Episode 18 - “5 Steps to Building Healthy Habits.”
In this episode, I shared some tips for building healthy habits that stick. We all know habits aren't formed very easily. So how exactly do you make controlled behaviors and mindful thinking become internally guided actions? Listen and follow these 5 simple steps and you will be on your way to a new healthy lifestyle. In the process, you may notice that you are not just building good habits, you are also eliminating the bad habits!
Check out the transcript for this episode to serve as your guide and reference when applying these steps, and don't forget to download your FREE GUIDE to Mindful and Energetic Living here. Also, please subscribe to this podcast!
See you in Episode 19!
Mindfully Recharged Podcast by Mariana Thomas
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Welcome, everyone. This is Mariana Thomas, your host at the Mindfully Recharged podcast. In today's episode, I am talking about five steps to building healthy and new habits. I am excited about this episode because I love this topic, and it's something that I teach to my students. So, without further ado, let's get to it.
Intro Speaker 0:26
Welcome to Mindfully Recharged with Mariana Thomas. In this podcast, Mariana brings you mindful conversations and people that will develop and recharge you from the inside-out so that you can increase productivity in your personal and professional life. This is Mindfully Recharged.
Welcome, everyone. Let's talk about successfully building habits. Okay, I have five steps for you today. It has been a really amazing week, talking about this topic with some people in Clubhouse. I don't know if you know what Clubhouse is but is an amazing place to be in right now. So, I may do an episode to tell you all about it. That I do have a club there. And I open rooms and I have been teaching about this. And I just you know, I love teaching. And I came out with the five steps to building healthy habits.
I believe you are, or we are our habits. It’s simple as that. So, if you want to know where you are going to be maybe next week or in a year, even though - let me remind you there: I don't make plans or five-year plans. But I do create habits because that's going to determine how I am going to behave in the future. All you have to do is look at what you're doing today. So, what are you doing today? Right? What are we doing today that will tell us about tomorrow? That's one question that we all need to ask ourselves. So, for example, are your habits weighing you down right now? Or are they pulling you up on the path towards success? What is your plan? Where are you going? If your current trajectory doesn't inspire you, then you need to transform your habits. Let's say that you want to eat better, but you are not doing that. So that's not the right trajectory. Right? So, let's start with the first thing that we need to do in order to accomplish them. This is not a set-in stone. But I believe that these five steps are crucial to accomplish that.
The first one is identity shift. If we think about changing our identity, not changing who we are, but creating who we want to be. Right? For example, there is, I don't know if you have read this book, but there's the Atomic Habits by James Clear, and he wrote in that book, “The true behavioral change, is identity change.” And that's what I'm talking about here. You have to change your identity; you have to create a new one. Because behind every system of actions, is a system of beliefs. So, it's almost like changing those belief systems. So, this first step in building a new habit begins with changing your systems of belief. How would you do this? You know, you're probably asking yourself that question. How do I change this system of belief? You'll see yourself as who you want to become and then bridge the image as part of your identity. So, what we do is create an identity shift to forge a new association or new behavior. So, what we're doing now is that we are not building a new reading habit, we are becoming a reader. Right? Let's say that, for example, you decided you want to meditate. What you have to say to yourself is, I am becoming a meditator. So, on this, I also talk about affirmations. What do we tell ourselves of who we are, is not the: “Oh, I wish I can meditate.” or “I want to meditate.” But just say those words in the present tense, “I am a meditator, I meditate every day at 7 am, 8 am, 9 am”, whatever that time is, oh, maybe it's nighttime, I don't know where you can fit that in your schedule. But you have to call yourself what you are becoming. Let's say that you want to write a book, you are not building a new habit to be a writer, you are becoming a writer. So, you start to write. You are becoming a fit person, you say “I want to, I don't know, lose five pounds, 10 pounds, I'm going to start going to the gym.” So “I am becoming fit.” And those are the things that you are telling yourself, that you are doing. You start to see in yourself, like that person that you want to be is already set in your mind. That's how you start changing your identity.
Perceptions create your reality. And your subconscious mind doesn't know that reality. So, if you tell her that reality, it’s going to create that reality. It’s going to say, “Oh, okay, we are becoming fit; we are becoming a meditator; we are becoming a writer; we are becoming a football player”, whatever the habit is that you are trying to create. So, we change our system of beliefs, that's the first step of building that habit, which creates a new identity. And that's what we want. That's number one.
