From Imprisoned Pattern to Positive Pathway: 5 Steps to Successfully Shifting a Habit

Consistency is the glue that molds your successful choices together and creates a life and career you are proud of living. Unfortunately, consistency can also undermine your efforts when the wrong formula is in place.  Have you noticed how fast a bad habit can develop? Your morning coffee routine now demands extra shots, cocktails after work with colleagues has become your de-stressing strategy, a stop at the vending machine during the afternoon lull provides you the kick you need, and it all becomes habitual and unconscious in about the same amount of time as ground mail traveling from LA to NYC.  Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit, but it is fairly fast and so seemingly innocent at first. A bad habit is sneaky and oh so convincing. 

Clients come to me for two reasons. 1) They want support in developing healthy habits. 2) They want a professional that will require them to dig deep.  I'm not a surface kind of gal.  So whether it's entertainingly delivering a keynote to five hundred or getting gritty with helping you connect your dots one on one, we are going to the core and you can count on it being an adventurous archaeological dig sure to uncover your most valued treasures. The things is, you cannot successfully create a life of beautiful, vitality fueled habits without taking into consideration the power of both conscious awareness and the subconscious roots in which all habits live and thrive. In fact, the love for creating and innovating is the very soil of your ultimate joy. Why would you risk undermining that with habits that no longer serve you?

So let's do this. Navigate your way through these five steps with an open mind and willing heart (that's your core). The goal is to redesign what you do consistently so you can live in a healthy body that shows up to your day with mental and physical vigor, producing amazing, creative work. 

Start with what's not working. 

Step 1 > Dissect the habit itself:

  • What time of day triggers me?
  • What is the physical environment? Am I alone or in a social atmosphere?
  • What is my internal emotional environment when I am participating in the habit I want to change?

 Study the Habit Cycle: Create a visual of drawing arrows from one step to the next. Dissect your habit by shedding awareness on the invisible. The goal is to uncover your truths. (download the pdf file here)

  1. Understand the Need> What am I really craving?
  2. Notice the Cue or Trigger> What happens just before I do ‘that thing’?
  3. Routine: That thing I do (I have convinced myself that it makes me feel better)
  4. Reward/Fulfillment: I feel relief. (Often it's temporary)
  5. Belief: What I did (routine) is what I need to do in order to feel better or create a desired result. 

 Step 2> Ask yourself, what is the unconscious need that I am actually craving?(Take a deep breath, close your eyes, get honest with yourself)

Step 3> Set Yourself Up for Success

What can I do instead that would be healthier and align me with my ultimate joy (vitality)?

(Really go for the gold here. Don’t choose something that just fills the time or space. Reach for your ultimate. What brings you joy?)

 Step 4> Change the Routine

Now that you’ve done the work to understand what’s happening internally (or below the surface) and you’ve created awareness around your cues/triggers, you are now ready to move into the most important step to actually shifting the habit. Focus on the routine portion (that thing you do). Plug in the solution you created from step# 3 and start letting the cycle works it’s magic. The subconscious loves repetition. 

 Step 5> Plug in Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the act of being present while gently noticing your thoughts, feelings and emotional responses within your body.

If you happen to have a negative thought regarding ‘the habit’ (either the one you are releasing or the new one you are striving to create) utilize mindfulness to observe your thoughts and emotions but not attach yourself to them. Don’t let them hook you and reel you into a negative barrage of mental and emotional garbage. Be curious and think of yourself as a science experiment. You are simply working on creating a new result. Each time focus on producing a fresher understanding.

SUCCESS! It is your right to create a life you enjoy in a body that is vitally alive. Here's your challenge, practice the formula you have created as it provides a predictably successful result that aligns with your ultimate joy. Now that's living vitally!