How many times have you decided to get into shape, put on your shoes and gofor a walk, but you didn’t. ?

How many times you knew you shouldn’t eat the last piece of the cake and you still ate it?
Sounds familiar?
I have done it more times than I want to admit. Changing my bad habits is not an easy task, I find it to be very challenging again and again.
One thing I’ve learned a while back is that if I change my habits, I will change my life – easy to say…. but how do I change a behavior and manage to keep it for a life time?
hammm, good question.
While trying to figure this out, I stumble on a book that actually does a great job explaining this phenomena. The book is “The Power of Full Engagement ; Managing energy not your time is the key to High Performance and Personal renewal” By Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz.
You should go read the book to understand how to manage your energy, but what was fascinating for me what the section on Values.
The authors claims that it is more likely to keep a promise to yourself, or change a habit IF you have a certain set of values that are in your head the whole time.
Let me give an example – one the the habit I am trying to break is – brushing my teeth before going out of my room to take care of the children, and not after they leave.
To do that, I need to remember every morning that this is what I want to do, and it is OK to do it.
This might sounds silly, but what I feel when I don’t jump out of my bed and rush to take care of the kids, is that I am not a good mom.
So, I would like to create a system to feel good about getting up and taking care of my teeth first.
In the book, the authors argue that every action we make needs to be related to a value we believe in. It is more likely for us to keep the promise to ourselves, if we feel connected to a bigger value we are holding.
So, going back to my example, the value I think I need to set for myself is – Self Care.
Self care for me means – I am taking care of myself first, so I will have the energy for my family, work, community.
So, If I get up in the morning rushing to take care of the kids, I feel that i didn’t even have a minute for myself before jumping into making lunches, nursing the baby, making sure every body is ready for school etc.
So, with the value of Self care I can feel that I am truthful to myself, and it’s OK to take the 3 min in the morning to feel better when I leave the room.
I believe, just like the book says, that I will be able to keep this every morning, without feeling guilty WHEN I am thinking of the value of self care when I am doing it/not doin it. I might slip some days, but in the long run I will be able to change the habit and it will become a part of me.
For moms, I found it is very challenging to put themselves first. We are always needed to do something for someone, to listen to someone, get something for the family. The challenge is to make sure that you are being taken care of first, and then take care of everyone else.
A good exercises from the book (Page 141) to help you identify your values are :
  • Jump ahead to the end of your life. What are the most important lessons you have learned and why are they so critical?
  • Think of someone that you deeply respect. Describe three qualities in this person that you most admire.
  • Who are you at your best?
  • What one sentence inscription would you like to see on your tombstone that would capture who you really were in your life?

When you take the time (and it does take some time!!!) to answer those questions, you might find that some of the values are coming up again and again.

Look into these, and ask yourself :” How is my behavior is in line with my values? ”

If it does, great.
If it doesn’t – think of 3 small steps you can take to start and shift your action connect to the values. Every time you are doing something you are not sure about, ask yourself ” how does that fits with my valve of……”
I think you will be amazed with some of your discoveries, give it a try and tell me about your findings, I would love to hear them.
Have a great valued day! Relli