7 Easy Steps to Be a Better Quitter

7 Easy Steps to Be a Better Quitter

Giving up negative behaviors is hard. But our bad habits and addictions hold us back from a truly fulfilling life.

This series of posts will walk you through the process of change from beginning to end. I’ll provide concrete tools and journaling prompts to uncover your motivation and get real about your habits. From identifying a behavior you’d like to change to maintaining your new healthy habits, I’ll walk you through the process beginning to end.

I have used this process to quit smoking, change jobs, give up caffeine, start an exercise program, launch a new business and eliminate debt. It works!

Here is the outline of the series. Bookmark this page to follow along with the series.

What One Change Do You Need to Make?
Knowing is half the battle, as they say. These journaling prompts and writing exercises will help you identify what one behavior is holding you back the most so you can change it. Discover how to eliminate the root cause of your problems instead of continually treating the symptoms.

Don’t You Realize What’s at Stake?
Looking at what will happen if you don’t make this change will keep you focused on the reality of your situation. These journaling prompts will guide you through a cost/benefit analysis to help you see what’s at stake if you continue with your negative behavior.

You Do It Because It Works
In order to be able to change a behavior, you have to look at why you do it. We do things because they work. On some level, this negative behavior is providing a payoff. Identifying that payoff gives you the freedom to choose a positive behavior with a similar payoff.

How to Write Plan B
Once you are crystal clear about the feeling you are seeking through a behavior, you can find another method of creating the same feeling. These journaling prompts help you replace your bad habit with healthy alternatives steeped in self care.

Where’d You Hide the Chocolate?
When you’re trying to make a difficult change, it’s important to understand what motivates you. Pinpointing exactly what lights a fire under your behind is essential to success. These journaling prompts help you highlight your particular brand of motivation.

Who’s on Your Board of Directors?
One of the fastest ways to up the ante on your skill set is to find mentors. A mentor is anyone who is doing what you want to do – successfully.

It’s Okay to Celebrate Your Success
Acknowledging a job well done makes you more likely to repeat the behavior. Here’s how to lavish yourself with positive reinforcement.

What Do You Want?

What Do You Want?

Today I discovered the power of the most simple prompt in the world:

  • What do you want?

Try emphasizing different words in the question, and write your response each time. What do YOU want? (As opposed to what your mother or your partner wants for you.) What do you WANT? (Not what you need or what you feel like you should do.)

Don’t let the simplicity of this prompt deceive you. It’s great for digging deep on any topic. I used it today. I asked myself the question for hours before actually sitting down to write. Give it a shot and let me know how it turns out.

I’ll keep it brief this week because I know we’d all rather be doing something summery instead of computering. Though to be honest with you, I’m presently sitting in the sunny park under an enormous pine tree, typing away on my miniature laptop and watching a game of frisbee while drinking fresh lemonade. So don’t feel too bad for me.

Enjoy summer and see you soon!

What Are You Waiting For?

What Are You Waiting For?

There’s many reasons why we don’t follow our dreams: we lack time, money or other resources; we fear failure (or success); we don’t know where to start. It’s too late, it’s too soon, it’s too silly to start.

We really believe these “reasons.” They sound perfectly plausible.

In fact, when you present these excuses to others, you probably get a sympathetic nod. “You stopped illustrating that children’s book because you don’t have time? I totally understand.” “You’re abandoning your dream of spending a summer in the Alps because work is too busy? I know how that goes.”

Other people agree with you because they’re telling themselves the same lie.

It’s time to stop lying to ourselves.

We may have perfectly legitimate reasons for not following the path that makes our souls sing. Or we may just have a long list of flimsy excuses. I’m betting it’s the latter.

The magic of journaling allows us to truly explore the reasons behind our motivations, actions, and inactions.

Seeing your truth in writing can be both startling and motivating. So get out your journal and turn to a blank page.

Ask yourself:

  • What am I waiting for?