Number two is that we take action, we make it obvious. You know, when we think about the things that I just mentioned, I want to become a meditator. I am becoming a meditator. And we tell ourselves, those things in the morning and those are our affirmations. Well, affirmations, if they are now followed by actions, they are now going to become reality. So, they are not going to help you to shift your identity. We don't have motivation. Remember what I told you before in another in a different episode? We create our motivation. So, create a motivation, based on that thing that you want to have. I know that many people lack motivation, some are just motivated naturally. And so, it's really this motivation that creates new habits. But what their reality lacks is clarity. So, we have to become clear. What is that thing that I want to do? So, if I tell myself that I'm going to start meditating, I'm going to become a motivator and a meditator. You got to do it, you got to do it. So, I'm going to get up at 7 am. If that was the time that I chose, then sit down and meditate. If you're going to write, well, I am going to make sure that I have a time and specific time - be clear and write even if it's just one page, at a certain time of the day. I have to be clear of the exact thing that I'm going after. That is the only way we're going to get there. We don't give ourselves instructions on how and when to act, it’s not really a plan. But we have to have structure, right? So, we don't give ourselves that, but we need to have it. I hope that makes sense.
The second piece of advice here in the same thing is that the stack of habits, whatever it is that we are creating - we have to take the action, right? And almost embody that. For example, I'm going to tell you in the morning, I do my gratitude and I do my affirmations. And in those affirmations, I specifically say what I'm going to do that day, what I'm going to do today. Like for example, today, I say I was going to record this episode, that is the action that I'm taking based on the habit that I'm creating. Okay? If you don't take the action, then my identity is not going to take that shape, it’s just going to be words in the air, and nothing is going to get done. So, make sure that you have clarity of the exact thing that you want to do, and you can start creating a routine almost as I do. I have a specific routine that I do in the morning. And I made sure that I don't overwhelm myself with the things that I tell myself that I'm going to do. Because I believe in small steps for habits, I don't overwhelm with, “I’m going to do 10 things today.” But if I accomplish two, or max three things that are important to me that are going to move the needle forward, then I'm good. That is starting to create my identity. So, if I said “I’m a podcaster” well, I got to record the episodes, otherwise they are not going to show up magically. Okay, I hope that was clear.
And I'm going to move on to number three. And this is important, I just mentioned that I don't like to overwhelm myself, I like to start small, I like to do things step by step. But I have to make sure that I'm doing the important things. So, number three is to start small and make it easy. You know, we don't build a house in one day, the house is built brick by brick, right? And the steps, you know, the architect has this plan. And he knows exactly how he's going to build this house. And then their workers come, and they go step by step to build this house. But it's more consistent in continuous action. Those are the foundation of the habits, and our foundations, they will help us, and they will help you stick with it. It will stay with us. It won't become part of who you are, it will be your identity. The number one thing that we are shifting is our identity. That was number one of these five steps, and all relate to that. Okay, if the changes are too bold, and they take a lot of energy, you cannot go from zero to 100 overnight. Let me remind you that. So, you want to make sure that you pick steps that will stretch you but they're not going to overwhelm you. So, make sure that you are clear. Okay, I am going to start small, what is the first thing that I can do to this particular habit that I'm creating, that I am also going to stick with it? You know, when we start small, and we do consistent actions, that's the secret. And also, it helps us to conserve our energy. Because we are not rushing, we are not trying to do this hard thing. There is probably a new thing for us for our mind, for our body or heart, you know, your mind and your body are going, “what are you doing?” You know, this is not something we do. But your subconscious mind is learning, right? And it's creating that shift to become conscious of your new identity. So, start small is number three.
