‘Nothing will change until you change yourself - and then everything will change.‘
Whether you have a long way to go in your gut-health journey, or if you just want to improve a couple of things in your diet or lifestyle, you have the change within you! You are the one and only person who can make the decisions to improve your life!
The big question is: what do you really want? Our daily life with all its commitments, challenges and responsibilities can drive us away from what is truly important to us.
It’s time for you to change that! Time to choose you, to find your own motivation from within yourself and make habits to serve your life for the better.
Let’s dive into some self-discovery, create clarity, find out what you really want, what is holding you back, and how to let go of your own limitations.
Start with discovering your strengths and weaknesses. Why start with this? Understanding how your strengths and weaknesses affect your behaviour helps you to identify patterns, on which you can then act and react. This in return helps to build your confidence. Studies show that confidence is important to succeed at what you plan to do.
So, being aware of what makes you strong, what you struggle with or where you need help, and what is important to you increases confidence = SUCCESS!
Take this example from my own life:
I feel very confident in the kitchen and love preparing meals. (strength) But one of my pitfalls is visiting the supermarket when I’m bored or hungry (weakness), which can lead me to buy and eat sweets or other foods that aren’t beneficial for my digestive health.
Looking after my digestion is important to me, because if my body functions properly I feel mentally much better and motivated to keep improving my life (priority)
Knowing these 3 things, I allocate a couple of hours every week to shop and prepare meals and snacks to bring to work and have ready for when I come home.
By knowing I have these meals at home, there is no need for me to go to the shop during the week, and I feel sure that I only eat foods that suit my digestive system.
Do you know what your strengths and weaknesses are? And does this help you identify what your priorities are?
You can write them down, and feel free to implement them in all aspects of your life, it doesn’t have to stop with your digestive health!
Where do you want to go from here?
Now that you know this, ask yourself: where do you want to go? How do you visualise your ‘end result’? Is it an ongoing thing?
What does your perfect day look like?
What steps will you need to take to reach that goal?
The more details you can write down, the better! Now, how motivated are you right now? How do you feel about making any changes necessary? Did you know that your thoughts, previous experiences and attitude can influence your motivation, both in a positive and negative manner? When your initial motivation fades away, your original thoughts, triggers and attitude can take over, preventing you from keeping the momentum going. If you’ve changed your situation or environment before to help you succeed, but feel you keep falling back to the same patterns over and over again, it is time to let go of some things that may hold you back. Thoughts, beliefs and behaviours can be learned and unlearned, you have that power within you! It all starts with your thoughts and beliefs, which then lead to decisions, followed by behaviors. As I quoted at the beginning of this article, if you start making changes from within yourself, everything else will follow suit!
Apply the following principles:
You can apply this to all parts of your life, but let’s take the example of your gut health by answering these questions:
When you think of your own digestive health, what are your thoughts?
Do you believe these thoughts to be true? Or are these thoughts ‘implanted’ by someone else, society?
Are those thoughts and beliefs encouraging or enhancing your decisions, or are they limiting beliefs, holding you back from taking the steps you need to take? For example: I will have bloating and other digestive discomfort most days, it’s just who I am [thought/belief], so I decide to keep doing the same thing and not try improve my gut health [decision]
Especially when it comes to your gut health, if you are unsatisfied with how your digestion currently is, and you keep doing the same thing, it will take a very long time, if even, to see improvement. Gaining awareness of your thoughts, beliefs and how this affects your decisions, can really help you to stay motivated. For a lot of my clients, retraining their brains and using positive affirmations helps them on the right track. Take things in consideration such as: what is important to you, what is achievable, where do you need help etc.
Ready for change?
So, you’re ready to make some changes. Have you established what you should be doing to make improvements?
Now is the time to create some action steps!
What have you already done or tried to improve your situation?
What worked well for you, and what didn’t?
What would you like to keep doing?
Start with writing those things down, and then you can add any other new steps to your plan of action. Plan the action steps into your daily life, in such a way that you can implement your changes nearly without thinking. One of the best tips I've heard is to add your new habit onto an existing one. For example: if you take short walk before breakfast every day, you could start doing some simple breathing exercises straight after. Over time this will be come something you don't even have to think about.
Making a long story short
Here’s a recap on how to get started with building new (gut healthy) habits:
Identify your strengths, weaknesses and priorities
Work on your motivation by: Identifying your thoughts and beliefs around the topic you work on, gain clarity on how this influences your decisions and in the long term, your behaviour.
Using the knowledge above, take some time to create a sound action plan that suits your specific needs, fitting your new habits into your lifestyle.
Bonus tip: if you feel your motivation dwindling, you can always go back to this blog or the notes you took. Remember, there is nothing wrong with changing up your goals or making adjustments to your plan of action. Small steps every day still make a big difference in the long term.