A few days ago, I posted about the 10 healthy habits that completely changed my life.
But what I didn’t mention in that post are all of the little mistakes that can easily stop you from staying consistent. So that’s what I want to talk about today!
Because I’ve made ALL of these mistakes before, I thought the best way to do this would be to share exactly what I used to do wrong (without even realising it) and then what I did to get myself on the right track. My hope is that, if you’re making any of these mistakes, you’ll have some super practical advice to help you stop making them!
I hope you find it helpful – let’s get into it!
MISTAKE 1: TRYING TO STAY MOTIVATED
I LOVE feeling motivated. But I used to be a total slave to motivation, so I only ever did things when I ‘felt like it’! And this wouldn’t have been a problem, except it’s so damn hard to stay motivated! I used to barely last a week before I was too tired, too busy or too lazy to do my new habit. Or I’d just forget about it completely!
And once that happened (even just one time) I felt like I’d ‘ruined’ my habit. And because I hated it when a habit didn’t feel perfect, I’d just abandon it completely. And then I’d wait until I felt motivated to start from the beginning again (this is how I ended up re-doing Week 1 to 4 of Kayla Itsines’ BBG more than five times before I made it through).
WHAT I DID INSTEAD
The one thing that finally ended my struggle with staying consistent was learning how to do what I planned to do, when I planned to do it – even when I didn’t ‘feel like it’. This is one of the most important things I teach in my online course Dream Habit, but here’s a quick overview of how to do it!
Step 1: Make A Plan
The first step is to make a plan. This means you need to decide ahead of time exactly what you’re going to do and when you’re going to do it. And this can’t be vague (if your plan is vague it’s a sign you’re not truly committed) – you need to have decided the who, what, when, where and how. Your plans can be flexible if needed (you might like to attach your plan to an event, like getting home from work, rather than a time) but it’s important your plan doesn’t leave you any wiggle room for excuses!
Because it’s super easy to make mistakes with planning healthy habits and there are quite a few considerations that need to be made (particularly if you have an all-or-nothing mindset like me), planning is one of the things I cover in Dream Habit! But here are a couple of examples of what I mean when I say you need to have a plan and it needs to be specific.
- I will go to the gym today at 5:30pm to do a spin class.
- I will wake up at 6am tomorrow morning and immediately wash my face.
Step 2: Follow your plan
The second step is to follow your plan. Which means that, when the time comes to follow through with your plan, you don’t ask yourself whether you ‘feel like it’. You just do it.
I know this is easier said than done! And I’m not saying your brain won’t scream out in protest and tell you that it doesn’t matter if you put it off for just one more day (our brains are designed to keep us safe and comfortable and that’s all it’s trying to do). But that doesn’t mean you should listen to it! And with practice, it becomes easier and easier to ignore that voice (and once you’ve created a new habit there’ll be less protesting, promise).
The good news is that you already have this skill – you go to work even if you don’t feel like it, you brush your teeth even if you don’t feel like it. You know how to do this! You just need to learn how to do it with the things that seem negotiable (but actually have the biggest impact on your life) which is exactly what I teach in Dream Habit.
Step 3: Repeat
This skill comes from repetition! So repeat, repeat, repeat!
Note: I share how I wake up early (even when I don’t feel motivated) in this Youtube video.
MISTAKE 2: BEING STINGY
It’s quite funny now I look back on it, but even though I used to spend A LOT of money on things I never ended up using, I was always so hesitant to spend money on the things that could actually change my life! It didn’t matter that I was wasting money on dresses I never wore and make up I didn’t use, I found it so hard to justify spending money on anything related to personal growth!
The truth is that I wasn’t stingy and I wasn’t short of money (though it felt like it because I spent all my money shopping). I was just scared of spending money on (and putting time into) anything that might end up making me feel like a failure! So I spent my money on the easy things – the things that everyone spends money on without batting an eyelid.
But once I faced the fact that the reason I wasn’t investing in my own growth and wellbeing was because I was just scared, I started to do things differently. I started spending money on things like a personal trainer and an online course about blogging, and the results I got were HUGE! When I’d been too scared to invest in myself, I hadn’t taken into account the fact that I would actually act differently if I made an investment. When I made those investment decisions I was deciding to truly commit (instead of just ‘hoping I’d stay motivated’) so I really, truly made an effort. And I didn’t want to waste my money – so I went above and beyond what I’d do if I didn’t have anything to lose!
