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Coat hanging on a hookOur lives are made up of habits and routines, and if they’re good ones, our lives will be easier and more enjoyable, simple as that.  Developing and establishing good habits and routines is something worth making part of our lives, because having them abolishes the need for willpower and kills self doubt.

If you have a habit of leaving your clothes on the floor, leaving dishes for “later”, deciding you’re going to exercise, write that book, sort out your junk “one day”, that’s how your life is going to continue until you replace those patterns of behaviour with new ones.
How you live your life is for you to decide and take responsibility for.  When you decide you want to do something, or that you want something to work better or be a certain way, making it part of your daily routine and making it habitual means it will become easy and natural for you to do this thing.  It won’t be hard forever, in fact only a few weeks before it practically happens by itself without the need for expenditure of precious willpower.

We all know what it’s like to feel that initial resistance to a new habit.  We tell ourselves we’ll start tomorrow, it’s too hard, we don’t have time today, and all sorts of other lame excuses.  This resistance feels like it will be really hard to overcome, but it’s not, if you don’t let it be.  To make sure you’re in the best possible position to overcome this initial resistance, see the article on decision making, to make sure you’re clear on what it is you want to do and why, and that you are confident with the decision to start with.  If you’re going to doubt your decision every time this thing comes up, you’re working with a big heavy chain around your leg.  Sort that out first.

When you are sure of your decision, and you’ve made up your mind which new rule you’re going to work on, you’ll need to overcome this initial resistance over and over again.  Expect that, and allow for it.  Tell yourself what you will say to yourself each time it comes up.  Have ready made answers to the lame excuses that you know are right and make sense.  Remind yourself of the reasons for your decision then just get on with it.  Just start, just move, just head towards it, then when you’re on your way all you need to do it keep moving, keep going, go with it.  Each time will get easier.

When something becomes a learned behavioural response, a pattern, an inclination, a natural tendency, your subconscious mind is doing the work for you.  You don’t have to think about it much, it just seems to happen automatically and easily.  You know how to do it, you know why you’re doing it, you know you’ll do it again next time, you know it’s the best thing to do.  It might be something as simple as putting your tea bag in the bin instead of on the side of the sink, or it might be something much more important, like how you react when something upsets you.  Stop and think, is this the best thing to do?  Is this what I decided was best in this situation?  Is this action consistent with my goals, my values, how I want to live?

The things you choose to concentrate on first are the ones which matter to you the most.  What is bothering you most in your life at the moment?  What is distracting you and preventing you giving your energy to enjoying your life and achieving what you want?  Is it mess, clutter, unfinished tasks, indecision in general, your health, how you’re relating to your kids, your partner, your dog?  How you talk to yourself might even be a good place to start.  If you have a tendency to put yourself down, speaking about yourself and to yourself negatively, you’re feeding that attitude and it needs turning around, fast.  If you have a usual practice of casting blame for what goes wrong in your life everywhere but at your own feet, this too is a habit you can turn around that will make a huge difference immediately.

Developing and establishing the good habits and routines we want, ones we have consciously chosen, is not a task that is ever finished.  It’s ongoing, and never ending.  There will always be the need to change and refine and develop your patterns throughout your life.

What needs to happen is for you to become more aware of your ability to create your own life, by making your own decisions about what you will do, instead of just letting things happen out of unconscious inclination, inaction or indecision.

Who do you want to be?  Someone who is organized?  Well that entails hundreds of little decisions about what your own rules are for yourself  You need to identify and concentrate on one small thing at a time, for example cleaning up after each meal, using your calendar, making your bed, recording your spending, or whatever you will get the biggest benefit from immediately.

As you concentrate on this one thing, day after day you will meet the same resistance and have to overcome it again.  Each day you will remind yourself that you made a decision, that cleaning up after each meal makes your life easier, not harder.  Each day you will begrudgingly force yourself to do the dreaded task, and each day you will surprise yourself with how much you are enjoying the results of this one little thing.  Each day you should thank yourself for persisting with it, and showing confidence in your own decisions.  Each day you will find the resistance you have to overcome a little less.  Each day you will find the task was a little easier and more enjoyable, and you were better and quicker at it.  Each day you will feel generally a little bit calmer and less stressed, because of this nice little thing you did for yourself.  Yes, for yourself, not for anyone else.  Because you’re being the person you want to be, a person who finds it easy and natural to keep up with the little everyday things related to looking after yourself and having the life you want.

As you’re in the process of doing the thing that is to become automatic and habitual for you, part of your routine, notice what negative thoughts and feelings might come up.

As you get out of bed are you saying or feeling things like “oh no, I’m so tired, I just want to go back to sleep”?  If so, you need to turn that around and say to yourself, whether you really believe it or not, things like “I’m getting up because I choose to, because it is what I have decided is best for me, I’m happy to be getting up now”.  Write it on a card to read from if you have to.  Your subconscious mind doesn’t care if it’s true or if you believe it or not, but it does hear it!

