And the year is already moving faster than usual. Goals for the year are already prioritized and some had been forgotten thanks to the excuses generally provided by time. Bad habits instead of goals accomplished knock on the door one more time. The routine makes its entry as submissive as air and at the same time powerful like a sports car.
When focusing on setting goals most people also unconsciously propose the excuses and basically every time the goal comes along with at least two or three excuses. This is a self-defense mechanism from the mind when trying to close the comfort cycle or when trying to create change.
Automatically, goals come together with their respective excuses, like road partners: I want to lose 20 pounds, but the gym is far away, I have too much work, I am tired.
Other very common goals (and excuses) the people I have served as a coach is to change jobs. Usually excuses sisters to this goal are: I don’t know if they will match my salary; what if the new position is further from home? Here you know better. And my favorite one: Better the devil you know!
Luckily, there is heal for every ailment. Today we will hack the mind by focusing the attention and energy into habits rather than focusing on goals.
The truth is that the best way to reach our goals is through creating new habits and erasing some old ones that do us harm, that is, focus on creating habits instead of goals.
Erase and add
A great spiritual teacher once said that habits are like energy that cannot disappear but it can be transmuted or transformed in a different type of energy. The idea here is to observe yourself for a whole day, identifying and taking note of the actions we do and habits we have during the day.
I will use the example of JC a person I am coaching and who set the goal to have more energy. I proposed the same strategy of focusing on habits rather than goals and it did make sense. When observing himself during a full day he noticed that he was spending a lot of time seated during the day (around 11 hours) and that he ate and drank foods and drinks with a high content of sugar (which provided the perception of a sudden boost in energy followed by a drop in his spirits and sleepiness). We worked in erasing 3 negative habits and adding 3 positive habits to replace them. The first habit we worked on was to gradually change to work standing at the office using one of those modern devices that allow to raise the computer as to work standing. He started one hour a day. Now he is doing it for 4 hours a day.
The second habit he changed was drinking water instead of cola drinks. This took longer as the rooted habits are more difficult they are to replace. He started with one-on-one relation, that is, one soft drink first and a glass of water afterward. Today he quit drinking soft drinks completely and replaced it with water and few drops of lemon juice.
The 3rd habit we are currently working on is replacing bagels with cream cheese and muffins with celery with cream cheese and an apple. Up to now we have seen major progress with muffins and apples; the next step will be to add celery with cheese. Which he does not like very much although he feels great with the changes he has achieved so he might implement that new habits.
With the change in these habits JC feels he is a new person, with much more energy, with a Friday mindset and good spirits (and this is just the beginning). JC focused on changing his habits and as a consequence he is achieving his goal of having more energy.
Just 27 days
27 days is the approximate period of time to gain or change a habit. It seemed like a very long time but it truly depends on the point of view of the observer. For example, 27 vacation days or 27 summer days would not be that long, right?
Do remember to begin with those habits that are easier to change. This will increase your self-confidence and motivation to change more difficult or deeply rooted habits.
Bad habits from this day in time
Excess of technological distractions; including an excess in using social media, TV or the Internet. New habit: Reading, walk in the outdoors, and exercise. Human contact rather than virtual.
Bad eating habits: Including eating food with high content of sugar, processed food, and canned food. Also not eating at the right time or very late. New Habit: Vegetables and food with high fiber content. Create a schedule for eating and gain the habit of a super fasting when possible.
Sedentary life. What is the point in wanting to have more energy if we are not using it? New habit: Taking short daily walks, every two hours. Use the bike during week days (greetings to Mr. Money Mustache). Do sports.
IT is never late to change or begin with a new habit!