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6 steps to creating fail proof goals & habits

Inspiration to set goals and habits.

I was so inspired by all the motivation I saw on my Instagram feed last week, the first week of a New Year. It seemed each post was filled with determination, clarity, and focus. I read grit in those posts.

For me the start of something new is exciting and challenging. I’m on fire because a part of me is addicted to new and change. I’m much less inspired to keep moving forward when that newness wears off or when others fall off the excitement wagon, or simply….when the plan turns down a difficult path.

Quitting when it’s hard

When Andrew was younger, he overheard me telling his brothers I planned to fast on that particular day.

“Mom, I’ll fast with you today!”

A couple hours later, I found him in the kitchen enjoying a snack.

“Andrew, I thought you were fasting with me today?”

“Oh, I decided to fast until I got hungry.” He turned his attention back to his fast turned feast without skipping a beat.

I can relate to Andrew. Without the proper mindset before moving down that path, at the first bump, I’m ready to jump off the wagon.

How long does it take to create a new habit?

I’m currently listening to the audible version of Your Best Year Ever by Michael Hyatt.

In his book he talks about the lack of science behind the idea of a new habit taking 21, 30, or some variation of these days to create. The rest of what he explained in this chapter really stirred my mind to think about the habits I’ve created and the ones I’ve wanted to create which I’ve failed at.

The struggle is real

I began thinking about the people who have reached out to me about wanting to get healthy and how they’ve tried and failed so many times they don’t want to fail again. My heart aches because I know the genuine struggle they are facing.

I can see how we could feel hopeless if we expect a habit to take root after a mere 20, 30, or 40 days. Maybe some do. But not the more challenging ones.

As I underwent the torture of allowing heated wax to cool and rip off my eyebrows, I chatted with the gal about habits and such. We talked about our sleep habits.

She asked how many hours I sleep and I told her how I am asleep by 10 and wake at 5:00.

“Is it easy to get up at 5:00?”

Before I answered her, I paused. It’s easy for me now. But it wasn’t easy when I started to create the habit.

In fact, it was so difficult I knew I needed to handle it like I would handle a very important priority. If I had a client meeting or a doctor’s appointment, it would go on my calendar. I would set my mind that I would make that appointment. There was no doubt about it. However unpleasant it might seem, I would show up.

When I gave birth to my 2nd son, I struggled to find time to read my Bible and pray. I realized if it was going to happen, I needed to wake before my kids. Because once they were up, I was done with any hope of quiet time. Plus, I found when I had time to wake, reflect, read, and pray before I stepped into mothering, I was a much better mom.

6 steps to creating habits that stick

Step 1: Schedule it. I scheduled my wake up time on my calendar. Literally. I wrote in every day: 6:00 am Quiet time with God. Set a reminder on your phone or your work calendar or whatever you use to help you remember.

Step 2: Set the environment. The night before, I set the environment so nothing would hinder my time. I set the coffee to brew at 5:55 am. I had my Bible, a journal, and a pen at my chair. I’d light a candle, turn on a lamp, cozy with a blanket and cup of coffee.

Step 3: Set your mind. I didn’t give myself an out. I didn’t say “If I’m not tired, I’ll get up.” I’d always be tired. And satan will do anything to get in the way of this appointment. Tired or not, I’d already determined I was getting up. (PS. Days I failed at this, God woke me anyway.)

Step 4: Refuse failure. I failed some days for sure. But I refused to give up saying it wasn’t for me. I just tried again the next day.

Step 5: Give grace for falls. Falls aren’t failures. It’s a stumble. Get up and keep going. Rather than beat myself for the times I chose sleep, I told myself I did a great job on several days. Now, I could build on those successful days.

Step 6: Move the bar. Over time, I set my alarm earlier and earlier. I now wake at 5:00. But when I first started it was 6:00.

You know it took me years for this habit to become so much a part of me and my life that I never even think about it now. Years, my friends. Not 30 days. Not 1 year. Years.

We quit too soon.

Most things worth doing take time.

Is it easy?

So when I answered my wax gal, I told her it wasn’t easy when I started, and it took me years to create a faithful habit. But yes, now it’s very easy. My body wakes on its own. I race to meet with God each morning because I know He is faithfully waiting for me and our intimate morning appointments.

Part of why I race to Him is the fact I’ve come to know Him differently now. I now understand He isn’t shaking His head in shame at me when I failed to meet Him with my coffee in hand. Instead, He touched my shoulder, pulled me tight, and said, “I love you. You can’t make me love you more or less. I’m faithful, not dependent on your faithfulness.”

Hearing His whispers of love, I’d raise my eyes back to Him. No need to hide in shame over my failures. He loves me despite my shortcomings. He’s perfection when I’m not. He’s love when I’m not. He’s everything I need. And over years of spending time with just Him and Him alone, I’ve come to know Him in ways I never knew Him before.

