I love the feeling of enthusiasm for a new venture or plan. Like the anticipation of starting a new ‘eat clean’ diet, or when you feel all motivated to join a gym, or buy a new exercises DVD. It’s a great feeling and one that we hope will last…
A week or two later you may not be seeing the results you wanted, only feeling the aches and pains from suddenly doing loads more exercise and eating clean has felt more like daylight robbery of all your favourite things. To top it all off, the joys of a busy life, tiredness and unexpected things occur to throw you off track with your goals.
So how do you make it past that first week, or even the first few months of trying to make major positive changes, without going back to old habits when life throws in a bunch of hurdles?
If you have read the Size HH book, you will know we were lucky enough to have Mindset Trainer and Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist Caroline Ferguson explain exactly how and why habits are made, and why food in particular holds a strong grip on your habits. This is a big part of the book so I knew we needed someone exceptional to help with it.
Caroline was introduced to me by the fabulous Sarah Arrow, (Chief Bird from Birds on The Blog), and as this particular subject is close to Caroline’s heart, thankfully she agreed to be involved. I sent over the section of the book for Caroline to see where she could potentially add her contributions and excitedly awaited her response. I was blown away by her email a few weeks later with her attached contributions…
Not only did Caroline give us the lowdown on how to weaken old bad habits in the brain and create strong new ones in their place, she also explained why certain types of motivation last and why others don’t. Motivation is a big factor in habit change and if you don’t want to leave your success to unreliable willpower, this is a must read!
Each one of us is so beautifully different so what may have worked for your neighbor or friend, may not work for you. What is beneficial for all of us though, is feeling good about whatever you are doing.
As Caroline also explains in the book, habits are created much faster if something is done whilst feeling good than if we we’re hating every minute of it. Makes sense right!?That’s why it’s so important to find what works for you when it comes to a balanced diet and exercise. Everyone’s balance is different!
Caroline also mentioned to me that you can change the way you feel about something simply by choosing to think about it in a different way. We don’t have to hold onto all those old stories we lug around. Most of them aren’t true anyway! If we hang onto the belief, “I can never stick to healthy eating”, we’re just reinforcing an opinion. It’s not a fact! What if we choose instead to say, “I used to be someone who didn’t think I could stick to healthy eating, now I’m becoming someone who not only believes it’s possible, but I am actually excited about making healthy food part of my everyday life and enjoying feeling the benefits that will come from that”.
Caroline says, the key is to say it with loads of energy and really mean it (make believe you do to start with, if you need to!) and actively imagine feeling happy and excited. And – really important – immediately take one small, mindful action that matches your new story, like making yourself a yummy healthy smoothie and enjoying every mouthful, or replacing your next coffee with a big glass of cool, fresh water.
Caroline’s mantra is that when we firmly decide on the outcome we want and then purposefully match our actions to our thoughts, anything is within our reach. Try it and see how your mood lifts.
Another thing that makes a huge difference is reshaping our minds to become action takers. You know that feeling, deep down, that you were born for something more? That you’re capable of making a bigger positive impact on the world? Well Caroline works with high-potential women who know instinctively that there’s something more they could be achieving. So many of us sabotage ourselves and feel stuck because of mindset issues like limiting beliefs (“I can’t”, “it’s too hard”), self doubt (“I’m not good enough”, “Why would anyone want to work with me”) and procrastination (“I’m not ready, I’ll start next week”. Caroline helps women become more self-aware and develop the mindset skills to let go of those old stories and habits so that we can explore what we’re really capable of.
For those of us that have trouble actually getting started, let alone keeping it up, Caroline has a really effective online programme, “Get The Darned Thing Done! How to Beat Procrastination and Become an Action Taker in 14 Days Using Mindset Magic.” This is perfect if you have a project you want to get off the ground, or you’ve had enough of feeling stuck in any area of your life and you’re ready to make the change. I hear people are achieving amazing results which you can read about here.
Caroline’s work has been featured in many media articles and interviews in the UK and internationally. You can follow Caroline’s regular mindset blog here and catch up with her tips on Facebook.