If there is one thing that I know for certain it’s that time passes quickly. How often have you realized that 6 months have gone by in a blink of an eye? Even when time seems to move slow, it’s easy to feel like the goals we want to achieve or the habits we want to establish continue to get put off.
Here’s a personal example that you can probably relate to. For the longest time, I’ve known that if I scheduled a monthly massage I would likely feel less stressed and more resilient. And yet, if I am honest with myself I probably actually get about 4 messages a year.
If I don’t stop to evaluate my habits, then I will likely continue to get 4 massages a year and the time will pass and I will continue to think that I should do more without actually making the change.
Have you ever been in a similar boat? Eating healthier, establishing a fitness routine, or consistently flossing your teeth can be ongoing habit goals that are slow to change. Can I invite you to pause for a second right here and actually identify what your immediate reaction is, at that moment when you realize you still have not taken action towards your desired habit goal? For myself, it is a mix of this heavy burden of ‘the shoulds’ mixed with feeling ashamed.
So here’s the point. Most of us will have some type of negative self-talk at that moment when we realize we have not accomplished what we set out to do. It could be a sense of shame and frustration, or it could be related to things like money, time, or know-how, but we tend to focus on a generalized negative vibe of some kind. Am I right?
Okay, so this is when it gets interesting. Your brain is wired to take that negative mental talk and avoid feeling that way again. This means that we will continue to not do the thing because our brain is actually wired to avoid the situation where we feel bad, frustrated, ashamed, or anything like that.
The science of habits offers you a real solution! It’s a simple way to hack your motivation, avoid negative self-talk, and it’s also the secret to healthy habits that last. The secret is Celebration! The next time you realize you forgot to eat a vegetable all day, celebrate the heck out the fact that you even noticed or remembered to think about it. Feeling bad about not working out even though you know it will improve your mood and energy? Celebrate the heck out of the fact that you have the knowledge that working out is related to better mood and energy. You see the pattern right?
The choice is yours if you start investing in a lifetime supply of confetti and gold stars or my favorite celebration tool. Either way, we can pretty much sum this up in a nutshell, “don’t should all over yourself. This will change your mental pathways and lead to better habit formation outcomes. And better habit formation means you actually achieve your goals, however big or small!