I have some pretty bad habits. Overeating. Saying "yes" when I know I should say "no". Letting people take advantage of my forgiving and patient nature.
For decades, I beat myself up about this. I would swing wildly from one extreme to the other.
Instead of overeating, I began zealously weighing myself multiple times a day, counting calories, and restricting myself to under 500 calories a day. A day!
Instead of saying yes, I would just say no. I would get seriously, aggressively angry at anyone who asked me for anything.
Instead of letting people take advantage of me, I'd tell them off rudely and never speak to them again (or worse, I'd let them walk all over me and then secretly resent them and not speak to them, without addressing the actual problem).
Yeah. I had some growing up to do.
I'm still not great at saying no. Overeating is still an issue I struggle with. And I still have a few people in my life that take advantage of my personality, though those are fewer and farther between, and I'm much better at asserting myself and saying, "No, I don't deserve you treating me like this."
As you read this, you're probably glancing around, trying to be discrete, because you know you have a few of these yourself. You might be in denial about it. You might know you have these habits and want to change them, but you have no idea how.
And perhaps, like me, you're dealing with some pretty heavy stuff that now has a direct affect on your health.
So, this begs the question... What the heck do you do about it?
First, you have to recognize that it's a problem. As long as you refuse to acknowledge that you're hurting yourself with your negative patterns, absolutely nothing else I can say will help you. Just beyond recognition, is the desire to change. If you ain't got that, baby, you ain't makin' a change. It's just that simple.
How do you recognize a negative pattern? Any activity that you do over and over, either with physical action, thoughts or passive allowing is a pattern. When that activity makes you feel physically, mentally or emotionally uncomfortable, it's negative.
I'm not talking about how your muscles ache after a good workout uncomfortable. I'm talking about how uncomfortable you are after eating a third helping of birthday cake. For breakfast. I'm talking about curling up in bed and crying for four hours after you let a "friend" dump on you and cancel plans with you. For the 10 straight time. Because they wanted to hang out with someone else. And you smiled and said, "Sure, no problem!"
Second, you have to make the judgment call: Is this issue severe enough that you need professional help.
Let's be super clear here: I'm a great cheerleader. I can dish out tough love with the best of 'em. And I can ask the right questions to prompt action. But I am not a medical or mental health professional. If your negative pattern is serious enough that your life and health are in immediate danger, start with your own professional care team. Then come talk to me. Bring me their recommendations, and let's talk about how I can help you reach the goals you and your physician or therapist agree on.
Set yourself some goals. Get yourself an accountability partner (or 10). Hire yourself a coach or mentor that will help you define your goals and build up some gumption to pursue them seriously. (Psst... I'm opening up some slots for client mentoring and goal support very, very soon. Get on my mailing list for first dibs on new offerings as they come out.)
Where you go from that point depends largely on what patterns you need to change or rewrite. Your best bet is to replace the negative patterns with healthier, positive patterns. Be gentle with yourself. This is not a race to the finish, and you will not change overnight.
Last week, I launched a Facebook accountability group for women who are tackling big goals. Whether you are trying to lose weight, start exercising, start rewarding yourself or launching a book or business, come on over and join us.
Want to know how to make S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals? Sign up here for my free email series, "Creating S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Goals." You'll get one email a day for nine days. Each email walks you through another step of this process. Sign up today, and start reaching your SMARTER goals tomorrow.