[This is a guest post from Gina Brogan from 2nd Act Life Coaching]
Successful people don’t win by accident. They get there by identifying their goals and integrating habits of mind, body, and spirit that support their goals into their daily lives. It is through these daily habits that we enjoy progress.
As you start making progress toward your goals, a couple of great things happen:
1) Your habits become part of your normal daily routine and are no longer things you need to consciously decide to do or even think about, they just happen.
2) The success you enjoy through the implementation of your habits reinforces your positive changes and encourage you to develop new habits to propel you to new levels of success.
Everyone has his or her own idea of success. Usually, success is defined by the thing that their soul craves the most; it can be money, fame, weight-loss, freedom, power, affection, love or security… it is different for everyone.
But no matter your idea of success, you can determine your likelihood of achieving your version of success by taking a look at your habits. If you are struggling to achieve goals or are hoping to move forward in certain areas of your life, it may be time to adjust some habits, drop some habits that no longer serve you and acquire some new habits to realize your dreams.
If you are hoping to lose 10 pounds (or create a spiritual practice or quit your day job to start a new heart-centered business), rather than making huge changes in your routine, take small steps every day toward your goal (through new smaller, attainable habits).
Small changes in your daily life are much easier to integrate, and they will create noticeable differences in a matter of weeks and months. I am working toward some really big goals by integrating small daily habits into my routine. Some of my ideas of success are:
- Developing a fun, customizable journal/notebook/calendar for women to plan, design and organize their dream life.
- Staring a non-profit organization offering yoga and mindfulness meditation to school children in underprivileged school districts where it is most needed.
- Becoming a 6-figure entrepreneur by 2017 and leave my day job so I can spend more time with my family and my dreams.
- Deepening my spiritual connection with my inner guidance system and no longer allow fear to get in the way of my dreams.
- Taking my kids on three awesome vacations each year.
- Creating a virtual and real-life community of entrepreneurs who donate a portion of their service time to low-income families who are willing to work on improving their lives – one habit at a time.
- Fitting into my favorite jeans and look as strong, fit and fantastic as I feel.
I am integrating the following six habits of mind, body, and spirit this year to support my dreams. A few of these habits are becoming my default behaviors while some require calendar reminders and effort to put into action.
1 – I manage my fear by quieting the barking dogs (that is the name I give my scary thoughts) in my mind.
While it is natural to feel fearful about starting something new or leaving a secure situation for uncharted waters, people who are successful can acknowledge their fear, and move toward their goals in spite of them.
You may have heard the saying,“What you resist persists.” I finally realized how that applies to fearful thoughts. I came to understand that the barking dogs need attention before they can pass. If they are ignored, they will keep pulling on your thoughts, like a child pulls his mother’s apron strings, until they have gotten your attention. To avoid panic, tell the barking dogs that you appreciate their vigilance, you hear them, and reassure them that all is well. If something needs to be addressed, then spend some time shining a light on the fear and taking steps to alleviate risks.
If it is simply a fear that has developed over years of negative thinking, assure the barking dogs that those particular thoughts no longer serve you, and it is time to replace them with thoughts that are helpful.
I have learned to cultivate a mind of possibility and creativity by giving my barking dogs the respect they deserve— and guess what? They move along. When they start to take up space in my mind, I lovingly thank them for their alerts and take a few deep breaths to signal to my body that we are safe and can relax.
2 – I empower my mind with a success mindset by sending it affirming messages throughout the day and surround myself with people who reinforce those messages.
I am very careful about the social media platforms I participate in and only hang out in groups online where I find value and comfort in the information. I share the attitudes with the communities I am in and contribute value to the group.
I also surround myself with images and reminders around my home and office that reinforce my progress and my amazing accomplishments. I have created beautiful cards with words that affirm how I want to feel and see myself, like “I AM POWERFUL” or “I AM LOVE” and photos of places I plan to visit or live in the future.
3 – I get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
The research is in and can’t be denied that getting enough sleep is crucial for our emotional and physical well-being. A couple of years ago I read in her book, “Thrive,” Arianna Huffington’s commitment to getting at least eight hours of sleep each night because of the disastrous effects she experienced due to sleep deprivation. I consider Arianna to be a mentor and really took her advice to heart. I come from a long line of insomniacs and sleep has always eluded me until recently. I attribute my improved sleep on my habits of exercise and meditation. I am happy to report that I have managed to commit to turning off my screens and hitting the pillow by 11 each night and sleeping until at least 6am. As a result, I feel noticeably more energized and focused each day.
4 – I strengthen my body with daily exercise that I can do anytime and anywhere.
As a single mother of two boys with a full-time desk job, I have learned to be CREATIVE and PROACTIVE in order to fit consistent exercise into my life. I have been an athlete all my life, and I am grateful for the strong physical foundation I have. Now that my days of competitive sports are gone (along with their built-in training and workouts), I have to rely on my inner motivation, planning, and execution.
I make sure to make time for at least 30-60 minutes of exercise 4-5 days per week. Some of the things I do to keep fit include power yoga, stair climbing (I work in a nine-story building, so I walk up and down the stairs frequently), evening walks, lifting small hand weights and riding my bike to and from work (at least three times per week). No matter what it looks like, I make sure I move my body and raise my heart rate almost every day.
5 – I deepen my connection with Spirit through daily meditation and periodic quiet breaks.
I have committed myself to a daily meditation routine and, as a result, experience a significant reduction in my anxiety, a huge improvement in my mood, and my responses to things that used to drive me crazy don't seem to have the same impact. I think twice before I respond in anger to my kids or anyone else who frustrates me. When I feel overwhelmed, but don’t have time for a 20-minute meditation, I will take a "mindful minute" to become present with my breath and my physical body. By connecting with my breath and body, I reassure the barking dogs that all is well at this moment. When my mind is calm, I can access the part of my brain that is solution-focused, rather than problem oriented. By practicing daily, I am also building the part of my brain that is responsible for higher-level thinking and shrinking my amygdala (the fight or flight part of the brain).
6 – I invest in myself and my future by spending time (and money) on further education, coaches and books on personal growth.
I noticed I had hit a wall in my progress and was struggling to put my ideas into action. I also noticed I was using the excuse of “I’m a busy, single mom” to keep me from expanding my reach and taking risks. I wanted to start a coaching business but was stuck on the ledge, afraid to jump. Since hiring my coach, I have gained clarity in my business and am taking concrete action steps to make it happen.
I believe in the power of coaching to help people take their lives to the next level in any area they may be struggling. A coach will make the road from where you are to where you want to be so much easier to navigate by offering accountability, support, and shortcuts.
I also joined Marie Forleo’s B-School in 2015, which was a major leap of faith for me, and it was the best money and time I ever spent regarding my own growth, connection with other like-minded entrepreneurs and business education!
I am developing the habits of a 6-Figure Entrepreneur and stepping into that life. For me to move from one way of life into another or to take my life experience or income to the next level, I choose new habits of mind, body, and spirit. As my new habits become a way of life, I will reach for new levels of success, which will require me to identify and integrate new behaviors.
What are some habits you need to adjust, adopt or let go of?
Share in the comments below and I would love to offer support and accountability for you on your journey to success!