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The Keys to Changing Unhealthy Habits (that have Nothing to do with Routine)

For many of my clients, one of their goals is to manage a chronic illness better, lose weight or create a different relationship with their bodies, or drink less, or eat less, or watch less Netflix, or exercise more.

What do all of these things have in common? Chronic, internalized stress; stifled desire; and sometimes good old avoidance.

Please hear this: There are, of course, many causes to chronic health conditions and carrying more weight than we’d like: genetics, life circumstances and experiences, equity concerns, and more. That said, I’m quite sure that the factors I outline below don’t help the situation.

I have seen my clients’ chronic conditions improve (they start listening to their bodies and taking care of themselves), they begin making different eating and exercise choices, they lessen avoidance and numbing, and they start showing up like they deserve more. The changes begin on the inside and spread outside. Is coaching a cure-all? Heck no. Does it yield change? Hell yes, if you do the work.

So, if you’ve tried to hack your routines, and it’s not yielding impacts, try making changes to your inner world first. It’s going beneath what’s visible (unhealthy habits) to see what’s driving them.

How are your boundaries?

Are you saying yes when you mean no and vice versa? This takes a tremendous toll on our physical and psychic energy. Plus, resentment and guilt can build and then we are knee-deep in tubs of ice cream. Read more about boundaries here.

What's your self-talk like? If you're beating yourself up verbally all day, it's hard to feel like you're worth the healthy habits you intend. It’s like getting a facial then punching yourself in the face. That’s just not going to work.

Are you showing up authentically? Or are you hiding parts of yourself, intentionally or unintentionally? We can feel out of alignment and unworthy when we don't claim all of ourselves. It takes energy to squash our feelings, what we say, and our true selves. Also, if we are in environments that fail to cultivate belonging, it creates lots of stress. We don’t make awesome self-care decisions when tapped out.

Who and what are you surrounded by? Do you friends build you up or break you down? Is your family supportive? Do you have a pit crew that backs you up on your journey? Are you expending lots of emotional capital taking care of others?

How are you managing emotions? Are you stuffing them in? Or letting them move through you like waves and learning the lessons they are meant to teach?

Finally, can you practice self-compassion and give yourself the love that you're entitled to, no matter what? This can be challenging for people who have internalized the message that performance = loveability or self-compassion + acceptance = laziness. You are a whole, creative human, worthy of incredible love and care.

Which of these aspects are you willing to look at more deeply, in service of your health and well-being? Drop me a note and let me know.

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