Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Simple tips on how to create consistency in your daily routines

As mentioned in my last post, I've really struggled in the past to maintain certain habits and routines that are necessary to create the results I want. I gone through the cycle enough times to realize that I'm playing a losing game. So today I'm focused on making some mindset shifts contrary to my traditional way of thinking. The first thing I was doing wrong was not directly associating the necessary actions and the desired results as a duel package. So instead of believing that regular exercise IS what creates and maintains a healthy body, I acted as if exercising would get me there but wasn't necessary once I got to a certain level. Kinda like when the space shuttle releases those jet boosters once it reaches a set altitude.

Now realize how much I need those so-called jet boosters, the actions that propel me directly to my goals, and I need them with me the entire time. For example, if in 6 months from now, I knew I would be appearing on a popular television show in front of millions of people, my daily habits and routines would be so different from what they are today. I'd know exactly what to do to create a tone body, skin like Meagan Good, and I'd focus with intensity on retention and the health of my hair. So the question is, why aren't I consistently doing these things today? Especially since I already know exactly what I need to do.

I think the answer to this question can be found by analyzing my mindset. It really boils down to how I view the actions that I know I need to take. Subconsciously, I've categorized them as extras that I do above and beyond what is part of my "normal" actions. These actions, in my mind, are "goal-actions" because I only associate them with achieving a goal. Because of this way of thinking, my goal-actions take on a new meaning. In my mind, they become something I have to do, like a burden or a chore, which makes it somewhat justifiable to skip a day here and there or stop doing them altogther once the goal has been reached. So now I'm creating a new way of thinking where the actions I should take aren't directly associated with an end result. Sure, I'm aware that doing something on a regular basis creates a result, but I want to shift my thinking from "I'm doing this to get that." This way of thinking is a bit dangerous because I can easily stop "doing this" once I get that or if I percieve that "doing this isn't getting that."

During the real estate boom of a few years ago, people would build these beautiful mini-mansions all over town. As the economy turned, many of these beautiful homes remained vacant. As time went on, some of these luxuary homes remained in prestine condition while other vacant houses started to look like haunted mansions. What's the difference? One house is consistently maintained while the other wasn't. Even though I wasn't a witness to it, I knew that the gorgeous vacant home with perfectly trimmed hedges, thick green grass and sparkling windows was kept up on a regular basis. There was no complacency around consistency, it was an absolute must.

So I want to begin thinking about my goal-actions like how I think about eating or showering. These are daily musts that don't require much thought. I don't have to talk myself into taking a shower every day. I don't have to motivate myself into eating. It's just something that always gets done. I realize that eating is a life/death kinda thing and my not fall into the same category as scalp massages but I think there's a way to shift my thinking so all my desired goal-actions start to become as necessary as eating. Now let's talk about some practical ways to make this real.

When we think about something as basic as eating, there's no denying that we all do a good job of eating on a regular basis. Not just because if we don't do it, we die. It's because we're programmed to do it regularly, even if we aren't hungry. If we know we need to eat, we do it. Even if we have to multitask while watching tv or driving. And if we skip a meal or two, it's a big deal! The thing about eating is that a built in reminder mechanism alerts us when we haven't done it. The longer we avoid the reminder, the louder it gets. If there's a habit that you really want to maintain, it's highly recommended that you create an effective reminder system. One that can get you into action. Maybe that means creating task reminder in your phone or maybe it means joining with an accountability partner.

I really like a system created by Jerry Seinfeld years ago called "don't break the chain." Basically. Jerry would put a big red X on the calender for each day that he wrote stand-up material. Soon he started to creat a chain of red Xs and his focus shifted to maintaining the chain for as long as possible throughout the year. There's actually a website you can visit to track your own "don't break the chain" progress online. Another thing you can do is pair your desired actions up with something you already do on a consistent basis. For example, drinking water every time you put on lotion, moisturizer, or lipgloss. Or you can do some floor exercises every time you watch your favorite show. One thing I've done is pair scalp massages (something I want to do consistently) with tying my hair up at night (something I do daily without fail). So far, that combination works beautifully for me. By combining the two, I take away the "30-day challenge" aspect away from my scalp massages. It's now just something I do every day.

My end goal is to enjoy the long-term benefits of consistently taking the right actions. I think of it as a game that I can "rig" to make sure I win. Rigging is setting up the little sure fail strategies that set you up for success. For example, when I know I wanna get up and work out, I put my cell phone in the other room inside of my running shoes. So I'm forced to physically leave my bed to turn off the alarm and I have to actually touch my sneakers to turn off the alarm.

Finally, I'm no longer gonna be so hard on myself if I miss a day or two here and there. By getting upset for missing a day, I'd subconsciously categorize myself as a failure which would create hesitation of starting and failing once again. Then it became easier to not start rather than face the feeling of not making my personal commitment. Now I will only operate in the present. So what if I didn't apply my night cream last night? I'll just do it now.......no big deal. Now is all that matters anyway. I'm no longer bashing myself for something that happened in the past. Getting upset about not working out yesterday is like getting upset for not eating breakfast yesterday, it makes no sense to fret when you can just eat now.

Once again, thank you ladies for allowing me to spew my thoughts so freely. Hopefully some of this will be helpful to you.








 

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