How to engage your willpower to change ingrained habits

How to engage your willpower to change ingrained habits

What kinds of ingrained habits?

Coping mechanisms that used to work but now hold you back like…

  • Social anxiety
  • Not being in your body
  • Quickly moving from one thing to another

Some others could be: 

  • Comfort eating
  • Over working
  • Addictions
  • Anything that used to feel good but doesn’t any more and you want to stop doing it but it’s a habit.

Coping mechanisms become habitual.

Habits can become a way of recognising yourself – “I exist because I do this.” Does that make sense?

When you begin to change them questions like, “who will I become?” might arise.

You could journal on who you want to become to counter the anxiety around this:

  • Use details – what kind of days will you have? 
  • Use all your senses to describe what it will be like. 
  • Write about it regularly. 
  • It allows the anxious parts of you to get used to what it will be like.

And then there’s purpose – why do you want to become that person? You could journal on that too.

It might be because: 

  • It will feel better
  • You want to be able to do things that you used to be able to do
  • You want to learn from it and teach other people

I’ll share some of my purposes that have helped me change habits over the years.

  1. In 2012 I wanted to overcome social anxiety.
  2. In 2018 I wanted to be able to feel my feet so I could climb better.
  3. Recently I wanted to enjoy the transition between waking and getting up.

There were brilliant by products to me using my willpower to achieve these things:

  1. I got out of the black hole of depression, anxiety and PTSD and I got a degree that prepared the way for my Master’s in Creative Psychotherapy.
  2. I became more embodied, which allowed me to be more in touch with my feelings and emotions in a mindful way, that allowed me to be more authentic and meet my needs better.
  3. The gentle sensory transition from asleep to awake and getting up that I use somehow allows my creativity to kick in first thing and I find myself writing content that flows quickly and easily.

So how can you use your willpower effectively to change your ingrained habits?

Kindness and curiosity are key.

Trauma does not involve kindness.

So using willpower in ways that are unkind is another form of trauma.

How can you tell?

Unkind – as you use your willpower: 

  • Your teeth might be gritted
  • Your self talk could be: “come on, get on with it!”
  • You might find yourself really having to push to do it.

Kind – as you use your willpower:

  • You feel gentle and relaxed
  • Self-talk could be: “it’s okay for you to –” or “that’s it. You’re doing great.”
  • You’re more in flow and feel curious and you create experiments to see what’s possible for changing your habit.

HOWEVER, if you’re unused to being kind to yourself it might feel odd and that’s okay. 

The more you do it the more normal it becomes.

Imagine yourself as your own best friend and talk to yourself like that.

What do you want to change?

Why do you want to change it?

How will you change it? What experiments will you try?

I’d love to know so feel free to comment or message me!

And if you’d like help with it I offer Therapeutic Coaching where I hold space for you to find your answers within yourself.

My fees are a sliding scale from £45 to £225 per session and what you pay depends on your budget and how you like to use money – some people like to use it as an accountability tool – we can chat about this.

Reach out for your free 30 minute session where we delve into your current situation, what you’d like to have happen, and what might help you get that.

Love, Julia xxx

Can’t sleep? Listen to what your parts need…

When there are parts of us stopping us from sleeping it can feel annoying, frustrating and pressure can build up, making it even more difficult to get to sleep.

…I’ve been there – frustrated at the restless legs (that’s a Restless saboteur).

… or annoyed at the listening for strange sounds (that’s a Hyper Vigilant saboteur)…

… or the thinking about how affected I’ll be in tomorrow’s tasks if I don’t sleep now (that’s a Controller saboteur).

The saboteurs need love and to be listened to. They are stuck in the past and need reassurance that this situation is different to back then (if it is. If the situation isn’t different then their worries are reasonable). 

In this video I share what’s what it’s like to listen to their needs, take action to meet them and the sense of wholeness that comes from being a ‘good enough parent’ to them (and you get a little peek inside my van!):

Leave me a comment below to let me know how you communicate with your parts :o)

Free Your Mind and the Rest Will Follow

Some relationships can feel draining.