WHAT I DID INSTEAD
I started investing in my personal growth when I realised the excuses I’d been using to avoid investing in myself were coming from a place of fear (even though they felt so legit). If you want to become the best version of yourself that you can possibly be but you find it hard to justify investing the money, here are a few things for you to ask yourself:
- What am I currently spending my money on?
- Are all of these things a higher priority than my personal growth?
- If some of them are not, which am I willing to de-prioritise so I can invest in my personal growth?
MISTAKE 3: DOING IT ALONE
If you’re a perfectionist like me, you probably spend a lot of time and energy trying to keep up the illusion that you’re amazing and that everything you do is amazing (because this feels like the best way to please everyone and perfectionism is really just fear of disapproval and rejection). The only problem is that this means we procrastinate on everything we might not be good at, we’re scared to invest in things that might make us feel like a failure (mistake numero 2) and we don’t want to be seen to be trying too hard or to need help (since we think everything should be natural and effortless).
So we love trying to figure out everything for ourselves, and that’s definitely what I always tried to do! I was always adamant that I had to figure out everything myself, as though getting help from someone else would somehow taint my achievements. But I’ve finally learned that this is NOT true! Even though I like to think that I could have figured it out on my own, I’m so glad I didn’t keep trying. Because when I finally started getting people to help me with my goals, I started getting results.
What really works for me is two-fold accountability – one layer coming from me (I teach how to do this in Dream Habit) and one layer coming from someone else who is truly committed to keeping me accountable (and who I don’t have to keep accountable to anything). A perfect example of this is with my exercise habit (I’ve been in a consistent habit of working out 6+ times per week for over a year). One layer of accountability comes from me and one layer of accountability comes from my personal trainer, who trains me once a week and checks in with whether I’m sticking to my plans.
And it’s because of experiences like this that, when I was making all of the new updates to Dream Habit (so excited about this btw), I decided to add a live online workshop with me every two weeks so I can keep all of my students 100% accountable to the healthy habits they want to create!
WHAT I DID INSTEAD
I finally started staying consistent with healthy habits when I realised that trying to figure it all out on my own just wasn’t working for me! If you’ve made it this far down my blog post, there’s a good chance that figuring it out on your own (by trying to piece together all of that inspiring (yet conflicting) advice on Pinterest) hasn’t been working out for you either. So now is the perfect time to think about what’s stopped you from getting help!
You haven’t got enough money
As I mentioned above, I used to spend all of my money on things that really weren’t that important to me because I was scared of spending money (and time) on anything that might end up making me feel like a failure! If you’ve been telling yourself that you don’t have enough money to be able to invest in people to help you achieve your goals and grow as a person, make sure you ask yourself honestly whether this is actually true! The questions I gave above will help.
You haven’t got enough time
If you feel like you don’t have enough time to be doing things that will help you become a better person, there’s probably one of two things going on: (1) you genuinely feel like you’re too busy because you’re filling your time with easy stuff so that you don’t have time to do the hard stuff or (2) you do have enough time but you just can’t stop procrastinating! If either of those are the case, I totally get it – I’m speaking from experience here! Be honest with yourself about how you’re spending your time and if the way you spend your time is a reflection of your priorities. If you don’t like what you find, decide on one thing you can start doing today to bring them into better alignment. And then do it!
You’re too lazy
I mean I could go on for days about this, but you’re not lazy. No one who reads this kind of blog post is lazy – trust me. But you might believe you’re lazy because you’re an expert procrastinator. In which case, this next one is for you…
You’re too scared
If you haven’t invested in yourself because you’re scared of failing, I can totally relate (as you already know). Now is the perfect time to decide that you’re not going to keep living your life from that place of fear! I know it’s easier said than done, but part of it is learning that you don’t need to wait for that fear to go away – you just need to feel the fear and do it anyway (in case you hadn’t realised, the definition of courage is ‘the ability to do something that frightens oneself’). Action cures fear. So decide on something you will do TODAY to take that first step towards becoming the best version of yourself that you can possibly be! And then do it!
I hope you’ve found this post helpful! If you don’t know many people who are working towards the same things as you, make sure you join the Smart Twenties Community!