As I’m finishing up Michael Hyatt’s book, I’m learning the difference in types of goals. He says some goals are not achievement goals, rather they are habit goals. It’s good to have both, but not too many. Too many diverts our focus.

That’s what typically happens to me in a new year. I go too wide and too strong. Then I quit.

He also talks about making the goal specific. Christy Wright talks about this quite a bit as well. Both emphasize not making goals so general. Instead of “get healthy”, make it “Drink 4 glasses of water by noon.” Make it specific, set time limits on it.

One of my habit goals for this year is weekly writing. I used to write all the time, but now I’m running 2 businesses and homeschooling. So, writing takes a backseat. But writing is a passion of mine. It’s good for my soul. It’s a creative outlet.

I want to write once a week in a free flowing way. With no real agenda. Just me and pen and paper.

Rather than my past goal of “write more”, I’m setting a specific goal with time frames. “Write every Saturday morning from 6:00am to 8:00am.”

How about you?

Do you have a habit goal you want to create this year?

Can I suggest writing it down? Just focus on one right now. Don’t look at this big whole year of 2019. Just look at this month. What’s one new habit goal you’d like to set?

  • Make it specific
  • Set a time frame
  • Write action steps.
  • Make those steps small steps. Not giant leaps. Baby steps.

Babies stumble and fall. But eventually they walk on their own.

When you begin taking your baby steps, you will stumble, trip, and fall.

Just get up and keep trying.

Falls aren’t failures. They are simply opportunities for do-overs.

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Maybe one of your habits is a daily time with God. Or maybe it’s reading more this year. Or maybe you’d like to grow in your faith and get to know God better. I have a resource just for you. And it’s 100% do-able. In fact, it’s only 14 days long, about 10 minutes a day.

I’ve written Illuminate – Seeing God by the Light of His Word as a 14 day devotional to help you overcome your fears, anxieties, and worries by learning to focus on who God is before you focus on what He does. It changes everything.

Illuminate is available in 2 formats: audio and ebook. Both are only $10 and yours forever.

The audio version comes with a pdf transcript and arrives once per day over 14 days in your email inbox. The ebook version is a full download you receive right away.

How to overcome the overwhelm, achieve your goals, and celebrate victory

 

The last time I posted, I told you I’d share some stories I’ve not shared here before. I feel it’s important to understand some of these stories in order to see where God is leading me now. I also think that in simply sharing these stories, you will find your “me too” moments.

A reader wrote me an email in regards to my post about saying Never. What spoke to her was my admission to my Coke addiction a few years ago. Actually I had a couple people connect with that one. This reader was quite surprised I had a Coke problem.

“I recall that from time to time you’ve referenced talking a walk or a run for exercise.  So in my mind, I just think you’re one of those ‘skinny, healthy, exercising’ people and I allow that to create distance, even if only in my own heart and mind.  I believe this division in my mind is another tactic from our enemy.  He would like nothing more than to cause me to feel strange, ashamed, unable, different, and unworthy.  So, I think that’s why your (seemingly offhanded) comment about Coca-Cola spoke to me.  It was a ‘me too’ moment.” Blog Reader

Ya’ll this struck me straight in the heart. I’ve tossed it around for days now because actually I relate to what she is saying. When I see people posting their beastly workouts or their incredibly out of this world healthy meal, I feel just like this reader. I immediately find I can’t relate to that person. I really dislike exercising. It’s really not fun at all to me. I only do it because I know it’s critical to a healthy life. But I haven’t always exercised.

I only eat healthy (now) because I’ve been working for 13 years on it. And I’ve only just now found something that helps make this so much easier. But it’s been a struggle. (If you want info on what I’ve found, just hit reply to this email or the contact form on the blog. I shared a little on Instagram yesterday.)

Well-meaning people post their healthy lifestyles out of excitement and victory. But at times we receive it in shame, embarrassment, and failure.

My journey started with one conversation. My sister’s friend. She shared about her leaky gut….13 years ago when this was almost unheard of. I mean it existed but no one was talking about it.

I remember the one change I made was how I grocery shopped. To that point, if it were sold at the grocery store, I considered it food. I had no idea what was put in our food. I had no idea that FDA approved doesn’t mean it’s safe or intended to be in our bodies. I had no idea that 75% of what I put in my buggy was actually fighting against me. I had no clue. Until my friend shared her knowledge.

I remember beginning to research and wondering how I’d not known these things my whole life. I remember feeling guilty. I also remember feeling powerless on a daily basis. I felt overwhelmed. How could I “get healthy”?

