How to change habits for a better life


“I know what I want, but I don’t know how to make it happen.”

I hear clients saying this all too often. It’s like being able to see the promised land, but not knowing how to get there.

Not being able to get where you want to go, have what you want, or be the kind of person you want to be, is uncomfortable to say the least, and here’s what I notice: when something’s not working or when something’s making you feel discomfort, frustration or pain on any level, it’s trying to get your attention – not to keep you stuck, but to inspire you to get un-stuck!

If you have:

• an elusive dream
• an idea you want to see through
• a goal that feels exhausting because it never happens

or, you feel like you keep having the same level of success and you just can’t break that glass ceiling, then maybe you’ve got some habits that aren’t your best friend.

First things first

Grab a pen and paper and write down your dream, vision, goal or desire – whatever it is.

Great, now take a good look at your life and specifically notice, how much time and energy do you devote to supporting yourself and your goal, and how much are you wasting?

Unsure where to start?

There are some common habits we share that often keep us stuck. Let me ask you a few questions so you can identify what’s holding you back.

1. What are you doing that feels like an obligation? What are you telling yourself you “should” do?

For some people it could be planning an elaborate kid’s birthday party that feels overwhelming. For others it might be a commitment to the PTA. Maybe you’ve said yes to a sports team or book club? Maybe you even have some friends who are sucking your time and energy? Still not sure? Watch yourself for the moments you think, or say, you “should do” or “have to do” something.

2. How much time do you spend on social media or watching TV?

It’s not that movies are bad, or that you shouldn’t be on Facebook – but how often do you mindlessly start watching something or find yourself checking Facebook / Snapchat / Instagram only to realise a whole evening’s passed, or the work you’d intended to do is still not done?

3. Are your thoughts sabotaging your dreams?

Do you pay close attention to your thoughts or inner dialogue? Not doing so allows the mind to run wild with stories of self-doubt, criticism, fear mongering and just general nasty stuff. If you feel wonderful all the time, chances are your thoughts are awesome; if you feel stressed, anxious or frustrated, your inner dialogue’s probably on the not-so-supportive, cut-you-down-to-size side. It comes down to a simple case of “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right” (Henry Ford). So ask yourself, what do you really believe? (Not, what do you want to believe) and notice, what is it you worry might be true?

4. Are you a master of time?

Lack of planning, organisation and time management leads to chaos – and not the good kind! Do you know what’s for dinner, or does five-o’clock roll around and suddenly you start to throw things into a pot? Do you stay in bed until the very last minute and then find yourself rushing around short on time? Do you get lost in your closet in the morning, wondering what to wear? Do you plan your week in support of your goals, or fly by the seat of your pants? How well do you manage your time?

5. Fundamentals baby!

Are you sleeping enough? Are you eating a diet that’s healthy? Are you moving your body regularly? If you can’t tick these boxes, everything else is harder. How well are you looking after yourself?

My guess is there are areas that need a little work? Awesome! The reason I say awesome, is because now you know where to start. You know what to do differently to help you achieve your dreams!

The first step to creating change is noticing the patterns you currently have:

  • Write down all the habits keeping you stuck and the areas where you are spending your time and energy that aren’t supportive of your goals.

Once you’ve got those not-so-helpful habits written down, flip them:

  • Write down what the opposite would be, for example: If you’ve written down “checking FaceBook when I should be working”, the opposite would be “no FaceBook at work”. If you’ve got “staying up too late”, the opposite would be “setting a bedtime that feels good to me”.

I want to point out that you don’t have to change anything, but if you want your life to change, if you want to stop feeling stuck and start having different results in your life, you need to do something differently. We’ve all got bad habits, but taking some time to recognise who we really want to be, and what THAT woman would do – well that’s when things can dramatically shift.

Here are 10 things to always remember that will make you feel inspired and motivated once again.

Kate Apanui is an Internationally Certified Life Coach and Master Equus Facilitator.

Words Kate Apanui | Images Supplied