Changing Direction

This week I welcome guest blogger, Rev. Edie DeVilbiss, creator of the Shape Good Habits program. You can find more about her and ways to enhance your journey of self-care on her website:

My husband and I left a conference in Jackson, MS.  We were chattering away about one of the sessions.

Miles down the highway he asked, “Are we on the right road?” He looked puzzled.

“Sure we are!” I said confidently, and went on with whatever I had been saying.  I’d traveled this road before, I knew what I was doing.

A half-an-hour later, he said, “Are you sure we’re on the right road?”

We were not.

He admitted, he knew the first time he asked.  He didn’t insist because he didn’t want to irritate me. 

When is the best time to change direction?  As soon as you realize that it needs to be changed!

With our habits it can feel overwhelming to recognize that something needs to change.  And, when we do, we can spend too long deciding how to redirect.

The time is now.

In my Shape Good Habits program, I teach people to start now, start small, and start with one.

  • Start now:  There are hurdles here. We say things like, “I don’t know what to do.” or “I don’t know how.” or “I don’t have time.”
  • Start small:  Choose a less-than-five-minute baby step on the way to your larger goal.
  • Start with one:  This is the only habit for now.  When it is established, a new habit can be added.  It turns out that consistency is more important than quality or quantity when it comes to these little steps.

I invite you to try this new habit first: Once a day, sit still and quiet and pay attention to breathing for five minutes or fewer.  Set a timer.  Simple.  Easy.  You already know how to sit and breathe.  You have five minutes a day for your health. 

Post reminders for yourself everywhere.  It works better if it is scheduled.  A way to remember is to connect it with something else you already do.

Power move: connect with an accountability partner. 

A critical element that people miss is that of celebration. Get a calendar and put beautiful check marks or stars every day that you do this.  Tell your accountability partner. 

Power move:  tell your accountability partner when you DON’T follow through too!

This practice builds confidence and puts you on the road to choices and actions that point you in the direction of your dreams.

Beginning a new habit is simple, once you decide. 

We are creatures of habit.  Researchers estimate that 40% of what we do every day is simply habits repeating themselves. Following this strategy helps you leap over that decision hurdle.

According to James Clear, author of “Atomic Habits”, the principles of habit change can be summarized into four steps.

1. Remind yourself all over the place!  Post-it note are fabulous for this!

2. Make it pleasurable.  Take a few moments and feel good about what you’ve done.

3. Make it so small and do-able that it’s a no-brainer.  Have it take so little time and be so easy to accomplish that there is no excuse at all.

4. Celebrate every accomplishment.  When we celebrate even the “not doing,” we are acknowledging that paying attention is the most important thing.  Because it is.

When we realize that our habits are hurting us, we must pay attention and love ourselves into new ones.

Celebrating you in your journey!!

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