As you remember to write something on your calendar, if you pick up thoughts like: “what’s the point, there must be so many other things missing from the calendar that I’ve forgotten, I need to sit down for an hour and do it all properly, I don’t have time for this, it won’t work”, change that around to “I choose to write this down now while I think of it.  It’s easy and will only take a moment.  This is what I do now” and remind yourself that perfectionism is not something you need any more, and you choose not to allow it to hold you back.  Remind yourself that you’re choosing to focus on what you can do, are doing now, and not on what you may have neglected or forgotten to do in the past.

The difference between To Do items and things that belong in your routine:

A lot of things you might think belong on a list of things to do – don’t belong there.  They are things that need to be incorporated into your routine to become new customs.  For example, instead of writing “get rid of all the clutter” on your To Do list, you can include a block of time each day, say half an hour, for working on it.

You might have goals that need things incorporating into your routine in order to achieve them.  If you want to lose weight or improve your health, you might want to include a walk into your daily routine.  Meal planning should be part of your routine too, so you need to link that as a relevant activity to your goal.

So, your learned behavioural responses are yours.  You can and do choose them yourself.  All the little decisions to be made every day about what to do, which choices to make, are yours!  Let the stuff that needs to be done repeatedly become habitual, so you don’t have to give so much energy to it any more, and so that you can relax and enjoy the benefits of your own good decisions.

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#1 Elizabeth 2008-02-15 01:36
Oh, my goodness!! Just reading your introductory statement about this blog tells me this is going to be a great success. I am so glad I came upon your site about the e-book because it just came at a time when I was so down. I still struggle, but with a purpose.


"I am grateful to Yvette for the changes that she has facilitated in me. I feel that my learning from Yvette will stay with me for the rest of my life, and has brought me to a brighter, positive more confident and happy place in my family and work life."

Anshula Ohri, Toronto,

"Before I met Yvette I had many opportunities in front of me but I was feeling overwhelmed and I had no confidence in making the decisions.  I was feeling stuck and confusedd.  My career has progressed in a positive direction and I am now functioning better in physical and emotional health.  Thank you Yvette for your help.  This was one of the best decisions I have ever made."


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Melbourne, Australia

"The coaching with Yvette was very beneficial. In just a few weeks I had achieved so much. I am so thankful. I found Yvette to be very patient, professional and reassuring. I would definately recommend NLP now that I have seen the difference it has made to my life. I have left the past in the past and I am happier within myself."

Western Australia

"Your belief in me gave me the confidence to work out ways of improvement, knowing how important it is that these answers be found by me within me to enable them to be so powerful and successful. I loved the CD you sent as your voice is so easy to listen to and reassuring as it imparts great words of wisdom and strengthens the concepts taught within your life coaching sessions. These life skills are amazing!"

Lynne from Lowood,
Queensland, Australia

"I consider myself very fortunate having chosen Yvette for coaching.  It has turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. I started from a place where I was stuck in procrastination and everything seemed so overwhelming that I didn't really know where to start.  I love the freedom and empowerment I now feel.  Yvette's methods are personalised and very effective.  I have looked forward to every coaching sesssion."

Melbourne, Australia

"Yvette is a great coach who inspires you to overcome the obstacles that she finds in working with you.  She is highly motivated and has worked hard to increase her knowledge in many areas that in turn help her clients.  Yvette draws on her own real life experience adn studies to help those of us who have to juggle many responsibilities and mangage the conflicts in thinking that come from that.  I am looking forward to working with Yvette again in the near future"

Liz Jarvis, CSI Business Solutions, 
NSW, Australia

"Through my coaching experience with Yvette I was able to shift my awareness onto my value system as opposed to staring at my circumstances each day and feeling pulled in a hole.  It's powerful because I want meaning, I want to live up to my values and what's right and good for me!  So, I truly learned the value of letting go and receiving the abundance of knowledge for every situation that gives life, love and meaning to who I am and what I can do, with this fearless self awareness."

New York, USA

"Yvette.  Many thanks for a wonderful experience... Our sessions were productive, really interesting adn I so looked forward to them each week with anticipation of what I can learn about myself and my behaviours.  Every session seemed to flow right on topic of what was present in my relaity at the time and your effortless guiding of my strategies never ceased to amaze me.  I highly recommend you as a life coach and thank you again for the experience."

M Shears, 
Melbourne, Australia

"I really questioned my future career ambitions and thanks to Yvette I changed direction from something I felt I had to do, to something I know I will love to do.  I was stuck on this topic for quite some time and Yvette really helped me shed light on this.  I changed the MBA I signed up for and feel excited about my careeer and all the opportunities in the future."

Sabine Mascarenhas, 
Wollongong, Australia