How To Create Change That Last: 3 Strategies That Will Help You Stick To Your New Habits – FOREVER!

How To Create Change That Last: 3 Strategies That Will Help You Stick To Your New Habits – FOREVER!

Change is hard. It is supposed to be hard. This is how our brain is wired. And our brain`s main responsibility is to keep us safe. From an evolutionary point of view (1), change equals danger; danger equals lack of safety; lack of safety equals predators; predators equal potential death. No wonder lasting change is trickier than it seems.

I hope this is an AHA moment for you: our brain doesn’t differentiate between actual and fictional danger. For the critter brain, every time when you try to make a change (despite your positive intention behind it!), your innocent attempt triggers a fight or flight reaction. Why? Because your brain cares for you and wants you to be safe. Once you understand that your body`s only goal is to keep you alive, you begin to shift your mindset from reactivity to positivity. To make any change STICK, you have to win your brain over first. And do it in a way that makes both you and your brain FEEl good.

So, instead of beating yourself for not sticking to your new year`s resolutions or your last week`decision to adopt a healthier diet, exercise more, stress less/etc., understand that it literally takes time for the body to drop its defenses and become an ally to your goals, and not a foe.

  • In order to shift gears towards your goal, you have to act as the architect of your most ideal future and not a slave of your behavioral patterns.
  • To receive a level of self-actualization (your innate ability and right to reach your highest creativity potential), you have to first strip the layers of cognitive baggage piled in your subconscious mind.
  • In order to shift from the role of spectator (ofWhat happens To you) to a creator (of a Life that happens FOR you), you must stop sabotaging yourself with negative self-talk and victimization. This is KEY!
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These are my three fundamental strategies for creating long-lasting change instead of temporary breakthroughs:

I HAVE AN INTENTION

Decide what you want; then break it down to an attainable goal. 
I recommend you to breakdown your goals into a longterm goal and short-term goals. Be realistic what you can and can`t achieve in a six or three months frame, and focus on the progress you make, and not on the areas you`re still working on. The bigger the change you want to make is, the smaller the daily changes should be. You can`t possibly outdo years of behavioral patterns in one month regardless of your discipline and motivation. The body has to trust you first and welcome the change, instead of fighting you on it.

Science says

“Neurons that fire together wire together.”

– Donald Hebb, a Canadian neuropsychologist known for his work in the field of associative learning.

II PAY ATTENTION

Stepping back and identifying what your self-defeating habits are is one of the first steps of the change process.

Be curious to monitor your actions (without judgment!): are they moving you towards your goal, or do they pull you away from it? Most importantly, monitor your self-talk: how many times in a day do you speak kindly to yourself as opposed to the times you lash out and say things you would never tell your best friend? (more about building unstoppable confidence you may read here). Be adaptive to change and the breaking of old habits. Often, it has taken you a lifetime to build them, so it takes time and patience to reformulate your routine around them. Habits are literally wired in your brain. And I will repeat this again, because it is so important:any lasting change begins in your mind first before it gets translated to your behavior and habits.

As Goethe wisely pointed out: “Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”

III ALWAYS BELIEVE

Stay optimistically realistic. Momentary set-backs are inevitable. Giving up is optional. 
Believing in your deservedness of happiness, confidence and self-love is the only way to preserve your enthusiasm to keep going when you stumble through obstacles. They’re there to test your will. And expose you to your fears so you can dissolve them and move forward. Face them, love them, and keep going. At its core, change is a continual process of letting go. This step is all about giving you a way to release old beliefs and create new ones. When you change a habit, you CHANGE a part of how you act, and when you change how you re-act, you start to change who you are in a triggering circumstance… when you begin to change who you are (when you don`t like yourself), you start to fall in love with your-true-self and your life.

In conclusion, please remember that habits are AUTOMATED behaviors and, as such, they are prone to change.. While some habits are health-promoting, others are health-destroying. And here we talk not just about physical health but about your mental and emotional health as well.

To make any change last, you need to feel good about it in your heart first.

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I really hope this article was not only informative but also inspired you to take action. Please forward and share with anyone in your social circles that can also benefit from implementing these strategies.

