The key to maintaing real & sustainable work life balance is to create healthy habits...
We all have a vision of who we would like to be. Healthy, happy, energetic, successful in everything we do living a purposeful life and achieving all of our goals. effortlessly multi tasking so that we have the perfect work and life balance.
But how many of us actually live like our vision? Not many.
Don’t feel bad you are not alone. And no matter what your friends instagram feeds are showing they are in the same boat.
Everyone struggles with manifesting their ideal self and a life of real work/life balance.
And that is mostly because getting from where we are to where we want to be can be challenging.
Why is that?
Because we humans are creatures of habit.
We love habits. They give us comfort, security. They are the norms of our everyday life. The patterns we have always lived by. And we can get stuck in them without even realising.
Think about when you last tried to change a habit. Was it really easy? What about after the first 2 weeks or month? Did you find yourself slipping back into the old routine? That is the way it is for most of us.
When we try to break habits we have to get out of our habit comfort zone.
And oh boy does our ‘rabbit’ (animal) brain hate that. It’s that part of your brain that stops you having a real work/life balance by resisting you when you try to create healthy habits to support that balance. It doesn’t like change because change could be dangerous. It wants to keep you safe. And it’s a powerful force to be reckoned with.
However, you can overcome that ‘rabbit’ brain if you really want to have healthy habits and a good work/life balance. It takes planning, effort and, above all, patience.
And a huge dollop of persistence too.
You have to want the change. You have to commit to having healthy habits. You have to really want a balanced life.
Now by healthy habits I am not just talking about fitness, drinking the right amount of water, meditating 3 hours a day; which of course are valid healthy habits. I am talking about creating habits and systems within your life that will cultivate healthy work life balance habits.
Habits are really your best friend when making any kind of lifestyle change.
Because once you have pushed through the ‘rabbit’ brain fear, your habits will keep you on track. They will support you during times where your energy and motivation are low and will help you to enjoy your life by minimising stress, especially by cutting down on decision fatigue.
If you want to create a real work life balance then you need to focus on the healthy habits that will sustain that lifestyle. Luckily with a little thought and planning that is easy to do.
Here are 5 strategies you can use to get started making those healthy habits and rebalancing your life.
Keep it realistic
It’s good to know that it takes 21 days to create a new habit. At least. Knowing this will help you be realistic when trying to create a new habit. Something that people often try to do is to start too many new habits at once. It sends our ‘rabbit’ brain completely crazy and puts us straight back into the comfort zone of our old habits. Even if you want to change 10 habits, start with one. It stops us having to remember massive amounts of new information. Focus on one habit change for 21 days, then you can start the next.
Understand how habits work
There is a simple 3-step pattern that every habit follows. The pattern is known as the “3 R’s of Habit Change” and it works like this…
- Reminder (the trigger that initiates the behavior)
- Routine (the behavior itself; the action you take)
- Reward (the benefit you gain from doing the behavior)
So a habit could be. I feel tired and hungry at 4pm(Reminder). I eat a cake / drink a coffee (Routine). I feel like I have more energy (Reward).
You can use the 3 R’s formula in creating a new habit. Think about the habit you would like to create or change.
- What is the trigger that will initiate the behaviour?
- What action will you take?
- What will be the benefit you gain?
You can use an existing trigger to help you create the new habit. So for example if your new goal was to eat healthier you could prepare a healthy snack ready for 4pm. As you obviously liked something that gave you energy at that time make sure your healthy snack has fructose or an energy giving quality to it. The interwebs is full of ideas to inspire you in this way.
Make the Change you want, not the change you think should make
Habits are often seen as bad things that need to be changed but what everyone forgets is that a habit positive or negative gives us a benefit, otherwise we simply wouldn’t do it. We often try to change our habits in the way other people tell us we should. So we try to make a habit someone else tells us we should do, rather than a habit that works for us.A habit we want to do and keep doing.
Some habits we are reluctant to and resist changing, even if we want to or know we should, like smoking or going out straight after work and not taking the time to wind down.
So what do we do if we want to change these habits and feel stuck? You change your perspective.
There is an NLP process called Reluctance to Change that really helps you to do this. Try it out
- The first thing to do is identify the benefit of this negative habit. Ask yourself
- What are the positive benefits of this choice?
- What else do you get out of this choice?
- Now you have to decide which of these benefits do you really want to keep? (Not the one that you think you should keep but the ones you really want.)
- As yourself -In what way can you positively meet the need(benefit) you have identified?
- Which behaviour can you wholeheartedly embrace?
And then you make a plan of change ONLY for the behaviour you really want to embrace. This is a link to the process here if you want more help.
Create a pattern to your week
Every day we make a bunch of choices. Some are conscious. Some are unconsciousThe funny thing with decisions is that when you make them, you actually expend mental energy. If you make too many decisions in too short a time frame, you significantly reduce your decision-making ability. This is known as decision fatigue. Cutting down decision fatigue by creating a rhythm to your week will help minimise your decisions. You could for example make a weeks food plan so you don’t have to decide what to make every evening, designate specific days to do chores or work tasks, plan a capsule work wardrobe so you don’t have to spend time deciding what to wear each morning. Small changes like this will give you more mental energy, save time and simplify your life.
Be kind to yourself
Even with all of our best intentions and well-laid plans, we sometimes fall short. It happens. You will have ups and downs, when creating new habits. The key is to keep moving forward.
If you stumble, acknowledge what caused it and move on. Don’t let yourself get wrapped up in guilt, anger or frustration, because these emotions will only drag you further down and impede future progress. And that kind of behaviour only confirms your rabbit brain’s worries and will drag you back into the comfort zone. Learn from your fails and forgive yourself.You may find that when you look at the habit you are trying to create it isn’t working because you have not considered all the factors or identified the right trigger or you are not really getting a reward. Analysing what is not working will help you figure out what will. If you need to make a Then get your head back in the game and refocus on your healthy habits.
Now I want to hear from you! What habits have you succeeded in changing? How did you do it? And how did they help you get real work/life balance?
Let me know in the comments below.
If you want more inspiration to create healthy habits for work life balance then check out the Re:Root Your Life Facebook page for lots of inspiration this week!
Have a great week & enjoy your journey