How to Start Implementing Better Habits

How to Start Implementing Better Habits

Hello, my name is Kelsey and I am an addict (*everyone replies in slow, monotone unison, “Hi, Kelsey”). I have a very addictive personality and I am addicted to my bad habits. I am addicted to eating junk food, sitting on my very comfortable couch, zoning out to hours of TV, watching endless YouTube videos, and scrolling through social media… the list goes on and on! When I go to my favorite restaurant, I will almost always order what I had the previous time. I am triggered by certain times of days and certain places to crave a snack or soda I have had there before. Now some of these habits would not necessarily be that bad if it weren’t for the obsessive way in which I do them.  

Change, as it would seem, is very uncomfortable for me. And that I think is the epitome of my addiction. I am addicted to being comfortable. I subconsciously do not want to change anything in my life that would make me feel out of place or anxious. I want to wrap myself up in a cozy blanket with a Dr. Pepper and a brownie and pretend like everything I want in life will somehow begin tomorrow without me having actually to do anything. 

Yes, I am probably…who are we kidding, I am addicted to sugar and I spend way too much time on my couch completely absorbed in my phone. However, I think the deeper issue is not that I am habituated to sugary foods and TV, but that I hide behind them. None of these habits are conducive to the life that I want. I want to lose weight and have a toned body that doesn’t jiggle too much when in a bathing suit. I want to feel healthy and energized. I want to crave food that is nourishing. I want to be motivated to work on a project and learn a new skill. 

All these things take effort and a certain amount of discomfort. At least at first, they do. So, instead of embracing the discomfort, I hide behind the familiar that is taking me further and further away from where I want to be. Why do I do this? I know what I should do. I know I shouldn’t eat brownies and drink Dr. Pepper all the time. I know I should turn off the TV and do something more productive with my time. But I don’t. Why not?

Maybe I am afraid of trying and failing. Maybe I am afraid of reaching my goals and being happy, only to inevitably have something bad happen. Woah, I just got philosophical and deep on ya there. My bad. Although, I think this is a REALLY big reason why a lot of people, yours truly included, don’t go after their goals. We are afraid. Many times, in my life I have had a burst of motivation and inspiration to change something for the better, only to have it crushed a minute later by the very loud voices in my head called cynicism and self-doubt. Man, those voices are depressing!

One time I convinced myself that I was going to follow this diet and exercise plan that promised to change my body and health. I bought (like actually paid money) into the program and got my meal plan, grocery list, and exercises sent to my email. I kid you not, 30 minutes later I decided that it wasn’t for me, I was not going to do it. I mean if that isn’t a hit-yourself-on-the-forehead- what-am-I-doing moment, I don’t know what is. All of that lovely, really productive thinking was done while sitting on the couch…in front of the TV…on my phone, by the way. Unfortunately…I have several other experiences like this.

I give up before I start. That way I haven’t failed because I haven’t done anything to fail at. I stay in my comfort bubble where nothing new or scary can change anything or turn my world upside down. This is a very illogical mindset. Just because I have not tried does not mean that I’m not failing. I fail every day I let self-doubt and fear rule my life. Staying in my comfort zone does not mean that bad things won’t happen. It does mean, 100%, missing out on opportunities for self-growth and improvement. 

I need to shift my perspective and stop listening to those feckless voices in my head. To do that I need to start with distancing myself from these bad habits I use as a crutch. I know, I know. Easier said than done. I’m not saying that I will never watch TV again or look at my phone or touch a brownie. What I am saying is that I need to remove certain things from my daily life for an extended period until they are no longer an addiction but an occasional indulgence. I need to bring and maintain all-around healthier habits into my life. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

One of the ways I am implementing better habits into my daily routine is by setting small, realistic weekly goals. Every Sunday, I write out a few goals into different categories for the week in a planner. I use different categories like ‘professional’, ‘personal’, and ‘craft’ because it helps keep me organized and it looks less daunting when they are broken up into groups instead of a long list.

