Change Your Story to Create a New Habit
The transformative power of using your inner voice to your advantage
Have you ever tried to adopt a new healthy habit but failed miserably? Most likely you were telling yourself a story that sabotaged your efforts.
Whenever we attempt to form a new habit, we tell ourselves a story about it. Think of a habit you have been trying to form or that you’ve failed at creating in the recent past — maybe exercising regularly, meditating, defeating procrastination, eating better, drinking less, etc. Now think about the story you told yourself when you began. What image did you see in your mind? Did you imagine yourself “crossing the finish line triumphantly” after overcoming all obstacles? Or did you tell yourself that this was going to be difficult and probably would not work?
We fail at creating new healthy habits because of the stories with which we saddle ourselves. They stand in our way, more than the actual bad habit we’re trying to replace. When things get tough or uncomfortable, we tell ourselves tales like: “It doesn’t matter, we don’t deserve it anyway, we’re not disciplined enough, we stink at this, we can’t do it, it’s too hard, life is too short to struggle, just one more won’t hurt in the total scheme of things”, blah, blah, blah, no new habit…
The truth is that what you think about and speak about come about (positively or negatively). Stories are powerful. They reflect your inner voice — in other words what you have come to believe. They can keep you stuck for a lifetime or they can inspire you forward to new heights. The trick when you have made a decision to embark on a new habit is to arm yourself with a positive and plausible story. Here is a process to follow:
• Begin by getting very clear in your mind why this new habit is important to you. How will it enhance your life? If you want to stop procrastinating for instance, how much more pleasant will your life be? Focus on the end result and be able to conjure that image in your mind.
• Find things to appreciate about the new habit and savor the successes along the way. Consider how you feel about yourself when you are using your new habit. “I am proud of doing this. I am learning a lot. I am appreciating the little things about this habit. This habit is improving my life in multiple ways.” All of these statements add vivid detail to your story.
• When your inner voice starts spewing out negative aspects of the new habit, acknowledge it and then pivot. Say something to yourself like, “ Well clearly I don’t want to feel that way. What do I want instead?” This is where you go back to your story and the positive feelings that you have accumulated about the new habit.
If your story is on balance more positive than negative, you’ll be more resilient and you will be able to handle the negative stuff with grace. That will make all the difference; not only will you want to stay with the habit longer, you’ll enjoy it more each time you do it.
April Goyer is life coach, health coach and personal trainer. She provides a complimentary consultation to help you gain a fresh perspective on everything you have at your disposal to lead a strong, healthy life. You can reach her on her cell at 614-893-8519 at email@example.com
-Submitted by April Goyer