I’m about to tell you something that will blow your mind. Are you sure you’re prepared to read on?
Here it goes:
You are accountable for everything you do.
Ok, maybe not. But, realizing and accepting this did change my life drastically. By no means do I have it all figured out, but I’ve managed to change a lot of my habits in the last year. I don’t think it’ll ever be perfect, but for me it’s a practice worth honing, reevaluating, and living every day.
Here’s a few tips that continue to help me.
Stop using external factors to justify failure.
This was huge for me. If I have a reason why I grabbed takeout — I’m too busy to cook — or haven’t saved any money — I’ve had so many weddings this year — then it’s not really my fault. I’m not a failure, I’m a victim of circumstance.
People with much more hardship have gotten out of way worse situations than me being up until 1am mindlessly scrolling Twitter.
You’re tired, eating poorly, spending too much? Sorry to say, but you chose all of that.
I know it’s scary to imaging failing when you’re actually trying. But, that’s your only option. Say it with me: I’m not a victim. This is my life. No one else is going to do it for me.
You’ve got this.
Write it down.
I know, I know. I’ve said this a million times — and I will again. Writing down the things you want is pivotal to bringing them to life. But are you doing it right?
We’re so results based that we tend to focus on the outcome, and not the path or the reason we want a specific outcome. Simply saying “I want to be asleep by 11pm on work nights” is arbitrary. Why do you want to do that? Instead write down the what you’ll gain and how you’ll get there, starting with an affirming statement. “I go to bed by 11pm during the week, so I can enjoy a coffee at home and podcast on the way to work. I’ve set a reminder for 10pm so I stick to it.”
Build a routine around these positive changes.
Setting an alarm to get to bed earlier is easy, but do you make sure to follow through? Build a routine you love, like a bubble bath or a great book. Whatever sounds more enticing than ignoring the buzzing, and carrying on with your scrolling.
Do you want to save for a trip? Gamify saving money by rewarding yourself with a martini night with a friend for every $500 you save.
Fall in love with the actions in your new life, and reap the rewards.
Don’t make promises you know you won’t keep.
In the past, I’ve exaggerated to myself in hopes that even if I fell short I’d land where I should be. But, that never works. I usually wind up going way over the line, and then self-loathe. It’s simply not realistic to say you won’t spend any money or eat any junk food. Be reasonable with yourself.
- “Ugh, I’m so hungover, I’m never going to drink again” becomes “I’m capping my drinks at four tonight.”
- “I’ll only hit snooze once” becomes “You lost your snooze privileges, and the alarm is now in the bathroom.”
- “I’m buying the Costco-sized bag because it’s more economical” becomes “You’ll curb your craving with a personal-sized portion.”
When you start having those small victories, you feel empowered. For me, I stopped beating myself up for missing those (impossible) goals, and can live guilt-free and proud of the small accomplishments.
We’re brought up to please people, especially women, and only recently have I understood that self-love isn’t selfish. Say no to things that don’t help you. Put yourself as a priority so you can be the best version of yourself for the people you love.
There’s immense power in saying no, because it means you’re saying yes to yourself. Even if for an hour with a glass of wine and trash television, you deserve it.
Stop saying you’re fine.
This is the toughie. As humans we’re programmed to be ok if we aren’t experiencing an imminent threat.
Does this sound familiar? “I mean, I should go to the gym but what’s one session going to do? I’ll be fine.” Yes, you will be. Missing once isn’t a big deal, but missing once twenty times…
How about? “I said I’d make it home for dinner with my boyfriend, but I’m on a roll here, we don’t have reservations and I want to finish.” Sure, do that once and he should understand and support you — but does it happen often? What are your priorities and your long-term desires?
Our life is shaped by millions of little moments: we aren’t our intentions, we’re our actions.
Do you want your life to be fine, or do you want your life to be great?
No one else is going to do it for you.