Make it a Habit

Isn’t is so difficult to take on a new healthy habit?  And by healthy I mean healthy for mind, body, and soul – things that we do for our own self development and care.  We might do that new thing a couple times before resorting back to our old behaviors. 

It’s important to be intentional when starting a new routine or habit you’d like to implement when you initially begin; otherwise you will be where you have always been so it’s time to take intentional action. 

Many people find it helpful to take on something new with another person or group for accountability and support.  Some prefer to share it with people close to them for support.  And yet others put it on a vision board or post it and make their declarations a daily visible reminder.

Any way you do it is a good to state your intention… but to help it stick is behavior change.

Habit stacking is helpful to begin a new routine or habit.

Habit stacking is deciding on a habit you do every day and then stacking a new behavior on top of it. Your current habit becomes the trigger for your new one.

You would write in your journal your habit stacking intention: After (current habit), I will (new habit). Example: After I brush my teeth before bed, I think of one positive thing that happened today.

Rewarding yourself immediately after your new behavior also helps it stick and encourages you to keep at it.  A reward doesn’t have to be a new pair of shoes (although it could but you’ll soon fill up your closet).  A reward can simply be taking a moment to notice the positive feeling you received upon completing the new behavior, or it could be the action that follows the new behavior.  Adding a reward to your habit stack creates a habit loop. 

A habit loop is like:

  • Trigger: The current habit that can act as a reminder – can be neutral or negative
  • Behavior: The response is the new habit you’re building.  After (current habit or trigger), I will (new habit). Followed by…
  • Reward: The positive feeling or action immediately followed by the behavior. 

Examples. AM Sitting routine

  • Trigger: 6:00 am alarm
  • Behavior: immediately get out of bed and go to your quiet place to sit in meditation 
  • Reward: Make yourself a cup of coffee

To stack this habit, this could be followed by…

  • T: After I make my coffee, 
  • B: I will spend 5 minutes journaling
  • R: A sense of openness and clarity

Another helpful tool is a habit tracking app.  I prefer to use these in conjunction with my habit loops.  They act as additional motivation and reward.  Here are a few that I like: Streaks, SticK, and Habitshare.

There are a few different ways you could do this and you will find the right way that works for you.

  1. Use habit stacking and the habit loop.
  2. Use markers in your day as reminders like when you get up in the morning or before you leave your office or your lunch break.
  3. Download a habit tracking app.  Downloading a habit tracker onto your phone and setting up reminder prompts are a great way to build these new practices.
  4. Put it in your calendar for self-care time and don’t overlook it.

Start small. As James clear states in Atomic Habits,  “Getting one percent better every day counts for a lot in the long-run.”  For greater “sticking power” start with just one new habit you’d like to bring into your daily routine and start there.  When you feel like you have that down, add another.  When we take on too much change at once, we set ourselves up for failure when we can’t do it all and then we give up.  So just start with one.

This summer I started a daily exercise routine.  I just couldn’t make anything stick consistently until I tried the habit stacking approach and I have successfully worked out 5-6 days per week for the last 4 months.  I started with a goal of three days per week and was rocking that so it just felt better for my routine if I did it every weekday then the occasional Saturday.  This is what my habit loop looks like:

  • Trigger:  Finish my morning coffee – I NEED that first 😉
  • Behavior: Walk the dogs for a warm up immediately followed by my workout for the day
  • Reward: I FEEL so strong and accomplished AND I get to eat breakfast. Double reward!

Share your new habit stack in the comments below!

How can self-leadership coaching benefit you in your professional & personal life? 

Clients tell me all the time that the coaching work with them is deeply personal which also helps them in how they lead their teams at work too and how they’re better able to handle things beyond their control.

I’m a Certified Integral Coach and also trained in advanced developmental coaching techniques that build greater self-leadership.  This style of developmental coaching works with you from a whole human being approach – even when being coached in a work setting.   Developmental coaching helps you understand yourself in a deeper way by building awareness and understanding to help uncover new possibilities for yourself to become self-correcting and self-generative to build long-term excellence in self-leadership.

So what does self leadership mean?

Self Leadership means living intentionally and fully from your core authentic Self—your true nature—beyond personality, narratives, and historical patterns of behavior.  Self leadership is a WOB in which we face life’s breakdowns by empowering ourselves and activating our internal greatness to address these breakdowns.  It helps us be more resilient and step more fully into life as who we truly are – without our internal naysayers taking over.

Some people think of coaching and inner work as self improvement.  I would ask, what if nothing needs to be fixed, improved or changed? What if nothing is missing and we have that innate inner wisdom we need right within us? That is the work to be done in a developmental, explorative and compassionate way to build self-leadership. In our work together, we’ll discover or give acknowledgement to the parts of you that you may be ignoring but want to be seen, acknowledged and understood.  This opens up more freedom and possibilities for you.

