7 Habits That Will Change Your Life

 

1. Choose to see the glass half full
2. Stop labeling yourself
3. Take your life off autopilot
4. Don’t be afraid to start or stop
5. Practice self-control
6. Don’t always play it safe
7. Avoid the belief that you’re not ______ enough

Earlier this year I created and launched A Glass Half Full. It was born out of expressing myself and finding positive connections and impact with others. What started as a website with a blog and vlog, grew into teaching workshops on “conquering your mindset," hosting networking Mindset Mixers, becoming VP of Membership at Boston Toastmasters, and a whirlwind of internal growth and passion.

A year ago you wouldn’t have found me willing to speak in front of anyone besides a small group I was comfortable with, never at a conference or on video. But what happens when you step outside your box of all the labels and limits you’ve given yourself? Doors start to appear that you’d never consider being an option. It’s as if someone gave you a gift of speaking, after not being able to talk your whole life.

I started this year with the intention to “be comfortable being uncomfortable.” Accept that it’s not going to be easy, you may feel like vomiting, and you might have stress headaches daily until the day comes. You will try to talk yourself out of it a million times, but you have to keep fighting it and walk towards the discomfort. Every single time, until you get stronger and stronger.

1. Choose to see the glass half full

Yes, if you see the glass half full, you may be an optimist, whereas if you see the glass half empty, you are a pessimist. Now there are tragic things in life that don't have an upside, and I won’t argue with you on that. I also never paint the picture that you should always be happy or a delusional positive thinker. But there is an upside to looking through the glass half full lens through how you think and react to situations.

You can choose to think that the world is against you and feel hopeless. You can feel drowned by self-doubt and pity. But where does that get you? It leaves you feeling down and defeated, without anything to show for it.

What if you tried to change your mindset towards how you see the situation? Instead of seeing all the reasons it won’t work out, list a few that will. It will help stop the negative self-talk from taking over. It sounds simple and easy, but it's not. But you have to start.

The Glass Half Full is centered around helping you see things in a different light. In solving a problem through a different lens. Sometimes we can do this on our own, other times it's helpful to have someone keep us accountable. Accountability and consistency keep the positive momentum going forward.

2. Stop labeling yourself

We spend our lives putting ourselves in boxes by how society defines us. This may be by age, gender, race, sexuality, political party, job, weight/height, fitness level, education, mother/father, sibling, single, married, history, among many others.

Creating these boxes is natural. We need to define things and understand where we fit or don’t. Ultimately this limits our abilities and draws lines to divide between what we are and are not. Try lifting these labels. You’ll feel freer to explore and define yourself, without the pressure of saying you’re not in that box.

I saw this in myself after a lifetime of always saying, "I'm not a runner." Even though I could barely run a mile without stopping, I still tried. I also didn't put enough work running to change that label. Then a few years ago I joined a gym that helped build my endurance, and I felt motivated to run a 5k. Then a 10k. Then a half marathon. The label of not being a runner had me believing I couldn't do it all these years when I just needed to put in consistent effort to run all along.

Just be the person you want to be without creating judgment on yourself or others.

3. Take your life off autopilot

Have you ever been on a path for so long, one step leads to the next and all of a sudden when you stop to look around, you’re not sure what you’re working towards anymore? It’s as if you take yourself out of autopilot and wake up to your life.

I see this a lot in my workshop exercises. Many people feel a disconnect from what they’re doing. In past generations, people had fewer options for careers. They stayed there 15+ years, maybe even their whole lives because they felt they had to. What we see now are people spending less time in their jobs. Maybe job hoping to find the best fit. Or staying and growing in a career field, but deep down feel detached to their job. It’s not their passion.

It is a wake-up call to finally stop to question where you’re going and realize it’s not what you want. When you’re good at something, it’s easy to keep doing it. It takes commitment and effort to persist against the resistance you'll feel when you decide to make a change. Pushing through this discomfort will be worth once you get to a more fulfilling place where you're not just going through the motions of your life.

Take yourself out of autopilot and ask yourself if you are working towards a life driven by the expectations of others, or what you truly want?

4. Don’t be afraid to start or stop

It’s easier to start a new challenge or break bad habits with smaller, actionable steps.

It’s easier to change your diet by introducing small changes, rather than drastically cutting everything out. It’s easier to start exercising by slowly adding it into your schedule, rather than going all out, and making you more likely to quit. So what gets in our way of starting or stopping? Ourselves.