Another friend asked me what goals I had. She asked me this because I often complained about the state of my health, yet I’d swing through the drive-through or eat the 2nd – or 3rd- piece of chocolate cake. I had 3 goals at that time.

  1. Have a daily quiet time
  2. Drink water (I only drank Coke all day long until after my 2nd son was born.)
  3. Exercise

But guys, this seemed like it was too big to accomplish. I focused first on water. A friend gave me an action plan and held me accountable to it.

Having a friend journey with us makes all the difference. Someone to cheer us on and push us forward.

My friend gave me a plan for how to drink water. I hated the taste of it. I’d pour a glass and “sip” all day making no dent. I’d fill a giant water bottle and stare at it hoping it would supernaturally get into my body.

Here’s the plan she put me on:

  • Wake up and chug a small 8 oz glass of water. Don’t sip. Chug.
  • 8:00 am chug another 8 oz
  • 10:00 am chug
  • Lunch – Reward myself with a Coke after drinking 3 glasses of water.
  • Follow same plan to afternoon
  • Reward 2nd coke after accomplishing afternoon tasks
  • Evening follow same plan

Focusing on small action steps gave me exactly what I needed to take a step in the right direction. For years I spent time focusing on the end goal with no attention paid to what to do to get there because it was too overwhelming.

Small bites. Small steps. Small glasses chugged.

I focused on only that one day. And not even the whole day initially. I segmented the day into thirds, focusing on 1/3 at a time. When I made it through the first 1/3 I felt elated.

Here’s what really began to happen after about a month. When I arrived at my lunchtime reward, I chose to bypass the Coke. When my body was filled with what truly satisfied, my cravings for what harms me decreased. When I had water in my body, I felt more awake and alert. I had more energy. I didn’t want to negate the progress so I stuck with it.

Over the course of time, my 4-5 Cokes a day became 1. Then it became only when eating out. Then it became only when eating pizza or mexican. And then it became never at all.

I have total freedom to drink a Coke. At this point, years later, I don’t have the mindset that I can’t have a Coke. But the desire is totally gone. The taste literally makes me gag. If you told me that years ago I would have doubled over laughing at you.

6 Simple steps to overcome the overwhelm

1. Write down your goal. Be specific not vague. Don’t write “get healthy”. In my case it was “drink 8 glasses of water a day”.

2. Write down specific action steps. I’ve been known to think things will just happen. I trusted in God without participating. Writing how I would drink that water gave me a plan rather than a simple hope that would lead to discouragement and frustration.

3. Have an accountability partner. My friend checking up on me forced me to follow my action steps. I wanted to make her proud.

4. Celebrate the small victories. Then prepare to celebrate the big win.

5. Pay attention. Change happens over time. Often we don’t notice the change because it’s gradual. Spend time looking back and marveling at how far you’ve come. My son struggles to read. Often he focuses on his current struggle and I remind him to look back at where he was a year ago. It doesn’t compare. We have to focus on how far we’ve come then keep on moving.

6. Focus on this moment and this day only. Your goal is longer term, but you just focus on victory for today. Looking at victory forever is overwhelming. His grace is for today. Rest in his daily grace to guide you one step at a time.

So yesterday I posted on Instagram a post I never thought you’d see me post. Remember that whole never say never thing? Y’all we say we shouldn’t say that but we still keep doing it. I have a lot of pride the Lord continues to work right on out of me.

If you aren’t following me on Instagram, I’d love to connect with you over there. It’s the only social media platform I’m currently on. I can offer a little more personal insights and more frequent postings. Here’s my post:

This is my humble pie eating post 🙂 You may be rolling your eyes. I did. Or you may be thinking “That is totally unhealthy and nothing but a fad.” I did.

Gonna be honest, my pride kept me from paying attention a long time ago.

In 1 month:
-My sugar cravings are gone. This is a miracle almost as big as the water to wine.
-I don’t crash at 2:00 & 7:00pm anymore. I have normal, healthy, stable energy all the live long day. No afternoon coffee needed.
-My thinking is clearer and sharper. I’m not forgetting all the little things anymore.
-Not only are my sugar cravings gone, but all cravings are gone. Saying no to unhealthy choices is actually easier when your body is balanced! Who knew??? -All my bloating disappeared. A month ago I couldn’t button a single pair of shorts from last year. I didn’t need to lose weight and didn’t. But all my shorts fit comfortably now! (People who want to lose weight drink it before meals. I drink it after I eat my full meal.)

God made me in such a way that when I love something, I tell everyone. I can’t hold the goodness inside. We were meant to live for others not ourselves.

I did a business similar but not nearly as generous years ago. I promoted to the 2nd highest level of the company, earned the Mercedes, and replaced my CPA income. It was the tool God used in our life to answer the prayer we’d prayed for 2 years – “God, make a way for me to stay home with our kids.” I know it works when you believe and share. It changed our life forever.