You may be wondering, how will this benefit me at work? 

Cultivating our capacity for self-leadership helps us be better leaders for others in the process. It’s like the analogy of oxygen mask – put on your own oxygen masks before assisting others, that you hear every time you get on a plane. Before we lead other people we need to lead ourselves and our own life.  Then we can help those we lead by empowering them to also realize their wholeness – which in turn helps the organizations we work for.

It’s not about a position or personality, experience or background.  Self Leadership is developed and becomes our way of being. You don’t need to be in a management position to deepen your self-leadership.  It will benefit you in how you:

•Engage in teams

•How you show up and present yourself, interact with those you work with

•Your confidence and communication.

•It helps build your self awareness, puts you in the driver’s seat of your life taking you off auto-pilot

So you can probably see that self leadership is also helpful in your personal life too since our inner world shapes us in all aspects of our life.

How developing your self leadership helps your personal life

We are the leaders of our own lives. Self-leadership helps us lead a more fulfilling life by helping us release the grip of the things that hold us back – most often self inflicted.  Our inner critics and internal saboteurs that try to derail us – we’ll get to understand what they’re trying to tell us and protect us from in order to release them.  This is really freeing and allows us to step more fully into life.

An important factor in the success of your coaching work is a support network whether it be a family member or close friend to share your new discoveries with and be supported by in this journey. They also challenge you in order to put what you’re learning into practice!

As your awareness deepens about yourself you begin to open up and share, you may listen more, show empathy, get over disruptions faster and your relationships change by deepening or dissolving. You’ll Gain clarity and a deeper sense of what is meaningful for you and what is not.  You understand what you need to be happy and find more balance in life.

These are just a few examples of how self leadership coaching can benefit your personal and professional life.

Whether you’re feeling stuck, looking to empower your team, or have negative self talk happening in your head – self-leadership coaching can help you in your personal and professional life by helping you choose to respond in a different way and step fully into life. The work happens when you get compassionately curious about yourself in order to cultivate true self-leadership. 

See the possibilities, you’ll be amazed what you’re capable of!  It starts with You! I’m here to guide you through this journey to deeper self leadership.

3 Ways to Ground Yourself in Nature and Come Alive!

Nature inspires something in us. It energizes and opens us to possibilities. If you put yourself in nature and call upon her, see what you get back.

When was the last time you laid on the ground and looked up at the sky? Walked barefoot in the grass? Walked through the woods and took in the smells? If it’s been awhile, what are your memories of it? Why don’t we do that more often?

Nature inspires something in us. It energizes us and can answer our questions. If you put yourself in nature and call upon her, it can help us in ways we may not imagine. Maybe it’s idea creation and clarity, working out a problem we’re pondering, or just getting our minds off of everything and just being present with her.

*Use your own discretion to make your outside experience enjoyable for you with sunscreen, bug spray, shade, length of time, etc.

Here are three ways you can tap into nature and notice what she gives back to you:

Walking Meditation in Nature
This one is close to my heart and one of my daily practices. It fills me with deep gratitude for this beautiful world we live in and all she offers us. It also energizes me while I tap into my body sensations to notice all I’m feeling. I take time to notice all my senses: I take in the colors I see, the smells of trees or grass or the seasons in the air, the feel of the wet or warm grass beneath my feet, the cool breeze on my skin, and the crickets and birds chirping in the distance. In the wintertime here in the Midwest, I’ll go outside if it’s tolerable; otherwise, while gazing through my windows at the beautiful trees and sky.

Try it for yourself:
Start by standing and grounding into the earth– Shoulders back and down, feel the weight on your feet on the ground and let your shoulders and arms drop with gravity, your feet are rooted into the earth. Feel the earth’s energy beneath your feet fill your body. After a minute or so begin walking at whatever pace you prefer, using all of your senses to notice the nature around you and what it feels like in your body. Remember, be patient and gentle with yourself. The main thing is to have fun with it while in gratitude. Perform for 10 minutes daily or work up to it.

Sun Sits
This one is simple and feels so wonderful. If you’re sensitive to sun and/or heat, do this in the morning when the sun is less intense.

Find a cushion or chair and just sit in the sunshine with your eyes closed and take in the warm sun. Maybe there’s a breeze you occasionally feel. In winter months, if you can handle it, bundle up and sit outside. Otherwise sit in a window that gets good sunlight. Sit and take it in for a few minutes not thinking about anything but how good it feels on your skin. Relish in the moment. The vitamin D you’ll receive from the sun improves your mood and has many other healthy benefits. All you need is 10-15 minutes a few times per week.

