This Year Will Be Different—Or So We Thought
It Takes One Hundred Days to Develop a Habit
Over the past week here at BoomerGal we’ve been discussing the various ways to extend kindness and gratitude, especially to ourselves. We’ve paid particular attention to a number of things you can do to promote self-care in addition to encouraging and sponsoring kindness for our friends and family. It’s so easy to get excited and motivated in sticking to all these initiatives, to exercise more, eat healthier, wake up earlier, write more, read more, spend more time with people who matter the most to us, and yet…
After a few weeks, the excuses start rolling in. We lose motivation, we quit, and we slip back into our old bad habits that we’ve tried so hard to change. It’s frustrating because our lack of consistency makes it harder to get from where we are today to where we want to be. A largely unavoidable fact of being human. So why is it we seldom stick to our goals and how can we change this. Let’s take a look and examine, from a BoomerGal perspective.
In 1936 Bill Wilson stumbled into a Manhattan Towers Hospital suffering from a severe case of alcoholism. He would repeatedly tell his family that he could kick the habit, and for a number of reasons would slip back into alcoholic reality. Eventually, through the assistance of his physician William D. Silkworth and a renewed belief in himself, he would overcome the temptation of drinking, and for the next 36 years of his life he would never have another drink of alcohol.
Instead, he dedicated his life to helping other alcoholics break their bad habits through a co-created program that promoted transparency and a new belief system. Today, this program has established itself as the well-known Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)—which helps over 2 million people every year break their addiction through its famous 12-steps in approximately 150 countries worldwide.
I’m not an alcoholic, but there was a time when I was younger that I did suffer from having a few too many drinks when I went out with friends and my BoomerGuy. And then I was involved as an innocent party in a car accident where I ended up having back surgery, and since that day 35 years ago, I haven’t touched a drop of alcohol, and am now famous for being the designated driver. Ha. No longer touching alcohol was a conscious decision that I knew would change my life for the better. Since that time, I have been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus, and although these are debilitating diseases, they don’t get me down because I don’t let them. Can you believe it, I’m stronger than the diseases. I’ve often thought about what secrets enabled me to be so strong, and stick to my healthy habits, because the temptations are always lurking to slip back into old ways. Having given some serious thought to this, I decided that three words summed up this ability: Beliefs, Actions, and Destiny. They are inextricably linked through the following quotation.
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
I’m not sure I have read anything more poignant and awe inspiring than those words. If I take a step back and listen to the voice in my head, both the good and the bad, there is always a belief or self-identity driving my habits.
The point of my rambling: there needs to be an underlying belief in ourselves in order to commit to plans and goals, otherwise our subconscious will take control and sabotage our efforts week after week, month after month, and year after year.
In my opinion, that belief centers around kindness and gratitude, the quintessential theme of this week’s blogs, which I do my very best to practice everyday. If you are centered with these two fundamental beliefs and convictions, then your ability to honestly examine what you need to achieve can be met head on. Otherwise, we will find ourselves slipping back to old habits, because we never addressed the problem at the core first. So I ask you again, how exactly can we create a new belief system and self-identity that will help us stick to our goals, whatever they might be.
It really isn’t that complicated. Sure, you can go to self help books and find 14 chapters on what you should be doing, and at the end of your reading, you’re more confused than ever. KISS—Keep It Simple Stupid. Just focus on two standards that should be part of your everyday life: kindness and gratitude. Follow them, put them into “action” and I can assure you they will give you strength as they have me, and guide you purposely through your days with a much healthier outlook on life.
I am such a believer in the kindness and gratitude paradigms, that I encourage you to be the type of person who does “actions” as if you had already achieved the “goal.” Here’s a simplified example.
GOAL: To Lose Weight.
THE OLD YOU BELIEF: Going to the gym is boring and I don’t have time, I struggle to lose weight.
THE NEW YOU BELIEF: I am the type of person who believes in myself, follows the BoomerGal regime of healthy habits, eats healthy and loses weight.
ACTIONS: Three times a week I wake up at 6 am, immediately drink a glass of water, practice kindness and gratitude throughout the day, and sleep comfortably at 10 pm everyday.
Don’t allow negativity to enter your soul or belief system. Since we are inherently social animals, our brains naturally and unconsciously mimic the moods of those around us. Don’t be lulled into mirroring, where you take on the negative persona of those who you are with. Negative thinkers and believers want us to join their party, so they can feel better about themselves.
To help you, here are two things you can do when you feel the need to be negative. One is to cultivate an attitude of gratitude, shift your attention to something for which you are grateful. Taking time to contemplate what you’re grateful for isn’t merely the right thing to do, it reduces a whole amount of stress, improves your mood and energy and substantially reduces your anxiety level. Anytime you experience negative or pessimistic thoughts, use this as a cue to shift gears and to think about something positive. In time, a positive and grateful attitude will become a way of life.
The second thing you can do is engage in solution-oriented purposing. Yes, that’s a mouthful. If you actually cannot identify a purpose for your negative thoughts or why you might be angry, there’s a good chance you can overcome the desire with more fruitful emotions, like developing a sense of kindness. Put your negative thoughts and emotions aside, and you’ll reap the physical, mental and performance benefits that come with a positive frame of mind.
I like to end my blogs with a summary and a call to action. Meaning, I don’t know all the answers why it’s difficult to achieve all that you set out to do and accomplish. But I do know, from my own life’s experience, that if you follow these two purposes, your life will be happier, more inspired, and you will find it exceedingly easier to stick with your goals and celebrate their success.
EMBRACE KINDNESS! Make it part of your everyday. Take action, make it a habit, one of your really good ones. Make it part of your belief system. Make it count. If you do, your mind will be clear and not cluttered with negative thoughts, and your ability to achieve the things you set out to do on a daily basis will be so much easier to realize.
EMBRACE GRATITUDE! There is no substitute in life for gratitude. It is the essence of our being. If you show gratitude you show humility and kindness. Yes, kindness and gratitude are interlinked, they are inseparable. Everyday get up in the morning and tell yourself what you’re grateful for. It will set the tone for your day, making all things so much more achievable.
Don’t obsess with making a few mistakes, because they will inevitably happen. You may stumble and bruise your knee. But as long as you remember who you are, stay fixed on your belief system, and embrace kindness and gratefulness, you will always stand back up and keep going. What an absolutely marvelous way to look at and experience life.
As your BoomerGal, I challenge you to be an inspiration to yourself and others. The world waits.
“It doesn’t matter if the glass is half-empty or half-full.
All that matters is that you are the one pouring the water.”
Editorial contribution by Mayo Oshin, Linkedin, November 2019, and
Travis Bradberry, Linkedin, November 2019