What I have learned from experience is to focus only on integrating or changing one habit at a time and only signing up for one program at a time. Humans have great intention but the truth is, we all struggle with change and find ourselves resisting it in the beginning.
I am attending a weekly class on resilience right now because I am interested in deepening my understanding, for myself and my clients, of how to better navigate how our bodies respond during stress and how to bring ourselves back to balance. It is such an important skill to learn, especially for survivors of trauma.
The interesting part of learning about change is that even when it is good for you and the thing you KNOW you want, you still have to go through the stages of behavior change. So I appreciated the reminder in my class and have the feeling that a few of you could use a reminder also.
There are six stages we all go through to change our behavior and to create new habits. They are:
1. Not ready. You may not even be aware that something needs changing or have any interest in making a change. This could also be because you don't have the information you need to feel safe about how to change.
2. Getting ready. You may have awareness around something needing changing and even feel that you are setting intention to change, or have been thinking about it, but still not sure exactly when to start.
3. Ready. Your intention is to make a change and you have taken some steps towards that change.
4. Action. You are actively working on this change and have been for about six months.
5. Maintenance. You have created a new habit and it has become part of your routine. You recognize the possibility of relapse and are actively aware to prevent it.
6. Relapse. Relapse happens. It is part of the process. The key is to not stop there. You make sure you go to the earlier stage and keep going.
It was great to have a dialog about these stages in my class and to also reflect on the fact that the things that I have changed took me about 12 months or more to change.
This year my goal was to meditate consistently. To help me with this goal, I signed up for a 30 day mediation challenge. It was a wonderful way to start. For about 5 months, I meditated every single day. Then I was traveling for a few weeks and I did miss a few days. I noticed that the days I did meditate, I felt more grounded and centered. When I got back, I found my way back to the routine that works very well for me, which includes my daily meditation practice. I missed my routine and felt happy to be in it once more.
The key was to not to be hard on myself. To notice my inner critic when I did not keep up with my goal, to stop the old critical voice of, "see you will never be able to change," and use my self compassion practice to talk to myself the same way that I support my friends and my clients.
Judging yourself does not help. Learn to understand the 6 stages and remember to practice self compassion. Make it a long term goal, a 1 or 2 year goal. Set yourself up for success but always keep in mind that we are more likely to relapse or stop doing the new behavior, no matter how good it it for us, if we are not actively being mindful about it.
Do you struggle with change? Not sure how to create a long term plan for your healing? Don’t worry. I can help! Just follow (this link) or call 619-889-6366 to reserve a one-hour coaching session with me ($100). Let me help you heal your life. Reserve your spot NOW!
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