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How to Change Habits and Create a Life You Love!

There is a lot of talk about creating a life you love, the law of attraction, and tons on overcoming anxiety and depression. The internet is a smorgasbord of information. You can read and learn about any topic! They range from “How to Attract Your Soul Mate,” to “How to Overcome Anxiety in 5 Easy Steps” to scientific articles like “Change Your Brain and Transform Your Life.”

We don’t have a shortage of virtual advice. Yet, just like overeating at a giant buffet, if you consume too much, the result is indigestion and brain fog. People often come to me for coaching with severe indigestion of overload and confusion. Why? Because too much information can cause paralysis.

Estimated reading time: 4.5 minutes

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Mental Overload and Paralysis

Mental indigestion is a problem and a symptom of too much information and not enough action. It’s impossible to act on everything, so an overwhelmed person does nothing. They’re stuck and just don’t know where to begin.

No matter how powerful an idea or how much science backs that idea, nothing changes unless you apply and exercise insight or desire.

Just like the aim of getting your body in shape at the gym, unless you show up and work out, your body won’t get stronger.

Transformation and permanent change require consistent action.

And real change is oh so much harder than discussing the latest trend, watching a YouTube video that’s gone viral, or listening to the newest podcast.

No matter how much you read, learn or discuss, it isn’t how much you know; it’s how much of that knowledge you’re living effectively. We can know volumes, but if we don’t live the know-how, it never comes to fruition. And filling up your mind with more and more information can give the illusion that you’re changing when you’re not.

Tips for Success: How to Get Motivated and Change

Let’s boil positive change down to bare bones so you can roll up your sleeves and get started.

Take action on what you already know is right for you.

Change can only happen when you ACT on what you know! Once you know what you need or would help you, don't talk about it; don't revolve reasons why it won't work, just go do it!

Don't entertain the notion that accumulating more knowledge will automatically change the quality of your life. When you take action on what you already know, it opens the door to new opportunities and new answers. Act now.

Waitress serving a couple at a restaurant

SUCCESS TIP #2: Know What You Want.

Here’s a metaphor. You’re eating at a restaurant, and the waitress approaches your table asking what you’d like to order. Would you say, “Give me last week’s special.” Or “Please just pick something for me.”? Probably not. Why? Because you might get a meal you dislike, one that you can’t afford, or a food you’re allergic to!

You need to decide what you want. What does an ideal life look like to you? For one person, it might be traveling a lot and living simply; for another, it could be financial security and a beautiful home. The clearer you become, the faster you can create a life you love.

You Must Know What You Want Before Creating What You Want.

So, stop for a moment and ask yourself: “What do I want?” Be specific and elaborate in great detail.

Observe yourself before taking new actions.

One critical ingredient of lasting change is focused attention on the right actions. However, how can we know the right actions unless we know where we are and what's not working? Increase your ability to observe with compassion and curiosity.

You may need to observe yourself for a week or two before trying to establish any new habits. Self-discovery provides insight and is a phenomenal place to get to work on yourself. Greater self-awareness will accelerate change.

Each time you make a positive change and create a new, healthy habit, you are moving forward toward better brain fitness.

Related reading: "How to Get Motivated: Intrinsic vs Extrinsic."

Identify ways you're working against yourself.

Once you’ve defined what you want, it’s helpful to find the ways you’re working against yourself. What are you doing, not doing, or tolerating that is contradictory to what you want?

For instance, if you want inner peace, negative and critical self-talk is contradictory to cultivating a state of inner calm. Start replacing judging thoughts with more encouraging and accepting ones. Perhaps begin a meditation and mindfulness practice.

If you want financial security, find those places where you’re not living congruently with that desire, i.e., overspending, not saving or postponing that conversation for a raise or promotion at your job. Each small improvement gets you closer to your goal.

By eliminating contradictory habits, you’re halfway to new habits that support your desired outcome. And as the process gets more natural for you, the thoughts, emotions, and actions required to support and align with your new desire become more evident, too.

Related reading: "Now Is the Time to Start Building Healthy Habits."

People working out on treadmill at a gym

SUCCESS TIP #5:  Take small steps at first.

It's much easier to take small steps to build momentum than try to make too big of a change that you're unable to sustain. It's far better to be consistent. Then, as momentum and confidence build, take more targeted and powerful actions with even more focused attention. Add to the small steps, increasing the difficulty and size as your resolve becomes more steadfast.

Related reading: Building Healthy Brain Habits: Dream Big, Start Small

BONUS SUCCESS TIP: Ask better questions of yourself.

One of the keys to success whether you're looking to make a career change, you want to be happier or you desire to lose weight, the better questions you ask, the better answers you will get.

Questions engage the logical part of our brain and invoke focused attention toward a targeted result or right action. However, what we typically do is ask unhelpful questions, such as "Why am I so lazy?" or "What's wrong with me that I'm still in a dead-end job?"

Asking more deliberate and helpful questions lead us to a better result.

For instance, instead of asking why you're so lazy, what if you asked, "What activity or exercise will motivate me so I can exercise regularly?" or "What activity or hobby would help me meet more friends? Or instead of asking what's wrong with you, ask "If I had my dream job, what would it be?" and "What actions can I take today to be closer to acquiring a job I love?"

Training your mind to support your goals is critical to building new habits.

Be the architect of your life. Design it, plan for it, visualize it and feel your life as if it’s already here! Keep this process going until you’re in love with your life.

Creating a life you love IS possible—with the right ACTION guided by the fuel of your desires!

Related reading: Building Healthy Brain Habits: Building Momentum

If you'd like to learn more about emotional intelligence check out Heartmanity's online products to support you in your growth and transformation.

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Jennifer A. Williams / Emotional Intelligence CoachJennifer A. Williams / Emotional Intelligence Coach
Jennifer is the Heartmanity founder and an emotional intelligence expert. She has two decades of EQ experience and is the author of emotional intelligence training and courses. As an emotional fitness coach, Jennifer teaches EQ skills, brain science hacks, and a comprehensive approach that gets results. She is happily married and the mother of three incredible grown children.

Posted in Brain Fitness, Mindfulness and Perspective

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