Are there habits in your life, you would like to stop doing? Are these the very things that may be holding you back from achieving the goals you truly desire? What if there was a simple tool to help us break out of old patterns and move forward with new positive ones?
Your life today is essentially the sum of your habits. Habits that have been formed over the course of your lifetime so far. Some good, some bad.
How in or out of shape you are…..habits!
The kind of food that you do or do not consume…..habits!
How happy or unhappy you are…habits!
Some habits we have are extremely positive for us. For example; cleaning our teeth- most of us do this every morning and night and don’t even think about it, yet our teeth get cleaned and as a result this habit is great for our dental hygiene. yet, if we don’t do this daily habit, then our teeth suffer and we end with dental issues and hefty dental bills!
We are habitual creatures. But is there unhelpful habits we have in our lives that may stop us achieving our full potential with our health. For example, we eat half a block of chocolate mindlessly on the couch at night even though we know it’s not going to be good for us but we can’t seem to stop. We say ‘I won’t do it tomorrow night’, but it’s there again in the fridge, staring at us, teasing us, calling our name. We say to ourselves…”only one piece tonight” but then we go back for more and more, then that voice in our heads berates us and tells us negative things that only feeds our lack of self-esteem. Sound familiar?
Perhaps chocolate is not your issue. Perhaps it’s your desire to go for a daily walk but just can’t seem to manage it, you don’t have the energy. Perhaps you want to limit your large daily intake of caffeine or stop watching TV till midnight instead of going to bed- you struggle to get out of bed in the morning and you are in a constant rotation of tiredness and fatigue. Whatever it is, breaking out of these old habits can often be difficult and challenging, BUT what if instead of just focusing on the things you want to achieve, or desire, you firstly focus on the things that you want to stop doing?
Setting simple ‘STOP DOING’ goals and breaking down an action plan on how to do this, gives you a greater opportunity to create new more positive habits, without letting old limiting beliefs hold you back. Limiting beliefs can deny you the freedom to really move forward with your life. They create negative emotions, destructive patterns and sabotaging behaviours which keeps us in the unhelpful habitual loop.
Create a Stop Doing List
This simple tool, is just one effective tool, that gives you the strategy to focus on the things you want to stop doing in your life and helps create easy actionable steps to achieve this.
you wish to stop
‘Staying up till midnight watching TV each night’
You stay up each night, even though you are so tired. You drag yourself out of bed each morning, after you’ve hit the snooze button 3 times, then you madly get yourself ready for the day because you are now running late, only to feel exhausted, lack focus all day and say to yourself ” tonight I will go to bed early” but it all happens again…and round and round we go. This is an habitual loop.
Your action plan to change this could look something like this;
- Set a timer or reminder at a time that you feel is a more appropriate time to go to bed eg; 10am.
- Remove TV from the bedroom, if you watch TV in bed.
- Straight after dinner, clean your teeth, get in your PJ’s and slippers.
- Listen to your bodies signs of tiredness write them down or journal these signs to be more aware and mindful of them.
- Stop drinking coffee/ tea/ or sugary drinks after 4pm in the afternoon.
- Remove late night snacks from your fridge and cupboard if they are not there, you can’t eat them!
- Run a bath at 8-8:30pm and have a soak with some magnesium salts or lavender essential oils, light some candles.
- Place your alarm clock away from your arms reach, so you have to get out of bed to switch it off, rather than hitting the snooze button.
This is just a samples of what and how you can set up your stop doing list.
Here’s how you can set up your own ‘Stop Doing’ list.
Below I have a chart and instructions that will guide you how to achieve your plan of action.
1. In the first column, list very clearly the ‘thing’ you wish to stop doing. Keep it brief, clear and concise, not negative, leaving resentment and anger out of your list.
2. In the second column, list in point form all the strategies you can think of, that will help you achieve this is your plan. Add as many as you need. This can added/subtracted to, as you go along.
3. Once completed, place in an area that you will see it regularly, like a bathroom mirror, fridge, etc. This way, you will be consistently reminder of your aim.
4. As you work through the strategies, highlight the ones that are working and cross out the ones that are not. This will help you narrow in on the most effective ways to stop what it is, you want to stop doing.
5. Make sure you give each point a real opportunity to be effective, not just try once and dismiss, quickly. Change at first is never comfortable, so allow for this.
|Stop Doing||Plan/Action Steps|
|I want to stop –
eg; ‘Staying up till midnight watching TV each night’
So what’s holding you back? Try this strategy and start the journey to undoing your unhelpful habits, so you can move forward and start the journey of new more positive habits that will serve you and your health so much better.
Let me know how you go! Good luck 🙂