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Wednesday, June 28

June : Juggle Your New Habits

June – Juggle your New Habits

Instead of starting a new habit this month, work on reinforcing the ones you’ve started so far.   Here are some ideas to help you do just that!

Understand your Difficulties
·        If you’ve tried to change habits before, without much success, than you know that there are always underlying factors affecting your progress.  Try to get to the root cause …  maybe you are trying to do too much at once, or being unrealistic with your expectations.  All habits are tied together.  If you habitually sleep in, it’s going to leave you less time to get things done during the day (unless you’re up all night).  If you regularly take an hour to do a ten minute job (ahem, one of our children), then it’s also going to leave you less time to accomplish tasks.
·        Being hungry, being tired, planning to do too much, not planning at all…these are all things that will sabotage your ability to stick with your new, healthy habits.  Take a few moments to reflect upon your past efforts to change.  What sabotaged your success?  What can you learn from that and apply toward maintaining your new, healthy habits as the year progresses?

Plan Ahead
·        Lists, schedules, plans…these are all part of a highly-efficient person’s day.  Having a schedule helps you to stay on track with your new habits.  Feel free to prioritize your plan – what’s the most important thing for you to accomplish?  It is eating a salad for lunch?  Getting in that three mile run?  Relaxing with thirty minutes of meditation? 
·        Pick the one habit that you want to reinforce the most each day, and make sure to accomplish it!!  After that, choose the ones you still need to consciously focus on accomplishing, and schedule those into your day.  Finally, if you have already incorporated habits in to your new lifestyle so much so that you don’t need to actively remind yourself to complete them, CONGRATULATIONS!
·        Beware the time trap!  Be aware of how much time it takes to accomplish a task.  For example, if you want to go to the gym for an hour, be sure to factor in time to change clothes and time to drive to the gym.
·        Not planning is the same as setting yourself up for failure.  You have to make a plan to succeed; otherwise, when things crop up in the day, as they inevitably will, your best intentions will fall to the wayside.  You have to prioritize yourself as much as you do your loved ones.

Track Yourself
·        Grab a notebook, or create a printable tracking chart, to help you stay accountable for your new habits.  It’s just like the star sticker chart you had in elementary school – you know, the one where you got a star for having a great day at school?  In this instance, make a column for each habit that you want to reinforce, and give yourself a star for every day that you do so.  If you want to give yourself a reward for staying on track, feel free to do so, but try to make it something other than food.
·        Another way that tracking can help you is by letting you know where your trouble spots are.  Granted, you probably have an idea, but if you have days where you are not getting stars, make a note about that day.  Did you have meetings?  Did the kids have a meltdown?  Are the relatives in town?  What is different about that day that prevented you from meeting your goal?  You should start to notice patterns, which will help you back at “Understanding your Difficulties.”
·        A note on tracking : it is a myth that you must do something for consecutive days to make it a habit.  Granted, it helps to perform the habit every day, but if you miss a day, or even a few days, just jump back on the train and start again.  After all, if you forgot to floss your teeth for a week, would it be better to do it today, or to just throw in the towel and never do it again?

Phone a Friend
·        Let others know about the changes you’ve made, and how you are feeling.  You might find that you have a friend or family member who wants to make these positive changes, too.  When you work together, keeping each other in check, you’ll find that you both reap the rewards! 

·        Even if they don’t want to adopt your new habits, simply telling others about your changes will let them know what’s new in your life – and you might be surprised at how many people are more than willing to support you!
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