Here’s my question for you: Are you looking for something to help you on your journey to a healthier lifestyle? If yes, DM me. I won’t “sell” you anything. I’ll share what I know and trust the Lord to lead you where you need to be.

Here’s my 2nd question: Are you looking for a way to create a 2nd stream of income? Just a couple hundred dollars a month? Or bigger dreams like 10s of 1000s extra a month.
I desire to be a funnel of God’s blessings in all areas of my life – my health, gifts/talents, and finances.

I believe God has led me to this place to lead a team passionate about health and pouring out God’s blessings on the world around us. Join me?

So here’s where I am right now. I’m sharing my heart with you here on the blog. I’m running an online store while working to place physical products in stores. And I’ve started to build a business sharing what I’ve discovered as a breakthrough for people desiring a healthier lifestyle.

Some people are doing all the “right” things but there is a root issue not addressed. They can eat clean, exercise, but still can’t figure out why they have stomach issues, bloating, sugar cravings, migraines, fatigue, etc. And some people desire to do the right things for their health and need someone to come alongside them to encourage them to fight for more willpower.

I’ve been in both of these places which is why I’m passionate to help others.

If this post resonates with you and you want help in this area, please reach out to me. I’d love to help you along your journey and share what I’m learning with you!

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One small step

 

When it comes to our family histories or our current family situations, we all start from a different place.  No matter your past, you have the ability to change the future for your own family if you so desire.  Maybe you don’t need to do anything different from what you grew up with, but you feel that you are failing on doing as well of a job as your own family did with you as a child.   You want to create the same relationships with your children that your parents created with you.  Or you want to create better relationships with your kids than what you grew up with.

Life today is different from even just one generation ago.  More distractions, a busier lifestyle, and a faster pace of life make it more difficult to carve out time and space to really connect with our loved ones.

I love Nike’s “Just Do It” motto.  If you want to do it, it’s simple, just do it.  Well, we may not always feel capable of just doing it.  Life can be more complicated than we would prefer at times.  Though you may not feel that you can “just do it” in making a change in your family, you can just do something.

  • Set a goal–  What is your goal?  The most succesful people in making positive changes in their lives are goal setters.  Not only will they set a goal, they will write it down.  Studies show that when we write down our goal, we are exponentially more likely to accomplish that goal than if we don’t write it down.  It is important to be realistic  with your goal.  Set a goal worth setting, but don’t make it impossible to reach.  With each goal reached, you can always set a new goal.
  • Be intentional–  You know you want to create moments in time that your family will treasure.  So you must be intentional with your time or your time will vanish into thin air before you realize it.  Make a plan for what you want to do with the time you will carve out.  Figure out how you can carve out the time you want.  Does your family regularly eat on the road between activities and you desire to have regular family meals?  Look at your calendars and schedules, determine what can be eliminated or shifted around, make your goal the priority, and make it happen.
  • Act on it–  You’ve set your goal, you’ve intentionally carved out the time and made your plan to achieve your goal.  Now act on it.  Put it into action.
  • Take one small step everyday- You can’t reach your goal overnight, and you shouldn’t try.  When we are impatient in the process of reaching our destination, we often will become frustrated and throw our hands up thinking it is impossible to make the change.  But if you take one small step every day, you will be amazed when you reach your goal and look back on  all that was accomplished.

My oldest son just completed 2nd grade.  One of his nightly assignments was to read 10 pages.  He is a lover of books, so I thought this would be a breeze.  Until our schedules kicked into full gear and he was exhausted from a full day of school, chores, activities, etc.   However, he remained diligent to read nightly.  At the end of the year the teacher handed out scrolls to each of the children to show them how many pages they read over the entire school year.  Each child was blown away by the results.  They couldn’t believe that reading a simple 10 pages a day, could amount to thousands of pages collectively.  One student read 5,800 pages!  My son read 1,302 pages and was so proud of himself.  What  a great lesson for them to learn so early that when we set our minds to something and act on it daily, great things can be accomplished.

One small step a day.  Given time you will reach the top of that stairway, grab ahold of your goal, and realize it was worth every small step taken to get there.

Resources for goal setting:

http://www.goal-setting-guide.com/step-5-write-your-goal-down

http://family-life.familieswithpurpose.com/setting-family-goals/

http://blog.mysanantonio.com/stepfaniebishop/2012/05/creating-summer-goals-for-your-family/

Resources for being intentional with your family:

http://www.focusonthefamily.com/radio.aspx?ID=%7BD016C451-E6DE-443A-A32D-BC038A2AA02D%7D

http://www.hiphomeschoolmoms.com/2012/04/being-intentional/