Start today.

When we want to start something new, we naturally create a list of reasons why we aren’t ready. The self-talk mind swirl ends up going deeper and deeper to the point it talks us out of doing it at all. That is where our minds wander to try and protect us when we are going to take steps outside our comfort zone.

Now that you know your mind is going to stop you, start building that muscle and pattern to override it. Maybe you’re better at taking small steps, instead of a leap. Just do anything to generate the momentum towards the bigger goal. Perhaps it means saying “yes” before you’re fully ready. I did this a lot this year. Once you know you have a deadline and it’s confirmed, you’ll be surprised how you get things done and rise.

Stop today.

I realized I’m typically very methodical in my decision-making process. When it comes to more significant decisions, I feel more comfortable with a plan and things lined up.

At the same time, sometimes I need to decide and do it! It usually happens when enough is enough; a breaking point has arrived. Decide what will help you achieve the outcome you're looking for. It could mean changing a few things, rather than everything all together surrounding the problem. You will have to be committed one way or another.

For example, I decided to quit men this year (okay, so I had a few days where I let this go). It started as a "guy cleanse" and morphed into a more of a sabbatical. I was so tired of making the same mistakes and feeling unappreciated; I knew I had to reset my entire decision-making process. I didn’t have much success when I tried to do this as I was dating, so I needed to stop and allow myself to dig deeper inward.

I won’t get into it too much here since it’ll be a separate blog/vlog, but it allowed for a much-needed transformation. You can never control someone’s intentions. But you can control yours. I learned that I was searching for love in others, but what I needed was to find it in myself. Don't be afraid to stop something, in a big or small way; it will make a difference.

5. Practice self-control

Have you ever feel disappointed after you told yourself you wouldn’t do something, and you do it? The good thing is you’re human, it happens. But the more you go back on your word, the less you trust yourself to follow through. Our minds and emotions can persuade us that it’s just this time. Whether it’s staying away from sweets, an individual, trying to introduce a new habit like getting up early or meditation, it’s sending your brain a message.

I committed to the Whole 30 in January (read more here). Wow, did I learn self-control. Not only do you have your constant internal dialogue of trying to talk yourself out of it, everything externally is tempting you. With this in mind, part of building self-control is coming back to why you’re doing it in the first place.

It was a challenge, but it also made me very aware of my weaknesses and how much of a reflex it is to make certain choices. I realized how strong I was and how good it felt to stick to my word.

6. Don’t always play it safe

There’s a part of us that wants security and stability in our lives. But ask yourself, do you play it safe the majority of the time? Do you play small so you will be more likely to win than to fail? I admit I have parts of these fixed mindset qualities from growing up that never entirely went away.

I’ve pushed myself pretty hard in life. I have taken risks and leaps that I wasn’t sure how I’d make it through. As I reflect today though, I realize I do play it safe. I have more control and avoid less potential judgment and exposure if I fall. This place limits our growth. It forces us to play small because we are too scared to play big. To go for it when we aren’t sure we’re ready.

Don’t stay in this place. Fear keeps you here, but it doesn’t do anything for you. Question this. Challenge it. Step a few steps outside what feels safe until it becomes a hundred steps and you’re no longer in the same place.

7. Avoid the belief that you’re not _______ enough

Not feeling like you’re enough is often connected back to memories where you experienced this feeling of not measuring up. For me, this stems back to my childhood and a parent who set high expectations. If you got all A’s and one B, that wasn’t acceptable. I was always a bit “overweight,” even though I was just a little curvier than the girls you saw on TV. I got into a great college, but not the top? It didn’t matter.

When we grow up with these memories, we start to measure ourselves as adults in the same way. I’ve felt this a lot over the years until I began to show more love to those shadows. To look at all I have done, at all the beautiful parts of me deserving of appreciation, to look at my journey as whole instead of incomplete.

This is a hard one to work on, but many of you can likely relate as it’ll spill into other areas of your life, like not being fast enough, fit enough, smart enough. Fill in the blank. But I want you to remove that phrase from your mouth, from your fingertips, and your mind. Stop comparing, and start accepting you for being the person you are.

You are enough.

That’s a wrap! Looking forward to what we’ll experience, teach, and learn in 2019.