Overcoming The Cliff

6FCF0933-BBC0-4203-884A-8CF446BC293DIn deference to our upcoming Cliff Day….

Cliff Day, you say…what is that? Well on average New Year Resolutions fall by the wayside on Feb 9 because willpower will only takes a person so far And it takes, on average 66 days to form a habit.

I’m on day 33 so I’m half way there but there’s a whole lot of self talk I’ve been doing because I’m looking to own my life and to have me take me to the goals I desire. Not to say that I’m opposed to have family and friends by my side…no person is an island and I want to spend time with family and friends. What I’m saying is it isn’t their responsibility to take me to my goals. That’s on me.

So what I’m learning so far…. And I’ll use resources when I can…According to James Clear (JamesClear.com) to change a behavior, such as creating better habits, a person has to change his or her identity….basically how he or she sees themselves instead of focusing solely on the new behavior.

It’s kind of like a peach here. The skin is what other people see. The flesh of the peach is an individual’s actions (what people focus most on when trying to make changes). And the pit is the belief a person has about themselves.

Does what you believe matter? Of course. We tell ourselves things about ourselves all the time. You may be a person who believes you ‘CAN’ or you may be a person who believes you ‘CAN’T’ and either way, you’re right based on what you believe. If you don’t believe you’re a person, for example, who exercises in the morning and you’re trying to create that action you are going to have internal conflict. This is great for books and movies and even tv shows but bad for reaching your goals. Your sense of who you are is going to win out over the long run.

So what do you do? Well, based on things I’ve recently read and heard it’s as follows:

First …Decide the new kind of identity you want to have.

I’ll use myself as an example. I want to be a person who get things done, who works diligently on improving my craft of writing and my love of learning, along with providing a safe nurturing space for those I share care for, AND be in top form and continue advancing skill-wise so I take on anyone on the fencing field.

Ok so I’m changing my identity – now what?
Second….Take small steps.
Wait, did I say that right?
Yes, I did. DON’T start off with life-changing transformations. (Lose 50 lbs, Publish 5 books, Earn $20,000 more)

There’s nothing wrong with aiming in that direction BUT that’s not pointing you in the direction of success. INSTEAD, start off with life changing behaviors. (Drink 8 glasses of water a day, write a paragraph everyday, work an extra 5 hours as a freelancer) And work up.

So what am I doing? I am drinking more water per day, exercising a minimum of 30 minutes a day – and I generally break that into a 15 minute morning tai chi and yoga and a 15 minute afternoon fencing drills, plus I occasionally throw cycling the exercise bike in too. I’ve scheduled my write time and well…there are other things I’m still working on.

Third…Put this new behavior in the routine you already have and use the 3Rs.
Um….What are the 3Rs?

· Reminder (or cue) – starts the behavior: Example your morning alarm goes off.
· Routine – the action you take: You get up and get ready for school or work.
· Result – You continue getting a paycheck or you eventually graduate.
So for me (Reminder) the alarm clock goes off and (Routine) I’d snooze it a few times, then roll out of bed and get the kid and me ready for school and work and get to work feeling frazzled. (Reward) I got a paycheck. And did what I absolutely had to.
Okay so incorporating from this schedule Now the alarm clock goes off, I snooze it once but instead of falling back to sleep I think about what I need to do and in what order. I get up then and do 15 minutes of tai chi and yoga because well, now I’m a person who does this in the morning, and afterwards, I get me and the kid ready for school and work feeling less frazzled.The Reward? Not only will I keep getting a paycheck and do what I have to but so far within one month’s time I’ve lost 9 lbs and feel calmer, more energetic and motivated. And again, this is a work in progress.
Four… Celebrate Your Wins. Embrace it. Own it. Building on successes is a sturdy foundation towards the life you want.

Yes so currently I’m trying how to celebrate wins without a lot of food rewards. I’d be thrilled to hear any ideas you may have.

In closing this little ‘rah-rah you can do it’ post, I’d like to say if you’re still working on your New Year’s resolution good for you! Keep rocking it! And if you fell off, don’t despair. Anytime is a time you can make positive change. Look up. The view is amazing!