~ With Love and Care,

Ana-Maria

Download this text as a PDF*.

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Further Reads:

(1) I dearly recommend you to read Dr. Rich Hanson`s books: Resilient and Hardwiring Happiness. I mention his work in this article as well.

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Why Dieting Never Works

Why Dieting Never Works

Hello Beautiful Soul!:)

If you landed on this page, it is probably because you have tried dieting before and it hasn’t worked. Not only that, most likely dieting left you feeling more frustrated than ever, and utterly demotivated to try it again. Why? Because dieting is never the answer. But I completely understand, because I have been there myself! And I was completely lost, until I learned how to rephrase the question from: “how can I lose (more) weight” to “how to love myself and nurture myself,” and, as a result, restructure my whole mentality about food and exercise. What helped me heal from years of battling body dismorphia and chronic under-eating was the epiphany that, in order to fix my obsessions with food, I needed to heal my relationship to my body first and develop an internal confidence that doesn’t depend on external validation.

Once I aligned my internal confidence to my external projection, everything else naturally settled into place. I learned how to nurture myself properly, to maximize my fitness and mental performance, and how to become more peaceful and mindful with regular meditation practice.


And You Can DO It Too!

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As a health&life coach and fitness instructor, my ultimate goal is to help you achieve your goals: whether is losing weight, feeling more confident, or simply learning how to eat more mindfully and to take better care of your body, mind and spirit. 

In this 90-day program you will receive:

  • on-going support from me (via emails and weekly check-ins)
  • new meditation recording each week to help destress your mind and assist you to visualize your end goals with more precision and excitement
  • a customized eating plan that is tailored to your individual needs,
  • a short exercise routine you can do at home (per your request)


You will not only lose weight, but will feel more energized, vibrant and happier.

Before booking, please allow me to emphasize that carrying more weight that feels comfortable usually means some sort of imbalance between yourself and your body. However, my job is not to assist you to chase an unrealistic weight-goal for your frame, but to help you arrive and maintain at the weight that is uniquely perfect for you. I will guide you not simply towards losing weight, but towards releasing trapped energy and fears. Once you do that, your weight would naturally arrive at its optimal shape.

If your intuition tells you to enroll, please don’t dismiss this voice by saying that you “don’t have time”. Time is never “right,” unless you decide it to be.

I am here to motivate, coach, support and facilitate the stepping blocks of your journey.

You are way more powerful than you might give yourself credit for. Allow me to help you connect to your power. You will transform your life! ❤

~With love and care,

Ana-Maria

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“Ana-Maria is a creative soul and great motivator. She is always there for you to show you new techniques, and provide guidance with caring and positive vibe. And all that is a life changing experience. I found the path to body and mind harmony, thanks to you, Ana-Maria. Please never stop creating and inspiring.” – Rumi G.

“Ana-Maria is the real deal. Sincere in her approach, direct, and strong articulated communication. She cares deeply about her subject and is passionate and inspiring as a speaker and coach. Highly recommend!” – Micah K.

“Ana-Maria is just awesome, full of energy and definitely she knows what she is doing.” – Shuk N.

“You are helping me to make positive changes. It helps me so much to work with you in an ongoing basis” – Ginger R.

“Ana-Maria is a very supportive and motivating instructor and life coach; her passion is palpable, and it is always great to work with an instructor that cares deeply about her students.” –  Tiffany K. 

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“Comparison Is the Thief of Joy” : How To Stop Comparing And Start Living

“Comparison Is the Thief of Joy” : How To Stop Comparing And Start Living

I chose to quote Theodore Roosevelt`s wise saying that comparison steals away our joy because it describes so accurately the effect comparison has on our emotional state of being.

When we compare ourselves to others we usually do it from a place of uncertainty, doubt and low-self esteem. The way to monitor those feelings and use comparison to our advantage is to reverse our reaction to other people’s acomplishments, success, appearance and status by looking within and releasing the beliefs that there is an actual difference between us and the people we compare ourselves to.

