same time every day
By doing it at the same time everyday and creating a routine it makes it easier to remember to do the habit and more difficult to avoid it. Routine creates structure that your brain will be more comfortable with.

4. Believe you can
Before you start you must believe you can achieve it, otherwise you are setting yourself up for failure. The amount of people who set goals to lose weight but don’t really believe they can do it because they have failed so many times before. Well guess what? they will fail this time too, You must believe in your ability to create the new habit otherwise your efforts will be in vain.

5. Monitor your thoughts while doing it
Positive thoughts are essential for your success. If you are taking up running, monitor your thoughts and ensure that they are positive and supportive. “You are doing great, just another five minutes and you will feel great” rather than “oh this is so boring, my legs are hurting, why do I do this to myself!”

6. Establish a trigger
If you want to rise early to meditate create a routine that your body gets used to. In a Deepak Chopra Meditation Challenge it was Suggested to RPM, “Rise, Pee, Meditate”. The Pee becomes your trigger every morning after peeing I meditate!

7. Commit to 31 days
Commit to 31 days, mark off each day on a calendar for encouragement and when you have accomplished 31 days you will feel great and ready to take on another challenge.

If you have any other ideas which help you with the habit of rising early I would love to hear them.

Photo Credit: Chinese dragon by epSos.de

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Comments (3)

Great article, Ciara, and good to see you this morning!

Sara Jane Doolan

Really enjoyed reading this Ciara,
very helpful.

Thanks Megan, thanks Sara Jane hope it helps somewhat with creating your own positive habits

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