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Forming new habits is probably one of the hardest things to do. We all have those moments when we wish we could do something. Whether it be working out, reading for leisure, journaling, etc. On average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behavior becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact. It can take anywhere from 18 days to 254 days for people to form a new habit according to jamesclear.com (click link to read more). 

 I remember having my daughter and although I was so happy to be a mom I just could not come to terms with the changes that pregnancy made to my body (the weight gain to be specific). However, it took me FOREVER to actually encourage myself to do something about it. When my daughter was six months old I got to a point where I was fed up, and I was going to do whatever it took to make it happen. I sacrificed sleep in the beginning, and later got a better routine going so I could more sleep. I got up at 5:15 am Monday through Friday to go workout in a HIIT class with a personal trainer. This was probably one of the toughest challenges, but before I knew it waking up at 5:15 am was a piece of cake! It didn’t happen over a night, but it was well worth the wait. 

I have put together seven steps to help you form new habits. Of course these steps can be expanded upon, but if you keep these in mind I promise you it will make your life and whole lot easier. and make things seem a little more tangible! It’s time to stop procrastinating and start making the necessary changes to live the life you want to live. I won’t say it’s easy because it’s not, but with consistency you can literally do anything.

 Here are the seven steps: 

1.) Schedule your time realistically 

Complete a time audit to determine exactly how you are spending your time, how long tasks normally take, and to track distractions. (Download your FREE Time Audit Worksheet HERE). The goal is to be able to put together a realistic schedule so that at the end of the day you don’t have a laundry list of things you DIDN’T complete.

2.) Challenge yourself by putting distractions temporarily out of reach to see how much more you can accomplish. 

This was really hard for me, because I ALWAYS have my phone with me. However, I have to admit that it is a HUGE distraction for me. Whether it’s your phone, tablet, or computer, try putting it away. Even if it’s just for 30 minutes at a time, I guarantee you’ll get more done. 

3.) Manage your interruptions

Some interruptions are unavoidable, so it’s important to remain flexible so you can quickly get back to work. Don’t let a five minute phone call take up your afternoon. If a phone call comes in that is not important simply reschedule the call for later. 

4.) Break down tasks into manageable chunks.

One of my goals is to start back reading for leisure. I am currently taking online classes, and because I have to read so much for school I have not made time to read some of the books of my choice. I have decided to change that! One of the easiest ways for me to do that is to decide how much I will read at a time. If I have a few minutes I will read a chapter during the day and read before going to bed since that is very relaxing for me. I am sure not to overwhelm myself by saying I am going to read a book in two days. Instead I break the book into sections and read what I can when I can. 

5.) Start small! 

You definitely don’t want to overwhelm yourself, so make time for what you can and try not to feel pressured when you can’t finish an entire project when you thought you would. If your goal is to become more active, then start going walking two to three times a week. You don’t have to go everyday and you don’t have to run a marathon when you decide to go. If you want to become more organized, don’t feel like you have to organize your entire house right away! Simply organize a room each day or week, and go from there. The goal is to figure out what works for you now, then to expand on that. 

6.) Reward your progress.

This is one is my favorite. ;) Rewarding yourself is VERY important, and we often forget to. Set a short term goal and reward yourself for getting there! After all you are a step farther from where you began, and a step closer to where you want to be. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. Just do something nice for yourself. This is a great way to get more in tune with yourself instead of always depending on others to reward you. No need to wait on someone when you can do it yourself. 

7.) Lastly, expect setbacks

Let’s face it, you are going to experience set backs, and thats ok we all do. However, you can’t let it define you. Be on the lookout for the temptations that have potential to pull you off course and work to develop strategies to overcome them. Setbacks are completely normal, and what really counts is how you overcome them. 

I hope these seven quick steps help you learn to focus and get on track. Remember, do what works for you. Nothing happens overnight, that’s why we have to be consistent. It won’t be easy, but I promise it is well worth it. 

 

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Making time for your hobbies allows you to rejuvenate so you can get the things that are less pleasurable done. Believe it or not, there is productivity in leisure time. People who are overwhelmed and have a hard time keeping up with their commitments are often neglecting themselves. You have to keep your body and mind in top shape, so that you can be on your A game.

Hobbies prevent burnout. After doing the same thing over and over again, even machines get burned out if they are not properly maintenance. We definitely don’t have the capabilities of a machine, so what do you think will happen to us? You have to take breaks. Taking breaks allows your brain to rest, and refocus. Burnouts take a huge toll on your mind and body, and they can leave you very weak.  Don’t wait until you get to that point to change your habits. 

We all have to grow in order to get anywhere in life. Whether it’s personal growth or professional growth. Growth is the key to accomplishing your goals and dreams. No matter what your hobbies are, I guarantee they will help you grow in some way shape or form. It may be more so personal, but you will definitely experience growth. 

Spending time on your hobbies gives you a new perspective. When I am writing, I get into deep thought, and it gives me a chance to really think about my day. It is at this time I get a lot of the answers to my problems or obstacles that I am facing. 

When you spend time on your hobbies, it is relaxing, it allows you to think clearly, and you may find some of the answers you have been looking for. Spending more time on yourself translates into more productivity in every aspect of your life. Neglecting to take care of yourself doesn’t work out in the long run. Having a hobby is about investing in yourself. You can’t say no to you. Growth and renewal are essential to accomplishing anything.

 

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When I was very young my brother had a pet hermit crab. I have fuzzy memories of its cage, the sand, and there was always an empty shell in the corner. He had this crab before I started going to school so I could have only been three or four years old, but it was intriguing in the way curious toddlers are intrigued by things. I never bothered it, but I watched it every chance I got! 