Because there is not. But what there is is a social construct that creates barriers and walls between people. In reality, at the offset of our biological lives we were once all innocent babies. Yet, each of us has a unique story, a unique path and a unique set of life lessons for us to learn from before attaining our goals. We don’t accidentally meet people who seem “better” or appear more “successful,” or as if they “have what we don’t.” We notice them – everywhere – around us only when we feel incomplete or less confident in our abilities, physical appearance and skills. When we feel strongly confident in ourselves, however, we begin to compare only to the best version of ourselves. And we stop worrying what other people are doing, or displaying to be doing on social media.


Before comparing to others, ask yourself: “Why does this person or situation trigger me to feel bad about myself?”; “Does comparing to them uplift me or does it bring me self-doubt?” “Do I compare myself to others because I genuinely look up to them, or because deep down I feel jealousy and envy?”


The more you compare to others the more you remain stuck in the gloomy feeling of misery, unworthiness, comparison and perpetual self-doubt. But the sooner you release the pattern of comparing yourself to other people, the quicker you begin to adopt the new belief that there is an equal share of abundance, happiness and success for all of us. And that we all have access to it. The only true competition is between you and You. Consequently, the more genuine joy and admiration you feel for people who seem to have achieved more than you, the more likely is that the Universe is going to match your vibration of happiness and self-worth, and bring you exactly what you want to achieve.

In order to be the person you want to be, however, you must act as that person.

Does the person you want to become is envious and greedy, or is it joyful, peaceful and feeling enough? When you know that you are enough, you release the need to constantly seek validation outside of yourself; you stop comparing to people who have what you want...because you realize that you already posses it within yourself.

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Curate Your Own Happiness Ritual

Curate Your Own Happiness Ritual

The quality happy time we spend with our friends, partners, and family members is indispensable and incompatible to anything else. But, nevertheless, for our personal growth, we also require an individual “solo” time with ourselves to reflect, replenish and refill our own happiness-trunk.

If we constantly measure our moments of happiness through experiences involving an external condition, we are trapped in a co-dependence on sources outside of ourselves to bring us comfort and fulfillment.

Therefore, please ask yourself:  “Do I have a ritual for self-sourced happiness?” ;”One that doesn’t include other people?”

It can be any of the following:

Perhaps writing in your journal? Or going for a walk? 

Or reading a book? Maybe drawing?

Treating yourself with a massage? Listening to uplifting music? Meditating?

Playing an instrument? Or cooking a meal? Or reorganizing your closet?

 

———- Whatever that practice means for you, it is uniquely yours, and you are the only one in command to execute it and show up for it on a regular basis.

•>Accordingly, my second question for You to ask Yourself is:

“How often Do I Make Time (in a day) To Be Happy?”

***
I know you are busy. And so I am. However, I know how much more motivated, organized and self-determined I am when I invest thoughts and energy into my own well-being.

My invitation to all of us is to focus on spending at least a few minutes in a twenty-four-hour frame to replenish our senses and do something we love…in our own company…for as much or as little time we can find in a hectic day:  even if that comes down to just listening to a song we love, looking at a beautiful picture, or simply closing our eyes and sending thoughts of self-care and affirmation that we are doing the best we can in any given situation.

~ With Love and Care,

Ana-Maria

💙👋🏻🙏🏼

 


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Check out my previous posts:

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The Importance of “Preserving” Positive Feelings

The Importance of “Preserving” Positive Feelings

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I personally love traveling to places that rejuvenate my body and revitalize my spirit with inspiration, wanderlust, and zest for pursuing my goals and dreams. And what better time for such an expedition to exploration than the end of summer?

In a way, I perceive the fall season as the beginning of the year. And it is such, for all of us that are students (in an academic institution, or in life). I look at the falling leaves and reminisce about everything that has fallen from me in the past four seasons: fears, judgment, limitations…all of those tiny tricksters that snatch our motivation and recycle it into hopelessness and lack of motivation.

