How Systems Turn Your Self Care Activities Into Habits

 

Systems into habits

There are formulas for everything; how to build furniture, how to rehab homes how to invest, how to help a child build their vocabulary, how to lose weight, cook the best burger, create a blog, like I said…everything.

If for example we want to rehab one home and we’re happy with that, that’s one thing, but if we  want to do it many times, then we’ll soon find out we need a system to most easily put the rehab formula into practice.  If we want to rehab 4 homes in one year it doesn’t behoove us to start from scratch every time.

Systems are what make a formula easily replicable.

Just ask the school teacher that needs to build the vocabulary of 30 kids by the end of the school year, the health coach that needs to help all 20 of clients lose twenty pounds by the end of the month or the fast food chain that needs to make sure their burger tastes the same no matter which restaurant you go to.

 

System For Feeling Good

What if there was a formula that was solely dependent on activities you implemented, that could  guarantee you good feelings and clear thoughts EVERY time you did them? Would you want to know what kind of daily systems you need in place to easily replicate that formula ?

 

Automating the Burger

In the same way that fast food chains can guarantee you the same meal no matter which of their restaurants you go to, there is a formula uniquely suited to you that has you feel the feel the way you want, no matter what else is going on in your life.

Automated Photography Services

After working at a startup marketing firm for a woman that went into business for herself after setting up and running many marketing offices for corporations prior, I was given a glimpse into the world of creating systems and was fascinated.

She had broken down each process in her business that she found worked and documented it in binders so that when she stepped away from the business, others could easily find what they needed to make sure the processes happened and the business kept going.

 

To me she was genius, to her it was just business. This woman had found the formula for her business and understood how to use systems to get that same end result with or without her supervision.

 

Automating Empowerment

Soon after I wondered, what if I could automate my empowerment? What if I could create a sequence of activities that reliably influenced me in the way I wanted, day in and day out regardless of the ups and downs in my life?

I began to look at all my activities with the eyes of an auditor. I took inventory of what kinds of activities and situations incited feelings in me I preferred and which ones didn’t.

I also looked into how I could break down those activities into processes and easily replicate them in my daily life.

 

 

Clarity Reveals Itself When Pen Meets Paper

In the beginning it was easier for me to point out how I didn’t want to feel and then look to what the opposite of those were.

I didn’t like how flaky, foggy brained and lacking in confidence I always was. From there I concluded I wanted to be the opposite which was to be concise, clear, purposeful and living with conviction. I observed and took inventory notes over a period of months of what activities incited what feelings and it looked a little like this:

 

Foggy brained, flaky, lacking in confidence Clear, purposeful, confidant
No breakfast, by lunch time I have a headache, am desperate and eat fast food. Drink water before breakfast

Eat breakfast

Make my own healthy lunch

Saying yes to invitations to activities that don’t mean much to me, with people that don’t value what I value and many times not showing up when I said I would. Reflect and journal on what I value

Say no upfront to foggy brained inducing people and situations

Reach out to people who value what I value, invite them to activities that I enjoy and want to do

Eating white carbs, food that’s fried or from a box. Eating whole grain products and fresh food

 

From inventories like this I began to build my self care routines around the activities that had me feel clear, purposeful, confidant.

 

Growing Conviction

I started small by waking up earlier to just drink water every morning. In keeping that promise to myself  my conviction grew and slowly I expanded my routine to include more activities like exercise, meditation, eating healthier breakfasts and packing healthier lunches. In time I was confident enough to begin saying no to the people I no longer wanted to be around and reach out to those I did. It took a time span of years for me because I would begin a habit, stop it, feel guilty and procrastinate and then start again and try it differently.

 

You don’t have to take that long though because I’ll lay out for you what all that trial and error helped me understand and  in time, streamline. Below are examples of how I would step by step setup my environment to help me add a new habit to my morning self care.

The Water “System”

My morning self care began by establishing the habit to drink water first thing in my day before anything else. After trial and error of keeping up the habit and then leaving it I learned that to stick to it day in and day out, it worked best to have my big jar already filled and within arms reach. A small habit was made to fill the jar the night before and have it on my dining table which was right outside my bedroom, on the way to the bathroom. When I’d wake up to go to the bathroom like I normally do, I would see that jar and drink it first.

 

The Exercise “System”

When I decided I was ready to wake up earlier and try exercising, I would place my workout clothes in the bathroom so that after I drank my water, I would change into the clothes and be ready to exercise.

 

The Meditation “System”

When I decided I was ready to have meditation in my mornings, I dedicated a big cushion to sit on for only that purpose and would set it out on my living room floor the night before, next to my exercise clothes. My mornings then looked like this: I’d wake up, drink water,  go to the bathroom, walk to my living room and sit on the cushion for 10 minutes and then put on my workout clothes to exercise.

 

Physical Cues To The Brain

For each added activity, I would need to tweak my nightly preparation the night before  and physically set up my environment to make that act easier. The physical setup in my environment would literally cue my brain to do it when I would see it. I realized that I am like a clean slate first thing in the morning and seeing those cues literally told my brain “Now do this”. The less steps in between I and the habit I wanted to establish, the more likely it would continue to happen in the long run.

 

 

 

A 3 Step Exercise For You

  1. Who do you want to feel more of? Take a out a pen and paper write it down. If no words are coming to you, take a minute to scan the words below

 

clear                      of integrity        practical

assertive             resourceful         calm

approachable           appreciative        lively

results oriented          empowering         encouraging

mature         loyal             selfless

self reliant        self  motivated           modest

careful            capable              careful

neat             organized              expressive

cheerful             spiritual         stable

clean                 responsible            reliable

diligent                  determined        enthusiastic

shrewd         wise             brilliant

bold             mindful         focused

alert               astute             alert

astute          passionate         patient

fierce         light

resilient                innovative         intense

agile             intelligent               intuitive

Inviting            aware            satisfied

level headed         brave             ethical

enthusiastic         shrewd         wise

brilliant            bold            mindful

intentional        aware             satisfied

level headed         brave             ethical

energetic        svelte            strong

tolerant         tough              shrewd

passionate         patient

fit            lean             energetic

curious         strong            inspired

tolerant         tough             enthusiastic

purposeful         receptive        open

loving            creative        grateful

devoted        insightful        compassionate

accomplished         graceful                       inquisitive

 

What words stood out to you? Make a note of them.

2. What activities would help you feel those words? Write it down

3. What small change could you make in your environment to make it easier for you to engage in that activity regularly? Write it down.

 

As simple as it sounds, something really does change when we put in black and white what was before a vague idea. Seeing in writing what was once a vague idea, shrinks it into a manageable size and changes how we relate to it.

 

 

 

How do you go about making permanent change for the better? Is there a different way that has worked for you?

 

I’d love to know!

 

As always if you found this post helpful share, like, or comment below.

 

Thank you for making me a part of your day!


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