I’ve started with simple goals that I know I can achieve in a week. Some of my previous weekly goals looked like this:

Personal

  • Take Sophie (one of my dogs) for a walk in the morning before work 2-3 times this week
  • Wake up before 6:00 am Monday-Friday  

Professional

  • Read 100 pages of September Book Blub book
  • Create a Pinterest account

Craft

  • Read 50 pages of “Write Smart Write Happy” by Cheryl St. John to improve my writing skills

At the end of every day or the next morning, I will write down what I did that day to work towards achieving my goals. For instance:

Monday

                        AM                                                                              PM

Woke up early                                                                         Created Pinterest account

Walked Sophie                                                                        Read 15 pages of ‘September’ book

Read 10 pages of ‘craft’ book

On Sunday, I will look back over my week and see if I have achieved all my goals or which ones I need to work on still. Creating these small, achievable weekly goals as well as writing them down every day is very motivating to me. Visually seeing my progress and getting to check off one of my goals at the end of the week as ‘accomplished’ is very satisfying.

If you are looking for a calendar/planner, I have been using this one lately (the 2019 version). What I really like about it is that on one side of the page there is a weekly calendar with lines for writing tasks and to-dos. The other page is blank with lines for writing all my goals and notes. I love having my goals and a weekly calendar right next to each other, so I can easily plan out the things I need to do in the weekly section to reach my goals.

I still think that having bigger, long-term goals is a must but starting with small, somewhat easy goals that lead towards your long-term goal is important. I have tried goal setting in the past, but my goals were always too big too fast, and I was so overwhelmed I quickly gave them up. Being able to mark that goal off at the end of the week is confidence-building and I can start to increase my goals and make them more challenging as I gain more confidence and continue to grow into the lifestyle I want.

Thanks for reading!! Have you ever struggled with self-doubt? Do you have a goal that you dream of accomplishing one day but haven’t been able to start? Do you have the lifestyle that you want? What are some of the obstacles standing in your way?  Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for updates and join my Book Club.

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14 Comments

  1. September 27 2019 / 8:51 pm

    Love your article on creating better habits. I wanted to join your book club, but I didn’t see a sign-up. How do you?

    • Kelsey
      Author
      September 27 2019 / 9:03 pm

      Hi Beth! I’m sorry there is no sign-up as of right now. You can find the book for the upcoming month listed on the Book Club page as well follow me on Instagram where the books are listed and announced as well. September book review coming soon!

  2. September 29 2019 / 12:50 pm

    Great post! Wishing you much success in accomplishing your goals. I always seem to have a million things I want to accomplish but there are only so many hours in a day sigh. I will have to se where I can fit some more in.

  3. September 29 2019 / 1:13 pm

    Hi Kelsey! I’m new to your blog and I love it! I am a blogger as well and this post is very helpful to me! Most of the time I get overwhelmed because I have a lot to do and then end up doing none of it haha. I’m glad to know I’m not alone in trying to make better habits!
    -Rachel

    • Kelsey
      Author
      September 30 2019 / 10:29 pm

      Hi Rachel! Ah, thank you!! I’m glad it was helpful to you – you are definitely not alone! 🙂

  4. September 29 2019 / 1:40 pm

    Great post! Like you, I’m considering my addictions and how to break free. I love your encouragement to identify small steps to put into practice.

    • Kelsey
      Author
      September 30 2019 / 10:33 pm

      Hi Beth! Thank you, yes small steps are so important. Thanks for reading!

  5. Hannah
    September 29 2019 / 1:40 pm

    This is such a great post! I agree with taking Sunday’s to check in with yourself and see if you’re completing your goals or not. Great post!

    • Kelsey
      Author
      September 30 2019 / 10:34 pm

      Thank you 🙂 Always good to check in with yourself!

  6. September 29 2019 / 11:12 pm

    My problem is a little bit different. I generally struggle with starting something and never completing it. I was really happy when I got any draft of my blog out at all. I’m hoping to track my progress using my blog as well, so maybe I’ll bookmark yours to see how things are going for you as well.

    • Kelsey
      Author
      September 30 2019 / 10:36 pm

      I have definitely struggled with starting something and not following through as well. Definitely check back – I would love to follow your progress as well!!

  7. March 26 2020 / 3:04 am

    Needed this post today. It’s been such a struggle for me to get things rolling in 2020. It’s like, life makes other plans on top of my plans causing mine to completely unravel. Thanks for this article and the blush planner is so me! 😍

    • Kelsey Castleberry
      Author
      March 26 2020 / 1:36 pm

      I am definitely feeling that too these days. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and I am glad you found this post helpful!

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