How to Make Habits Nurturing & Sustaining



I know you're probably aware that every year in January there is a mad scramble to get on every health kick, to start another exercise program, to promise to do something better in whatever ever way.

( this you?)

And did you also know that by Jan 31st, 95% percent of those who think they’ll put skin in the game this time have quit their efforts. It'll be back to regularly scheduled programming. My questions to you is....

what if instead you chose to nourish yourself through your habits? 

In her book, Better Than Before*, Gretchen Rubin talks about sustaining habits by first recognizing that it’s not about self control but more about decision making. 

She writes “a habit requires no decision from me, because I’ve already decided”.

Why do resolutions not work for the majority of people? Gretchen believes it's because they’ve not made the decision to change. It’s is not yet a fait accompli. I now believe this too. 

Guess what.....I don’t like habits.

Let me reframe that. Something done on repeat drives me nuts. I prefer free and flowing, not contained and restrained. 

Committing to any New Year's resolutions in January to me is the ultimate type of containment. They've never allowed me to step out when I needed to, they didn’t allow me to say no, I cannot do this, right now, today. They didn't allow me the opportunity to change. 

What I didn’t realize until recently was that committing to something consistently, over and over again is not about containment but rather about making a decision and taking the yea or neh out of it. 

A habit is generally defined as.... 

a behaviour that’s recurrent, is cued by a specific context, often happens without much awareness or conscious intent and is acquired through frequent repetition.

One of the habits I instituted in our house is the “One Touch” rule. What's that?

In order to maintain a more tidy house we aim to try to touch items just once. For instance, when someone removes their shoes, instead of leaving them cluttering up the front door, "One Touch" has us immediately putting it away (hubby built a shelf that's near the front door that helps a lot).

Instead of leaving the shoes where they were taken off or just putting them near the shelf (which means that we’re well on the way to at least 3 touches!) everyone now places their shoes on the shelf in the closet.

One touch means we’re not going have to go back to put them away. That job’s already been taken care. And, in addition, our home remains fairly tidy. 

One touch is a habit where the decision has already been made. There is no thought in that moment of choosing whether or not to put the shoes away. The choice was made BEFORE the shoes were taken off. 

[*For a good read on organizing you gotta read Marie Kondo’s book “The Life Changing Habit of Tidying Up”.* Good stuff!]

So you know all those New Year’s resolutions you so happily want to implement and then wonder why, come the end of the month you’re not doing it? That’s why. You haven’t committed to the decision yet. 

If there is something you want to change, make the decision. Then don’t think about it again as you proceed to do the thing. Just do it. 

Now I know this sounds really simplistic. But just think about all those other things you do regularly without thinking about it. 

No really. . .think about them for a minute. 

 ....cue Jeopardy music

~ your alarm goes off and you start your day ... the baby cries and you administer to them ... you drop off dry cleaning and make plans to pick it up ... you walk in the house and drop your keys in the key bowl or hang on a hook ... you regularly go for an after dinner stroll with your honey ... you journal every night before you go to sleep (if you really do this one high fives to you!) ~

You already consistently repeat many things without nary a thought for if you’ll do it. Why? Because you’ve already made the decision. The habit has been formed and WILL always be implemented. It’s just a matter of carrying it out every single time without having to expend any extra thinking energy towards it. 

This realisation was a game changer for me. 

At the beginning of every week on Sunday I make the time to list my desires for the upcoming week. All those tasks and to-do’s I needed to accomplish, written down bullet journal style. 

One of those things I knew wanted to accomplish each week was to go for a 20-45 minutes morning walk at least 3x a week, with timing depending on my schedule for that day. 

But every morning when I woke up, I chose whether or not I would go for my walk. And, invariably, guess what I chose to do? Not walk.

So now my thinking is, what if I take that in-the-moment decision away? What if I decide instead to do the thing—to do my morning walk—the only choice being what time I head out. 

I’m calling it game changing play. 

How can YOU institute your own game changing play? How can you create a habit around that new thing you really want to start doing? 

Make the decision now to create the habit around it and then all you have to do is step into the doing of it. 

I would love to hear from you on how this game changing play is faring for you. Drop me an email and let me know how you're choosing to let your habits nurture and sustain you.

And, if you need help figuring out your stick-to-ittiveness, let’s chat about how I can help. 

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Btw....I've created a new type of offering I'm calling the Clarity Spotlight Coaching Sessions. It's an easy way for you to do a "taste test" of Life Coaching with me before you make a bigger commitment. Learn more here.



Next post:  an old but new thing you might want to start doing. 


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