Set a timer for ten minutes and write. Write everything that comes to mind, and don’t stop writing.

The first responses will be the usual: I don’t have time. I don’t have money. So and so won’t let me.

Keep journaling.

Next will come the deeper excuses: I’m afraid of failure. I’m afraid of success (!!!). I’m afraid people will think I’m selfish/crazy/irresponsible.

Those responses hit a little closer to home.

But keep journaling. The deeper you dig, the more real your answers become. Then you can ask yourself:

  • Are these reasons really more important than my dreams?

Once you see them spelled out on the page — the real reasons you’re not following your dreams — you just may realize they’re not as insurmountable as you thought. They may even appear downright silly.

You deserve to follow a path that brings you closer to joy with every step. Start the journey today.

Well, I Never!

Well, I Never!

Are you proud of what you’ve never done?

Or are there things you’d like try that you haven’t yet? This week’s prompt centers on the things we haven’t done.

In your journal, make two lists: things you’ve never done (thankfully!) and things you intend to do for the first time (soon!).

For example, if you’ve never been arrested, kudos to you. Doesn’t it feel good to write that accomplishment on the list?

For the second list, perhaps you’ve never skinny dipped. Maybe that’s something you’d like to try this summer. (Just be sure it doesn’t result in you crossing off “never been arrested” from the first list.)

After you make the lists, reflect on what they mean.

  • Why haven’t you done the things that interest you? Have you been coloring inside the lines for so long that you’ve forgotten how to break free?
  • Or perhaps you’re limited by time, money or geography. What changes can you make to help you accomplish your never-dones?

I’ve never… been so overwhelmingly grateful to have so many fabulous people in my tribe. I’ve been enjoying the interactions and discussions on the Journaling Saves Facebook Page so much. It’s great to be able to put a face to the names. I love it. Keep it coming!

If you haven’t checked it out yet, come one down. The water’s nice.

No suit required. 😉

What Makes You Feel Abundant?

What Makes You Feel Abundant?

I’ve been thinking a lot about abundance lately. You know, that feeling of enoughness. Which is, ironically, rare in our land o’ plenty.

The abundance mindset is a powerful state of believing you have enough of whatever you need. That you will be taken care of. That you can trust the Universe and the people around you to meet your needs.

When you embrace an abundance mindset, you take risks that bring great rewards. You give to others from the bottom of the heart. You are generous and bold.

The magical part? Acting from a place of abundance actually creates abundance.

You know you’ll always have enough, so you give freely. Giving freely encourages others to do the same. So you will always have enough because those around you are always giving freely, too.

Everyone benefits from an abundance mindset.

And I know you understand that I’m not talking about the kind of giving that comes with a self-addressed return envelope. You know I mean the kind of giving that comes from a full heart and a desire to share and connect with others. That’s truly the only path to abundance.

My mom always kept a giant bowl of fresh fruit on the kitchen table in my childhood home. That bowl was always full, bursting with an array of juicy, colorful fruits.

That’s because when my mom was growing up, fruit was a luxury. A special treat. So when she had her own home and could afford fresh produce, she splurged. And these giant bowls of fresh fruit made her feel abundant.

What makes you feel abundant?

I have a short list that I indulge in. Small pleasures with a big payoff, that put me in an abundance mindset.

Like chilled San Pelligrino mineral water in a glass bottle. A phone conversation with my sister where we both talk until we’re done. Three uninterrupted hours at the cafe with a good book.

These small indulgences make me believe I can safely give of myself. I feel abundant when I spend three hours reclined in a velvet chair digging a new novel. So when someone asks for my time, I give it freely. I have enough time. I will always have enough time.

So here’s your journal prompt for digging deep:

  • What makes you feel abundant?

Write on that for awhile. List out as many things as you can think of. You can even start this list in the back of your journal and add items as they come to you.

Then pick one this week and indulge.

The Universe needs you to feel abundant!