“Most people give up just when they’re about to achieve success. They quit on the one yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game, one foot from a winning touchdown.”
~H. Ross Perot – American billionaire and former US presidential candidate
To control your experience of anxiety and stress requires a specific set of behaviours or habits. If you don’t have those habits already, and you want to reduce your anxiety and stress, you’ll need to devote some time to developing them.
You won’t develop your new behaviours/habits overnight, because change takes time. Research shows that on average it takes 62 days of practice to form a new habit. So building new habits is more akin to a marathon than a 100 yard dash. It requires repetition of the desired new behaviour, day after day. That repetition requires what I call the X-Factor – persistence.
Persistence is probably the single most common quality of high achievers, and it’s the key to embedding new behaviors and habits. To embed a new habit you have to keep practicing until the new behaviour becomes your new normal.
Here are some tips on how to be persistent when building new anxiety and stress management habits.
1. Ask yourself whether building anxiety and stress management skills is important to you
Is learning how to control your experience of anxiety and stress important to you? If it isn’t then it’s unlikely you’ll have the motivation needed to practice your new anxiety/stress management skills on a daily basis over the time it takes. If you're unsure whether you are placing enough importance on developing the anxiety and stress management skills you need, I can help you elicit your values and to discover just how highly you value your health and well-being.
2. Write down what you want to achieve in as must sensory rich detail as possible and read this goal statement at least once a day
It’s easier to be persistent when you keep your ‘why’ in focus - at front of mind. So remind yourself on a daily basis why you are building and enhancing your anxiety and stress management skills, for instance: to achieve better health, greater enjoyment of life, a longer life.
I recommend that you write down your ‘why’ in as much detail as possible. Create as vivid and compelling a description as you can of what you’re going to feel and do once you have control over your anxiety and stress. Carry this description with you on a card, slip of paper or on your mobile phone, and most importantly read it at least once a day. The fact is, that what you focus on you get more of.
3. Create daily rituals
It’s the little changes that we repeat over and over that create new habits. Creating daily rituals (or daily routines) makes embedding new habits so much more easy. For example, mindfulness is a powerful stress management technique, and if you want to have mindfulness in your life, the easiest way to do that is to build it into a routine. You can create a routine such as “First thing in the morning, I have a glass of water, then I meditate 20 minutes.”
One of the tools developed by YourlifeLiveit to help maintain daily routines is called “Action Day By Day.” Using this tool, my clients can keep themselves accountable for practicing their desired behaviours and can track the days they didn’t practice. This information helps them to adjust the way they do their new behaviour so that they are more likely to consistently practice it.
4. Expect to slip up– probably multiple times
The act of embedding new habits can be frustrating - you set your goal, you want to develop new skills, you practice diligently but sooner or later you err, for instance you forget to practice your new behaviour for a day. Relax, a single event doesn’t mean that you have failed, nor does it provide an excuse to give up. Accept the fact that you’ve slipped up - you’re human after all, learn from the experience, and pick up your daily practice again. In other words, immediately ‘get back on the horse .’
To find out more about how you can develop the habits and behaviours you need to control your anxiety and stress simply schedule a complimentary 30 minute consultation with me. It's that easy.
Until next week ....
PS. Don't forget to register for the 2016 NLP Mindfest at which I'm excited to be one of the 14 expert presenters. You can learn more about this FREE on-line event here.
Tony Yuile is hired by people seeking help to perform at their best in one or more areas of their lives. He is a Personal Performance Coach & hypnosis professional based in Wellington NZ, where he specialises in helping people perform under pressure, reduce anxiety and manage stress. Tony’s solution focused approach to coaching uses a range of techniques drawn from the fields of co-active coaching, hypnosis and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). Contact Tony today to discuss how he can help you, or if you think Tony could help someone you know, you might like to encourage them to get in touch with him.
This article contains the personal views and opinions of the author, which may change over time. It is intended to be for information only and does not constitute medical advice. For medical and health advice, always consult a qualified medical professional.