If you know anything about hermit crabs you know they change shells, this is called molting. A lot of animals molt as they grow. When molting, hermit crabs come out of their original shells and for a moment they can't move. I discovered that this temporary paralysis happens in order for their "skin" to slightly harden as a means of protection until they are safely in their new shell.

Can you imagine how tight it must be for the crab as it outgrows its shell? We go through similar transitions as we grow. First, we realize that it is time to move on. We then become very uncomfortable. 

It may be painful to leave that job, church, state, familiarity, childish things, friends, or that sense of comfort behind, but its necessary! After leaving our shell we may be unable to move for a moment. This could be because of fear of the unknown, or looking for the perfect new situation. This is when God protects and guides us. We are often vulnerable, raw, or sensitive in the midst of our transition. Finally, like a hermit crab, we find the perfect new home! 

Listen, growth is uncomfortable, difficult, and many of us are afraid of the changes that growth brings. However, only dead things stop growing! God wants to bless you with new experiences and new opportunities. He wants to bring new people, places, and things into your life. However, you cant experience those things in an old shell. 

Jesus once shared a parable, new wine should never be poured into old wine skins. If you pour new wine into an old skin it will burst, because it's too weak. You can't receive the new blessings God has in store for you if you are resistant to change and growth. Allow yourself to stretch out in the fullness of all God has for you. 

Remember that a diamond is made from pressure, an uncomfortable situation. A pearl is created in the mouth of an agitated oyster, an uncomfortable situation. Your greatness may have to be polished by an uncomfortable situation. Are you willing change your situation for the sake of your growth?

 

 

A little about The Transparent Church Girl: Tannisha Thompson AKA The Transparent Church Girl is from Decatur, Georgia. A girl after God's own heart she was labeled a church girl early on. What was once seen as lame and unapproachable has now developed into Tannisha's life long ministry and outreach. As a church girl Tannisha buried the word of God in her heart and today she uses that word to encourage others to win! Tannisha is a certified (in progress) life coach and social media maven. She combined her gift of exhortation and writing in a unique manner that encourages others to live their best life by any means necessary. She can be reached at The Transparent Church Girl on Facebook or transparentchurchgirl@gmail.com

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I remember a time when I felt like I couldn't do something. I had trouble visualizing myself being successful and just being happy in general. I later realized that those limiting beliefs are what kept me from moving forward. It is crucial that you believe in yourself and you remain positive. Treat yourself with care. We often get so focused on the things around us, and end up forgetting to put ourselves first. 

I am a firm believer that in order to give 100% you have to be 100%. A part of being 100% is believing in yourself. You see, when you believe in yourself it becomes easier to set goals, visualize your success, and take action. You have to trust and believe that you can do anything you put your mind to. It is often easier said than done, but you have to remember that there is a process to everything. Nothing worth having happens overnight, so you have to learn to be patient. Patience was not something that came to me easily, but the more I work on it everyday the easier it becomes. 

You may not be where you want to be, but you are right where you're supposed to be. Although you may not understand why things are going the way they are going, always know that things will get better. If something is not going right in your life try to figure out what you can do to change that. You have the power to change anything you want. Again, it won't happen over night, but the process will definitely be worth it. In order to start making the progress you want to make you have to believe that you can change your current circumstances.

You won't get anything done unless you convince yourself that you can do it. Tell yourself that you can do whatever you put your mind to. When you wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, and tell yourself that you are beautiful. Do what it takes to build confidence and a positive mindset. You can't rely on people to make you feel good about yourself. You will end up disappointed in the end every time. I like to start my day with positive mantras. I always start the day out with prayer and a good workout, and whenever I am feeling down I think about my accomplishments. 

Visualizing your success is a very useful technique to help build a positive mindset, and it helps keep you on track. When visualizing your success really dig deep to figure out what success means to you, but try not to think about what other people define as successful. What will you be doing? Where will you live? What will you drive? What will you wear? What will you do everyday? How much money would you like to make? What will you do for a living? Who will you be surrounded by? The more details the better. 

Once you have a positive mindset and you can visualize your success, you can then work to create a plan to help you get there. Your success is your long term goal, so now that you believe you can do anything you put your mind to we can fill in the blanks with a plan. It becomes easier to create a plan when you know what you're trying to accomplish. In this instance I definitely think its easier to work backwards. 

 

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You get what you put out into the universe. If there is something you want you have to speak into existence. Of course you will need to take the proper action to make it a reality, but it starts with your mindset so you have to believe it. 

I often see people so down about their lives, and they openly speak so negatively. This will do nothing but attract more negativity to their life. it is completely normal to have moments where you feel down and out… we ALL have them. However, the goal is a better life right? So we need to start speaking on the better that we want and believe that we can achieve it. 

The key is to believe in all of the positivity that you speak. When you say you can’t do something or that you aren’t good enough you have already convinced yourself that these things are true. Why hinder yourself in such a way?

There is a lot more power in our words than people like to believe, so it is important that you are aware of the things you say. 

You do have to watch what you say. I strive to improve the way I speak everyday. If I catch myself saying “I hope. . .” I quickly catch myself and change it to “I will,” because I know that I can do anything I put my mind to. 

The negative things we say are often a result of the limiting beliefs we have, so you will first need to start working on your mindset. There is never an easy process to anything, but the journey is definitely worth it.

I have a challenge for you, if you catch yourself saying you can’t do something, then ask yourself why you can’t do it. What steps should you take so that you can do it? Is there a job you want, but feel like you aren’t smart enough? Well, what type of courses can you take to gain knowledge or receive certifications? 

I like to end my days with writing positive affirmations, then the next morning I speak those positive affirmations. It sets a positive tone for my day. If something bad happens; I remember the positive affirmations I spoke that morning, and it gives me a different perspective. 

You can do whatever it is you put your mind to, but you first have to believe it.