Guest contributor Beth Kolar (www.center-fit.com)
I am going to tell you, right now, what pulls you down.
Habits. Your habits are what keep you from having the lifestyle you want. (Sidenote: Of course we are talking ‘achievable goals’. If you aren’t a pilot, you are not going to pilot a 737 flight to Paris next week, no matter how on point your habits are. So be realistic, do the little steps to get to the big ones. Now that that is out of the way, let’s talk.)
There are several inroads to changing your habits, some more helpful than others. You do need to ‘do you’ first and foremost. Here’s what I have found works for me.
PREPARE: Identify 1 - 3 areas you want to improve. It’s hard enough keeping ONE new habit… try not to overload your neural pathways by asking them all to rewrite themselves!
MINDSET: Don’t think “Change”. Think “Start fresh”. “Changing” can make you think of deprivation. Don’t worry so much about what’s NOT working, but focus on what CAN work. Do that.
TRACKING: Write stuff down. Keep track. There are many apps to find that help you track habits. But if you don’t live in the digital world, learning a new system to track is going to be frustrating. Get a notebook, or a piece of paper, and put it somewhere visible or portable, depending on your life. WRITE EACH DAY ON THE PAPER ahead of time, then fill it in with your results.
DURATION: 30 days or more. A month is an easy time increment. 21 days is fine.. But there’s all that math! ;) Pick a habit, choose a month and GO!
START: and restart, and restart. We didn’t get the way we are by doing not working out ONE day..or by not eating healthy ONE day… you get it. This is a practice. Practice it.
SUPPORT: Join a group, tell a friend, but going it alone can make things harder. Ultimately, you have to be true to you, though. Also noteworthy, accountability partners are not to make sure you DO the thing. They are just someone who will not make excuses for you when you don’t do the thing you said you would. It’s on you, this lifestyle stuff. All you.
HICK-UPS: No. Not literal hick-ups. I’m actually talking about FAILURE. But it’s such a negative word to lead with! Anyway, it happens. DO NOT WALLOW. Just write a new page, start today.
LIFEHACKS: My BEST tool for tracking is a calendar hanging in the kitchen. I Draw a \ line for each day, but I add a / (making an X) for each day I do my new habit. This way, I see 5 days of success X’s so my ONE day of missing it doesn’t knock me down quite so hard.
Wondering what my most useful ‘habit change’ has been this past year? Relax Melodies.
I got the Relax Melodies app on my phone in order to be able to play my own little mix of sounds for massage clients during my practice sessions (July 2019 is the graduation target), but upon further exploration, I decided to also use it for setting good sleep habits.
Here’s what I did:
I found 3 sounds I liked and tapped on each one. (try it here: https://relaxmelodies.com/webapp/sounds)
Then I chose the “dreamless sleep” vibration as a foundation. I saw this study and thought I would try it (The effect of low-frequency sound stimulation on patients with fibromyalgia http://bit.ly/2R1bdDM). I LOVE it!
I saved this as a favorite and use the same one each night.
Here’s what I found:
I am irritated by repeating yet random sounds (birds chirping, frogs croaking, chimes…) I don’t use those since they create anxiety for me!
I have to play with the individual volumes of each component. I don’t like the sleep frequency to be overbearing, I like the rainfall to be the loudest, supported by a mid-tone wind instrument. I don’t know why. It’s just what’s most relaxing to me. (The app makes all this SUPER easy!)
I set the in-app timer to turn off the music after 2 hours. I find falling asleep and BACK to sleep most difficult, so I wanted to make sure those situations were covered. 2 hours does it for me. Find your own best practices.
I now have a reliable sleep habit. It’s especially helpful when I can’t go to bed at the SAME time every night because: life.
Happy Habitting, Beth
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