Lie in the Grass
Be a kid again. Remember when we laid in the grass and looked up at the sky seeing shapes in the clouds or finding constellations in the stars? Bring that kid back to life in you. Lie in the grass and stare up at the sky, day or night. Enjoy the peace and calm not thinking about anything but appreciating the moment. Just listen to your breath and watch the clouds go by or notice the shape of the clouds as you did when you were a child. Get curious about constellations and watch for shooting starts – don’t forget to make a wish!

On the flip side, quite literally, flip around in the grass. Look closely at the earth, what do you notice? The bright green and details in the blades of grass? The dirt beneath it? Little ants or bugs scurrying around? How does it smell and feel to the touch?

You can do this in the winter too! Just put on your warm clothes and make a snow angel and take the time to look up at the sky. Flip around and look at the crystals in the snow.

Do this on a weekly basis and notice what this does for your spirit. Give yourself permission to be a kid again!

Nature provides a natural stress reducer, recharging us through earths energy. It’s benefits are countless! We’ll notice our moods uplifted, our health improved, reduced stress and anxiety, and many other noticeable benefits we feel and scientifically proven. So get outside today!

Try one of these out and let me know what comes up for you! Do you need more sense of adventure in your life? Reach out and let’s talk about it to see how I can help you get there!

Coaching + Yoga = Embodied Confidence

Last year I completed a 200 hour yoga teacher training focused on a therapeutic form of yoga called SomaYoga. It’s a great complement coaching for helping aid the client in sensing and feeling what is coming up in their bodies and getting out of their heads. Our bodies are also a place where we manifest trauma, emotions, pains, and disconnect body and mind. SomaYoga helps us get us back into our bodies to free us.

SomaYoga can be used in coaching and professional development work in helping to reconnect mind and body and learning to tune in to what our bodies are telling us. Integral Coaching along with SomaYoga will help you not only feel better in your body but also give you ways to work with your body to reduce stress and embody more confidence. For groups and organizations I have a yoga class for cultivating Embodied Confidence.

Some ways that SomaYoga is used in my Integral Coaching work is to offer you ways to work through:

Getting more in-tune with our bodies and emotions
Freeing pain (physical and emotional)
The way you carry yourself to embody a more confident stance leading to more self confidence
How others perceive you
Developing new competencies in your body
Recognizing the power you already possess
Reducing stress through breath and working with your triggers to reduce reactionary responses
Changing your mood
Improving self image
Improving the ways you use your body during the day
Aches and pains caused by sitting at your desk, in meetings, and in your car
and oh so much more!

Practice

Channel your inner Wonder Woman!

Power Pose Practice

The way we sit, stand and take up space affects the way we feel about ourselves and how others perceive us. There are many studies on this and Amy Cuddy had a great Ted Talk on her research about this topic.
Going into an interview, meeting, or stressful situation? Before you go in, maybe in the bathroom stall (if you don’t want anyone to see you), for two minutes stand in a way that you take up space and open your body. Channel your inner Wonder Woman!

I hope you enjoyed my post and reading about how SomaYoga can enhance how you feel in your body and mind. Integrating mind/body practices into coaching helps you become more self generating and aware for long term growth.


Salute to the Sun

Many cultures have traditions of appreciation to the sun.  In the upper Midwest, we REALLY appreciate the sun.  On a cold winter day, we long to feel the sun on our faces or to brighten our cabin fever. In the Spring when the sun gets a little closer to the earth, we start to feel it’s warmth as it melts away the winter snow and ice.  On warm summer days we rejoice in the sun’s rays as we play on our beautiful lakes.  We each have our own versions of appreciation to the sun in our personal ways.

In yoga traditions, Sun Salutations is a morning yoga practice to quiet the mind, energize the body, and show deep appreciation to the sun.  It’s a sequence of movements where you flow from one movement to the next rhythmically linking the poses with full deep breathing.  It coordinates the body, mind, and breath and can be a spiritual experience. Any ability can practice sun salutations and it’s a great way to warm up the body to start the day, while saluting the morning sun.

Sun Salutations can be done inside on your yoga mat, in a chair, or outside.  When possible, I prefer to do my yoga practice outside in the grass with natural surroundings, the sunshine and fresh air.  Being outside adds to the awareness of our five senses creating even more benefit to this grounding practice while quieting our minds.

Sun Salutations take just a few minutes and are a great addition to your morning routine. To learn how to do Sun Salutations find a yoga class at a local studio, search on YouTube, or work with me to help you build your Sun Salutation practice that’s customized to your ability using modifications and somatic movements for added personal benefits.

yoga mat outside