Do your toes curl whenever people say you need to create good habits? Do you already feel failure lurking around the corner when you want to change your lifestyle into a healthy lifestyle? Let’s have a look at habits and when you need them and when not.

First of all: YOU decide!

If you feel your life is good and you have no potentially life-threatening disease, and you’re not harming anyone, then be happy and let others have whatever lifestyle they want. It’s not up to others to decide for you what is a good habit, a healthy lifestyle for you. That’s why it never lasts anyway. If you only make changes to please others, but it is not something you feel from your heart, it will never last.

When on the other hand, YOU feel you would like your life to change, then you can start looking at what exactly it is you want, and what you do not want anymore. Not only is it important you make it very concrete, it is also of major importance you know WHY you want this change. Because your ‘why’ will determine whether you will stay motivated until your new lifestyle has become your new habit. Only when it has become a habit will it stand a chance of being a lasting change in your life.

Ask yourself why you want it?

What made you come up with the idea you needed a change? What was your wake-up call? Was it just a minor feeling of discontentment? Was it a major medical diagnosis that put your life to an emergency stop? Was it a break up? Was it being laid off at work? No matter what your wake-up call was, listen to it. Write down what it is that you now realize, you do not want anymore. This list is important to make your list of what you DO want in life.

Once your list is ready, you can start taking action. Taking action is key as you do not want to be stuck in the knowing-doing gap. Make sure you think it through, make it as detailed as possible so that you have the best chance in succeeding.

Knowing your reasons why you want this change, will keep you going.

Making a plan, breaking it down in doable steps, will keep you moving forward.

Celebrating every achievement you’ve made, no matter how small or big, will keep you going. Another thing I find very helpful is:

having an accountability partner, preferably someone who is also going through changes as they then know what you’re up against. They’re supposed to be supporting and helping you, not making you feeling guilty whenever you may slip up.

Create your action plan:

Keep a journal:

Write down on the first page WHY you are doing this.

Write down all the steps you are going to take to reach your goal.

Write down the victories.

Create your daily rituals:

Set triggers in the beginning so that you do not forget them.

Keep doing your daily steps, no matter how small. By repeating them day after day, it becomes a habit and before you know it, you do them automatically.

Once you act automatically, you have created a new lifestyle for yourself.

Be proud of your achievements.

Be kind to yourself the days you had a setback.

No matter what happened yesterday, today you can be your best you again.

I wish you all the courage, the clarity and the strength to listen to your wake-up call, to define what it is YOU want to be different in your life and very importantly WHY you want this. Then all you have to do is map out your steps and start doing your daily tiny steps toward your goal. Go slow and steady because creating lasting habits is not something you can enforce by sheer will power, no, new habits are born from long lasting repetition of the new behavior you want to install.

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