Just like the leaves changing colours in the fall and cherry blossoms blooming in the spring, the annual cycle at my gym is unfolding before me. It’s finally getting back to its normal pace and I can get on the machines or find a bench to work on when I want to! The well-intentioned New Year’s resolutioning hordes have done their thing – dutifully starting up in January and then letting it all go by about this time of year.
While I have never been a fan of making these resolutions, I am, however, a huge advocate of building new habits and making incremental changes in order to effect permanent and sustainable positive changes.
I came across an interesting article by Leo Babauta on something called the Habit Sprint and thought I’d share it with you along with some additional recommendations.
The basic idea is to focus on one habit at a time, pay attention to it, and adjust it in short stints. The method consists of these simple steps (detailed instructions are in the article):
1. Plan – this is about getting very clear as to the habit, the time and how you will fit it into your schedule
2. Execute – do it (or don’t do it if it’s something you are avoiding), paying attention to how it’s going and what may or may not be working for you
3. Review – at the end of the week, ask yourself some questions about what happened and how to improve it
4. Improve – based on what you found out in your review, create your new plan for the next week
I love the logic of this and have been playing around with it with positive results. What makes this so different from other habit-setting methods is that it is based on a constant feedback loop which helps you to understand why you may be having difficulties with the new habit.
I would also add in another step in order to address any emotional blockages, resistance or self-sabotage that may emerge as a result of trying to do this new habit. After the review in step 3, try tapping on anything that has come up. Here’s an example (if you don’t know that tapping points, check out this video):
Tapping on the side of the hand:
“Even though I didn’t feel like doing [name the habit] and so I didn’t do it every day like I planned, I accept myself as best I can”
“Even though I can’t seem to get myself to do [the habit] as much as I’d planned, I love and accept myself anyway”
“Even though a part of me really wants to do this [new habit] and there’s some other part of me that is totally resistant, I accept and acknowledge all the parts of me”
Top of head: I don’t feel like doing it!
Inside eyebrow: I didn’t do it like I planned
Side of eye: I feel like a failure
Under eye: I feel so resistant
Under nose: All this resistance
Chin: Part of me doesn’t want to do this
Collarbone: All this blockage
Under arm: Everything this is to me
Wrist: All the reasons I can’t get myself to do this
Top of head: I don’t want to do it
Inside eyebrow: I’m not doing it!
Side of eye: You can’t make me!
Under eye: All this resistance
Under nose: Everything that’s blocking me
Chin: From taking care of myself in new ways
Collarbone: I acknowledge all of it
Under arm: Some part of me doesn’t want to do this
Wrist: And some part of me does
Take a breath and check in. If you still have lots of resistance, keep tapping until the intensity comes down. Be sure to use your own language that addresses your specific feelings. When you feel calmer about it, you can try some positive language.
Top of head: I wonder what it would take
Inside eyebrow: For me to embrace this new habit
Side of eye: Maybe I need to change how much or when I do it
Under eye: And maybe that’s okay
Under nose: What if I could embrace this new way of being?
Chin: Who would I be if I kept up with this [new habit]?
Collarbone: I wonder if I’d feel healthier?
Under arm: I wonder if I’d feel happier?
Wrist: What would it take for me to embrace this completely?
Take another breath and release it all.
I believe that this approach provides a great way to try on some new habits and specifically notice what keeps you from adopting them. Adding the tapping will help you to break through the blockages that might otherwise sabotage your best efforts. It may be that you decide that the new habit isn’t for you after all – that’s great information too! Or you may just find the perfect way to fit it into your life on a permanent basis.