As a health coach, I’m lucky enough to work with some pretty amazing people. They’re all unique– moms & dads, teachers and artists, extroverts and introverts. The common thread, however, is that they envision a life that could be more fulfilling, and they go for it. Head and heart, all in. They are brave and honest in the way they show up for themselves and their happiness. Deep inside, they believe in their potential to change, and of course, I believe in them as well.
When someone realizes I’m a coach, the conversation usually meanders to the same question. ‘So how exactly do you break a bad habit?’ Can you really teach an old dog new tricks? Let me assure you that yes, you absolutely can. For my first YH blog post, what better place to begin than change itself. Here are a few thoughts on how to shift a habit and make the new behavior feel second nature.
So very small. As in, is-this-even-worth-it small. When we want something in life, we tend to push really hard at a super quick pace. When change comes at us fast and furious, it’s tough to adjust the rest of our life to accommodate the new way of living, and chances are, overwhelm will set in quickly. Think tortoise, not hare. If your first few attempts fall short, it’s not because it’s not meant to be. Scale back, start over. Make the change easier.
KNOW THE WHY BEHIND YOUR WHAT
Be clear with yourself and others about why this change in behavior matters. What’s the motivation to make the change and what do you have to lose if you don’t change? More importantly, what do you have to gain if you do change? Return to your ‘why’ when times feel tough.
CELEBRATE OFTEN WITH THOSE AROUND YOU
Don’t wait until the habit is kicked to honor yourself for doing the work. Track your progress and celebrate along the way with people who support and care about your well-being. Change can be hard. A lot of times it’s scary. Surrounding yourself with people who give you a boost when you’re tempted to bail on your good intentions, will make all the difference.
You’ll know you kicked a habit when you don’t have to remind yourself to behave differently. It happens naturally and it feels so good that you couldn’t imagine living any other way.
Megan Sanchez is the owner of UpSwing Health Coaching. She works one-on-one with busy professionals who want to revamp their lifestyle and prioritize self-care. Megan helps people develop habits that are built on super small, everyday commitments to nutrition, movement, and personal nourishment that feel good because your body tells you so, not because you’re following the latest trend. She loves both outdoor and urban adventures. She’s called DC home for 7 years.