Change sucks. Whether you’re trying to build in more balance, boost your business, or stop binging on brownies, we can always find reasons NOT to take action. In my work with clients (especially women), I find that activities relating to self-care and prioritizing one’s own needs are often the most challenging. For most, we’ve been conditioned to put others’ needs ahead of our own. Carving out time for ourselves can feel scary or like we’re a selfish slacker.
It’s easy to find a million reasons not to take care of ourselves. Our excuses often outweigh our motivation to create change. So today, I’m going to walk you through a common self-care goal and show you the exact system I use to create any type of lifestyle change. This system not only addresses the obstacles that held you back, it also helps you to create a motivating plan for change. So, let’s get to it.
GOAL: MEDITATE FOR A MINIMUM OF 5 MINUTES EACH DAY.
Step 1. Get clear on the benefits of your goal and what you’ll achieve.
This step is all about your “What & Why.” In other words, why is this change important to you? What do you want to achieve and what will that feel like? It’s not enough to focus on the textbook benefits, you need to go deeper and find what it means to you. For example, meditation has A TON of well-documented benefits including:
- less stress
- better sleep
- improved physical & mental health
- more energy
- better memory
But that’s not going to get you to meditate. Why? Because it doesn’t create a clear visual of what you’ll achieve and how you’ll feel. Take it one step further and tap into what you’ll use those benefits for. For example, “Adding in 5 minutes of mediation each day will help me to (decrease my stress which will help me to) not flip out when my boss asks for a project update.”
Step 2. Address your personal obstacles.
These are the internal reasons that held you back in the past.
- I stopped meditating because it’s frustrating. I couldn’t get my mind to stop wandering, so I gave up.
- I don’t like being still. Feeling my feelings makes me want to reach for my phone and distract myself.
Writing out what previously held you back will stop the amorphous, unnamed fears from sabotaging you. And, it will help you to create a plan that addresses these challenges moving forward.
Step 3. Block out time to take action.
This step is crucial. It isn’t enough to focus on the internal obstacles that keep you stuck, you need to focus on the external. Why? Because we tend to procrastinate the things that are new and uncomfortable. We wait until we magically “find time,” rather than actively making time.
When a client tells me “I want to meditate, but I’m too busy,” I know their time management skills don’t support the life they want to create. The key to making a habit stick is to determine when and where it will happen in your routine. For example, if you’re committing to adding 5 minutes of meditation in the morning, visualize how it fits in with your current routine: “Every morning I brush my teeth, wash my face, meditate for 5 minutes, eat breakfast, etc.”
Step 4. Create your action plan.
To do this, draw on step #1 to get clear on your EXACT goal and why it matters to you. Look at the obstacles from step #2 and figure out how you’ll respond to each. Block out time and space (using your calendar or alarms as necessary) to incorporate it into your current routine. Go into as much detail as possible to ensure that when the time comes to take action, you aren’t scratching your head.
Step 5. Track Your Accomplishments.
Whether it’s creating a chart or using an app, celebrate each win. Be sure to acknowledge your progress and how far you’ve come!
- List the benefits, how you’ll feel, and what you’ll achieve.
- Get clear on the personal obstacles that previously held you back
- Mange your time
- Create a detailed action plan
- Track and celebrate your success
To achieve new goals, you must be willing to try new things. Rather than using the same methods you used before and then beating yourself up for getting the same results, create a plan that draws on what didn’t work to propel you forward. Remember: how we do anything is how we do everything. Use these steps to troubleshoot the changes you struggle to make. And if you need support, I’ve got these 3 options for you. So go out there and take action!