When was the last time you took a few minutes to examine and become more aware of your habits? Not all habits need changing, some are great habits. But if you had one or two that aren’t improving your health or well-being, which ones would you change?
Maybe you are so overwhelmed with the thought of changing any that you change none. I hear this from a lot of women I work with. They were so overwhelmed with information on improving their health and didn’t know where to start. So they didn’t bother to really change anything.
Maybe you don’t even know where to begin. On the flip side, you start very motivated and decide you will change three things this month. But by the end of the first week, you realize you have changed nothing. Change is not easy but, it can happen with small, consistent adjustments starting with awareness.
Change Starts with You
Becoming aware is the first place to start if you ultimately want to take meaningful action. Awareness can show up sometimes uninvited. It’s that voice in your head or feeling that you could do better. Hopefully it’s the caring, patient voice and not your inner, critical one. My critical voice was front and center until I had to nicely move her to the side. Compassion showed up for me and that is when I knew change was possible.
A lot of times awareness shows up when you take a vacation or a break from your busy routine. You have slowed down, you are taking in the beauty of where you are and you suddenly realize, that taking care of you didn’t make it to your ongoing to-do list. It can be improving anything from your finances to your relationships or your overall health.
Come On In Awareness
No matter how awareness arrives, it’s the best place to start if you recognize you have some habits that need improving. Some days you may want to push awareness out the door because let’s face it, habit change is hard work. It helps to put practices in place that will regularly bring you back to awareness to re-connect with goals and your action plan. It’s easy to go back to old ways of thinking and behaving if you don’t consciously put a plan in place. Start very small and be consistent. Learn more about habit change in my post: You are in Control of Choosing New Habits.
Benefits of Awareness
Research has proven that people who are more aware reap several rewards. They are more creative, have better self esteem, become more grounded, centered, and in tune with their thoughts, emotions, and surroundings. Hopefully you are still with me and haven’t wandered off as you think about your food shopping list or whether the laundry needs to get in the dryer. By staying present, you are also avoiding rumination about the past or worry about the future. This certainly can reduce anxiety and stress.
Let’s start here. Take a few easy deep breaths in and out as you think of the chair or couch you are sitting on. Feel the texture behind your legs. Pay attention to your feet on the ground or tucked under you. Staying present in body and mind takes practice. Think of awareness as the beginning of figuring out where you are. You can then move on to setting goals and reaching them.
A few practices to incorporate into your day to arrive at awareness:
- Journal: Get yourself a fun journal that you will enjoy using. I love this one that I use regularly! One with motivating quotes that will encourage you each day. Using a fun colorful pen can make it more enjoyable. Set a timer and start with 10 minutes a day. You can just write your thoughts, things you are grateful for or things you want to change.
- Meditation: Practicing meditation daily can help you reduce stress and get centered. Start with even 5 minutes if this is new for you. Inevitably thoughts creep in as you meditate and get still. Imagine them gently floating away on a cloud as they enter your mind. Don’t block or eliminate thinking. Just keep coming back to your breathing.
- Daily check-ins/body scans: In the morning and again at regular check-in times (maybe set a timer 3 times throughout the day) practice this activity. Start with your head and do a quick scan of your body and notice how you are feeling.
With practice and consistency, you can become more aware. This skill can help you objectively interpret your actions, feelings, and thoughts as you set goals and improve your habits. Reach out to me if you would like to hear how I can help you with habit change. Midlife is a time to thrive and not just survive!
I’m a registered nurse for over 24 years with a Masters Degree in Nursing (Education). I am also a Certified Women’s Health Coach specializing in helping women navigate changing hormones in their 30s and beyond after my own difficult experience through menopause. I believe women should truly thrive in midlife and not just survive!