When it comes to creating sustainable and supportive habits that last, consistency is the key!
If you struggle with consistency you are NOT alone. Starting and Stopping in caring for our physical, mental, and emotional needs is the biggest pain point I hear from my clients. You desire to feel a certain way in your body, to show up in a particular way in your life, and to maintain practices that serve you however the business of this thing called life gets in the way. Starting over and over again makes you feel defeated and hopeless. I am here to tell you are NOT alone.
The idea that you just need “to do it” or require more “willpower” is a false narrative from the diet industry. The key in creating sustainable action is by shifting the mindset, and we do this by focusing on the “WHY” it matters to you each and every day until the habit is now just part of your life.
How to Identify Your "WHY"
Your “WHY” is unique to you. It does not have to make sense to anyone else. It is deeply rooted in the emotional attachment to HOW you want to FEEL and live YOUR life. It comes from the Heart and your Soul.
Now, if you rolled your eye’s there and your internal voice said “Ugh that is not helpful!”, I get it. It can sound very hippie-dippie as we have been well-trained by diet culture to look for the solution outside ourselves. Constantly searching for the perfect program or perfect pill to fix it for us. However, for most of us, we know that only keeps us being a repeat customer to “the next diet” because we have not connected to our why.
Let me give you an example:
I have a client in her 50s who had spent her life dieting. She told me she could not remember a time when she was not restricting or punishing herself in some way.
She came to me in a state of hopelessness but hoped “my program” would be the one. She just wanted to stop feeling the way she did about food and her body and wanted to live her life.
We began working together on a 1:1 basis and mindset work was our primary focus. It took time to dig deep to really find her “WHY”. At first her why was the usual one she had told others/ and herself forever “to lose 40 lbs”. But as worked it more and more I learned that she wanted nothing more than to have the energy, strength, and capacity to go kayaking with her son. To walk up the path to a lake he goes and paddles with him at sunrise.
At this time she did not have the physical capacity to carry the kayak and did not fit comfortably in it. She simply wanted to share this experience with her son because they both loved this activity. Once we tapped into that being her WHY and doing mindset work, and having me alongside her keeping her accountable in the first few weeks while she established these habits she stayed consistent in her habits.
Now in the end she did lose the weight she wanted originally but that no longer was what she articulated nor spoke about. She talked about what it FELT like being able to do this with her son! Taping into her heart-centered WHY was the key.
My "Wellness Why"
The truth is, I also spent my teenage years and all of my 20’s on some form of diet. I would “do the work” for a short period of time but then fall back into my old habits. In my 30’s, I would start something knew and then blame “being too busy” on why I did not follow through with the committment I made to myself. It was not until I was really honest with myself and dug deeper to identify my “why” that habits began to stick.
Hard Truth- I had to ask myself, was a really doing the work or was I just doing the motions? Was I working our and eating well… yes but not as consistently as I could have. So I was telling myself I was “doing the things” and then allowing myself to feel bad about not seeing the results I wanted to see when if I was really honest with myself I was NOT connected to WHY it mattered and WHY it was important.
Once I got honest with myself and sat down to uncover my WHY, things shifted for me.
I knew that I am always going to be busy! Its who I am and how I work so that excuse was no longer going to cut it. I wanted to take care of myself to reduce the chances of being burnout, anxious, and disconnected from my body which I once was.
I began to focus on the FEELING versus some number on a scale. and one fo the biggest things is I gave myself a realistic timeline to turn things around! I said I was going to be consistent with my habits for ONE YEAR and give myself a year to learn, fail, get back up again, and keep going to achieve my WHY.
This meant this old school diet mentality of “I have been eating well and working out and not seeing results after only 3 weeks so i will quit” mentality that was keeping me stuck was no longer an issue when I gave myself a whole year to achieve my WHY.
So Your First 3 Steps to take:
Getting Honest with Yourself
Writing out Your WHY from the heart
Giving Yourself a Realistic Timeline
These are the three things you can do right now to give yourself space and support to consistently create sustainable wellness habits.
Tips to Identify Your Why
1. DayDream On Paper
We all daydream or have what I call “mind movies”. This is a form of visualization and is very powerful in shifting mindsets and forming an emotional connection to an idea. Find a space and time that feels safe for you and get comfy with your notebook. Really get crystal clear on how you envision yourself a year from now (not 2 weeks from now!). Here are some journal prompt questions to help get you started:
When I picture myself a year from now, what is the best version of myself I imagine?
What am I doing every day?
What am I NOT doing every day?
How do I feel?
How am I showing up in my life for myself? for other?
What are my priorities?
2. Get Real with Yourself
This is where you need to get into the guts of WHY you wrote what you wrote above to identify your true why. This involves being honest, vulnerable, and really real with yourself. Ask Yourself :
Why does this version of yourself you just described matter to you?
What is the emotional connection to how you want to feel and why this WHY is worth the energy, resources, and time it will take to achieve? Why is your WHY worth it?