Number four is consistency. And I mentioned that just a minute ago, as you see everything relates. If you start meditating, and you sit down for three days a week, but you told yourself that you are going to sit down for four days a week, and you do four weeks, or your four days a week, and you're going to sit down, and you're going to meditate. But then the fifth week, you decide that it’s too much, and you're going to stop and you're just going to do two days. Well, that's not consistency, that doesn't become a habit. So now you broke the chain, right? You broke the chain. And what happens is that consistency is the only constant and long-lasting, transformative change. If we stay consistent with the things that we say we are going to do, we become that. Now is not something that we have to do, now is something that we are, now is something that we are… we become that thing. And that is a beautiful thing when that happens. I started my health and wellness journey at the age of 16 years old. And up until now, I haven't broken that habit. Just think about it, how many years ago that was? But I committed to a consistent routine, a consistent thing that is part of who I am. So even if I don't do two hours of workout like I used to do before the pandemic. Well, now I do 20-30 minutes, if I’m lucky, an hour you know because I can't go to the gym, so I modified. But guess what? I still do it. Because if you guys don't, and I break that habit, my body actually starts talking to me, like, “Hey” starts tapping on my shoulder and says “Hey, you haven't moved your body. You haven't sat down in silence, you haven’t stretched.” So, it's like, this person inside me is telling me and reminding me that I need to do it. So, it's really hard for me to break it really because this is like it's constantly in me. So, I don't break it, you know, because of that. And I don't need to. I need it. This is by me; this is my identity. So, consistency will also help you with your identity shift to create a healthy habit. And, you know, in some cases, some people create unhealthy ones, but that's not what I'm talking about today. And that's it for number four.
Now let's go to the last one. And this is checking on how we are doing. Progress, right? Nothing happens overnight. But we can check every day how we are doing. The last thing you want to do is to quit, right? Because sometimes we don't see results right away. And we’re like “There's just so much effort, and I'm not seeing the results. I don't know if I can do this”, and you start making all these excuses. Because that's all it is, excuses quitting. But nothing is built overnight. And if you do build it overnight, it may break. Right? So, what defines progress? Progress is like a number of things. It's like you're tracking something, it's the number of reps that you put in, like, when you go to the gym, you say, “Okay, I'm going to lift weights, and I'm going to do bicep curls. And I'm going to do three sets of 15 reps.” Okay, and when you do that, and that is your tracking. And then you're done, right? And you say, “Okay, I'm done here, I'm going to move to the next station, and I'm going to do a different exercise. And I'm going to do the same reps.” So, it's just a number track, it’s the number of repetitions of things that you do. Anytime you show up to do the work for it, you know, the thing that you are trying to create, and you notice that you increase 1%, just 1% you say, "You know, I usually meditate for 20 minutes, or even 10 minutes, but today I stayed 12 minutes." That’s progress. Now your body's like, “Oh, I like this, I want to stay a little longer. And maybe I want to do an extra day.” So that's progress. That's how you know that your body is getting accustomed, that your identity is shifting, and you are becoming that thing. And that's how you check your progress. Okay. So, it's really an experience. Progress is like... it’s what you are experiencing at that moment. You know, if you’ve experienced 20 minutes wasn’t enough meditation, and I can do 25, hey, what a great thing. So, it’s really the experience that you are having as you're creating your habit, as you check in on your progress. And the beautiful thing about checking on your progress, is it also helps you to stay motivated. You know, that actually helps us with creating motivation. Because remember that we don't have it, but we can create it. So, check-in on your progress. And seeing that you're exceptionally well and that you are killing it, you're going to be like, “I want to do that some more. I'm going to do an extra rep, I am going to meditate an extra five minutes,” those type of things, okay.
Progress will also give you a reason to celebrate. Why celebration is so important? My goodness, everyone wants to be rewarded for the things that you do. When you work at a company, and you work nine to five. Even if you stay longer, (I don't know what your situation is) you get compensated, you get the check on your account, you get paid, that is a celebration of your work. If you are an entrepreneur and you do well. I don't know you did a launch, and it went fantastic, you should celebrate. That's motivation. So, it's very, very important that we remember that. That celebration is part of progress. Perfect. And those are the five steps to building healthy habits.
Now, let's go over the five steps really quick so you can remember this:
Create that identity shift. Okay, so we already went over, make it obvious, do that thing.
Action speaks louder than words. We heard that many, many times.
Start small. Don't overwhelm yourself... not a good thing for anyone.
Consistency is the key to change. So don't break the change, stay consistent.
Check your progress and celebrate, celebrate your progress. Very, very important.
Okay. So, my friends, there you go. Five steps to building and also sticking with healthy habits. I hope that you enjoyed this episode, share it with your friends and family. Don't forget to do that, please. And I will see you at the next one. Have a fantastic day.
Thank you for listening, everyone. And don't forget to go to the show notes and click to download your free Mindful and Energetic Living Guide. Also, don't forget to share this podcast with your friends, families, and everyone up there. I want to get this out there to everyone. So, thank you for your support, and I'll see you next week.