Yet we might choose to stay in them…

… perhaps they seem convenient…

… or we hope they will change.

They probably won’t. In this video I share what’s underlying those kinds of resistance and how amazing it feels to let them go… do pop a comment below to let me know your experiences of letting go of what no longer serves you :o)

Decluttering your life and your mind frees your energy and creativity!

Heal from past relationships with empathy for yourself

Recently I had to draw on all my self-compassion reserves and practises when I gave my lodger notice to move out and he behaved angrily towards me.

I could feel lots of child parts of me feeling hurt and that it was unfair so I was very careful to sit with them, rather than react to my lodger.

It wasn’t just child parts that were triggered – it was also parts of me from my 20s and 30s who needed to express and heal from relationships I’d ended and felt guilty about ending (as if it wasn’t my right to end them!).

I allowed it all to unfold, holding space for these parts to feel the feelings I couldn’t really feel back when they were traumatised. I also released a lot of shame and guilt that wasn’t mine, and some that was. 

It was not an easy process. In fact I felt great discomfort for a number of days. Inner work is not always lovely and light. It’s also about sitting with the darkness and allowing it to be just as it is so you can feel and process and love the hurts. 

I’m so grateful to my lodger for his angry reaction and the judgements he made that triggered these parts to bubble up. Whatever situations we find ourselves in are opportunities to heal and learn.

Once the processing finished I found I felt more whole, more authentic, which means I know myself more. From this space I set and maintain boundaries with greater ease. Does this make sense? Let me know in the comments :o)

I teach the techniques for this in my Sage and Saboteur Empathy Activation 3 Part Series program. It soon becomes second nature when you seize the opportunities to embrace your saboteurs (the parts of you that make you self-sabotage) and, more importantly, those hurt parts of you that need to express themselves for healing to take place.

Are you ready to be more whole, more authentic and set boundaries with greater ease? You can apply to take the Sage and Saboteur Empathy Activation program by booking your clarity call and we’ll see if it’s a good fit for you. Click the button below to apply.

How mantras transformed my life!

Mantras are excellent ways of using time when you don’t need to think, like when you’re driving, walking, or washing up. You can still do these things mindfully while you say your mantra. One of the mantras I’ve been working with is this:

Infinite Spirit, open the way for my great abundance. I am an irresistible magnet for all that belongs to me by Divine Right.”

Florence Scovel Shinn

The first time I used it, I said it over one hundred times. At first it was just words. Then I noticed I began sitting up straighter. I felt more me somehow. I began using it every day. I said it whilst driving. I found I stopped getting annoyed at other drivers and enjoyed driving even more (I love driving). One day I giggled as I really began to feel into myself as a Divine Being and that there is abundance that belongs to me by Divine Right. I feel powerful in a good way when I say this mantra. 

Mantras help to retrain your brain. Imagine all that time I spent saying the mantra over and over. Now imagine I’d let my mind wander in that time instead, perhaps getting annoyed at other drivers, then replaying some times when I felt annoyed by someone else, and so on. I would have felt grumpy. Our brains do not seem to naturally think of what we want. They dwell on what we don’t want. So giving them something to focus on, like a mantra, primes them for what we want.

My mantra helped me move from a saboteur hijack that only allowed me to begin writing my book (coming soon!) one day a week for 1.5 hours to turning up every weekday for 1.5 hours. It helped me assert my boundaries without question when I needed to. It helped me tune into the sovereignty of being that each of us has by Divine Right and this allowed me to be in sage mode more often and feel more ease and flow.

What is your experience of using mantras?

I love anything that helps me, my clients and the world to be in sage mode and feel more at ease and in flow. I’m really excited to share more with you about this in the upcoming Art of Self-Compassion masterclass series. We start 29th November 2021 with the aim of expanding your self-compassion so you feel more ease and flow in your life, work and relationships. Will I see you there? Click here to register.