Habits To Cultivate Your Life
Have you paused to consider your goals and what habits to cultivate to reach them? Have you really taken a moment to consider what it is you want in your life? Do your actions and how you spend your time serve these goals? Often, as we go through our daily tasks and to-do lists, it can be easy to lose sight of our why. Why are doing anything in the first place? That brings me to the first of several habits to cultivate.
Think about words that motivate you. Words you can feel in your core, words that matter to you. These words define your values, what you may be working towards or are trying to change. Traditional “resolutions” are typically actions or results that we desire. We need to dig deeper and find what motivates us in the first place. What is your why?
You can set intentions daily, weekly or monthly. As you go through moments in your day, periodically take stock and consider if your thoughts + actions are aligned with your intentions. Some examples of intentions are self-love, acceptance, kindness, gratitude, strength, courage, and vulnerability.
Perhaps we set “self-care” as an intention and want to get more exercise. What specific actions will you take to achieve your goal to be more active and bring more movement into your life?
It is easy to stick to absolute goals for a short period of time, but soon enough, we get too busy and fall off the wagon, and our goal to exercise every day for an hour seems so overwhelming that we give up. I know I’m guilty of this. So what can we do to avoid this?
Set SMART goals.
SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound) goal setting involves setting short term goals and long-term goals as well as goals that are specific and attainable. Consider writing them down and use the framework below to set short term and long term goals that build on each other. Here is an example of SMART goal setting using the framework below:
Short term: “I will walk briskly for 10 mins 3 days a week and will achieve this within 3 weeks.”
Long term: “I will walk briskly for 30 mins 5 days a week and will achieve this within 2 months”
S: Specific- “walk briskly”
M: Measurable- “10 mins 3 days a week”
A: Attainable- start with goals that are easy to reach & build on them
R: Relevant or realistic- consider why it matters to you & set goals that are achievable within the framework of your current life!
T: Time-bound- Set a timeline by which you plan to achieve the goal
Know that it is perfectly normal to stop and start when making lifestyle changes and creating new habits. It’s a journey, not a destination! The key is to come back to it rather than give up because you were not “perfect”.
Celebrate your wins!
We put so much pressure on ourselves as women who wear so many hats! Life is a juggling act to say the least. We are doing our best and it is normal for certain things to fall to the side while others take priority. The key to lasting change and successful habits is to know that we don’t have to be perfect. It is too easy to focus on what we didn’t accomplish, what we didn’t get done, and what we didn’t achieve. We are a work in progress and we absolutely deserve to celebrate our wins. Progress is the goal here, not perfection!
The next habit is the hardest for most women. It might feel selfish and it goes against what the majority of us were taught to do. On top of that, it is in opposition to what most of us have seen our moms, aunts and other women doing in our culture. Selflessness is worn as a badge of honor when in reality, it should not be.
Make YOU a priority every day.
Can we give ourselves permission to make our needs a priority? We give and give to everyone else. What happens when our cup runs dry? Isn’t one of the best gifts we can give to others the best version of ourselves?
I have found that when we are flying by the seat of our pants from one thing to another, it is easy to feel completely out of control. Unfortunately, this lack of control often leads to making decisions that “reward” us in ways that don’t really make us feel better in the long run. Anyone familiar with the statement “I deserve this cookie because it’s been a shi**y day”?! Albeit, there is nothing wrong with enjoying a cookie once in a while, but when the reward always become about the sugary treat or a drink, it’s not great!
Can you challenge yourself to take out 10 minutes a day just for you? Do something that nourishes your soul. Maybe you can call a friend, read a book, take a walk or make time to do a short meditation. I know it’s easy to say you don’t have the time, but could it really mean that it’s not a priority? We all have 10 minutes to do something that is just for us. I know mom guilt is real, but mommas, lock the bedroom door while the kids watch a video for 10 minutes. Their brains will not turn to mush in that time!
2020 was quite a year! So here’s hoping 2021 continues to be a year of resilience as we all navigate our way back to “normal life” after having learned some hard lessons. Cheers to habits to cultivate and moving closer to the lives we’ve always envisioned for ourselves!
Dr. Richa Mittal is a physician, wife and mom passionate about intentional living, a holistic approach to health and food as medicine. She is triple boarded in Internal Medicine, Obesity Medicine and Lifestyle Medicine and is the Founder and Medical Director of Radiant Health Weight Loss and Wellness in Frisco, Texas. Her approach to health, is an integrative approach that treats the whole person- combining specialized medical care with customized nutritional guidance, mindset and lifestyle coaching. She is a blogger (subscribe at www.radianthealthdallas.com) and speaker on topics related to metabolic health, weight wellness, plant-based nutrition and strategies for prevention as well as shares healthy recipes that she enjoys creating. Richa resides in the suburbs of Dallas with her husband and two children and enjoys yoga, cooking, reading and travel.