In his book Hardwiring Happiness (which I recommend!*), the author Rick Hanson speaks about the neurological pathways that either impede or enhance our sense of contentment, calm and confidence. A practice he mentions, that stood out for me, is consciously remembering in details the memories, events or feelings that made us feel our best. And to rehearse the chosen moment in our mind until it paves a cognitive canal that can, later on, lead us to emotional salvation when we are feeling sad, unmotivated or discouraged.

For example, imagine the event (or place) in the last six months that made you feel your happiest.

For me, that was being at the Black Sea and swimming in the azure waters while soaking up the sun, eating gooey figs, writing in my journal and listening to the sound of the waves.

Whatever your chosen memory is: close your eyes and track back every moment as vividly as you can. Remember to not only relive it in your mind to also to feel it: paying close attention to the emotions that were produced by that experience… The joy. The laughter. The experience itself. The company you were with.  Whatever it is for you. Then, take a few minutes to reflect how those depicters made you feel. And, most importantly, why? 

I suggest you either do this exercise mentally or, even better, take a journal and free-write. Choose a time in space that made you feel extraordinary and observe closely your thoughts and feelings. Your mind, heart, and body know best why you felt so liberated and happy experiencing those emotions in that particular moment.

The purpose of this practice, as Hanson suggests, is to provide us with mental tools to recreate the palette of positive emotions that already exist in our memory so that we can adhere to their vibrational content to color our current canvass with the same positivity and excitement for life.

I am curious to hear about your happiest memories from last year. If you are willing to share, let`s create a discussion!

Leave your comments below and share this practice with your friends.

~ With love and care,

Ana-Maria

*If you follow my posts, you might remember I recently mentioned his work in this post here.

 

 

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How to Scientifically Conquer Negativity

How to Scientifically Conquer Negativity

A negative bias is a term used by psychologists (as Dr. Rick Hanson, in his book Hardwiring Happiness) to describe our human tendency to concentrate on the negative and neglect or minimize the positive. ✂️

According to Harris, back in the day, when our predecessors’ mere goal was reproduction and survival, every abrupt noise was perceived as danger triggering the fight or flight impulse.

Evolutionary, it was a safety measure to remain ‘negative’ that the unknown sound is a tiger and we better run rather than remain “positive” that it is not.

In today’s terms: imagine you are having an exceptionally marvelous week!

You feel good about yourself, find time to exercise, eat nourishing food, get enough sleep, feel productive at work and even get a promotion.
Yet, just to contrast those peak moments, ONE day, for example, you don’t hear your alarm, get up late, spill coffee on your shirt, get stuck in traffic, miss your workout, eat poorly and, accordingly, don’t perform your best.
The latter unfortunate chain of events usually leads to (either) your own dissatisfaction with yourself, or to a negative comment from an external source (or both). Once offset, negativity usually goes downhill attracting more negativity! Because of our genetic make-up, we tend to ignore ALL the positive feedback and focus on the tiny little mean remark or incident that pulled us out of our happy place.

↕️ Yet, you can rewire your brain to focus on retaining the good memories and use them as leverage to pull you out of an unhappy place.
I hope this information serves you well and you remember not to forget all the great achievements you have accomplished just because of occasional setbacks or negative people.

If you like this post, please share it with your followers and subscribe to my blog for weekly inspiration on how to be healthier and stronger: physically and mentally!

~ Ana-Maria

🙏🏼💫

 

 

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A Return To Love

A Return To Love

The quote in the caption belongs to Marianne Williamson whom I respect deeply because she has the gift to write about our human imperfections in a compassionate and non-preaching way. 

In her book, A Return To Love, she shares her own experience of transforming fear into love and overcoming behavioral traits that prevented her from attracting love. Ultimately, the harsh truth is that sometimes we are own enemy when it comes to happiness. Somehow we choose to remain in the “comfort zone” of being miserable and a victim of our circumstances than to be brave and start giving love first.

Being a carrier of love is the only path towards unconditional acceptance and freedom from fear. It is when we condition our state of being loved on external circumstances than we get stuck into old patterns and behaviors.

As the wise adage goes: “Nothing happens until I make action!”

What is the last book quote that inspired you?

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Please let me know in the comments below or DM me on my Instagram: ana_maria_georgie.

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