105: Becoming the Best You | Tanya Dalton Skip to the content
January 15, 2019   |   Episode #:

105: Becoming the Best You

In This Episode:

Today, we’re kicking off season nine, New Year True You, by talking about how you can set ongoing goals to help you improve your life. We’re also going to dive into the difference between goals versus habits and how habits can actually be good for helping you achieve your goals. I’ll be sharing some tips on how to establish some of those good habits and how to make a plan so that you’ll be incredibly successful in 2019.

Show Transcript:

The Big Idea

It’s not about changing you – it’s becoming the best version of you.

Questions I Answer

  • What can I do to actually follow through on my New Years Resolution?
  • How do I set better goals?
  • What habits do I need to create to achieve my goals?
  • How can I be more productive with my habits?

Actions to Take

  • Think about one habit that you can start establishing for yourself that will move you closer to one of your bigger goals and get started today. This is just the start and the first step in the season of New Year True You.

Key Topics in the Show

  • Why New year resolutions don’t work, and what you can do instead

  • The differences between long-term goals and ongoing goals and how they often intersect

  • How habits can help us become the best versions of ourselves

  • 4 steps to help you set up good habits for yourself

  • The 3 Rs for making a plan & helping yourself stick to it

Show Transcript

Welcome to season nine of Productivity Paradox with Tanya Dalton, a podcast  focused on using productivity, not just to do more, but to achieve what’s most  important to you. Join Tanya has she kicks off the New Year with a special season  titled, New Year True You.  To get her free checklist, Five Minutes To Peak Productivity, simply go to  inkWELLpress.com/podcast.  

And now here’s your host Tanya Dalton.  

Hello, hello everyone. Welcome to Productivity Paradox. I’m your host, Tanya  Dalton, and this is episode 105. Today’s episode is sponsored by FreshBooks, a cloud  based accounting software designed with productivity in mind. FreshBooks is the  simplest way to be more productive, get organized, and most importantly get paid.  And they’re offering a free trial and I’ll share more about that later on in the episode,  but first, let me welcome you to season nine. You may have noticed a brand new intro  to the podcast and for those of you who don’t realize, that’s actually my husband  John, who introduces the show each and every week and every season he creates a  brand new introduction. So you may have noticed he let the cat out of the bag a little  bit and shared that this season is called New Year True You, and I am beyond excited  because we have a lot of great things in store for you.  

Now, did you notice that I said true you not New Year new you. You see at first  when my podcasting team was brainstorming ideas with me about the season, we  thought New Year New You. It has a nice ring to it, right, it sounds nice, but you know,  the more we thought about it, the more we thought this is really not the message  we’re going for. We’re not trying to say that you should have a complete makeover  and that because it’s a New Year, you should just scrap the old you and become a  totally different person. That’s not what we want at all, this season we want you to  think about discovering the best version of yourself, the true you, and letting that  shine. It’s not about changing the real you or reinventing everything. The true you is  about evolving when we need to. Uncovering our strengths and finding some  strategies to work through, well, some of her weaknesses.  

It’s about tweaking the areas in our lives that we know we can improve on and  really pushing ourselves to be our best possible selves because that’s really when we  uncover happiness. It’s kind of like that feeling after you get a haircut, you still look  like you, but don’t you feel so good? Yeah. I love that feeling and that’s what I want to  capture through the course of this season. That feeling of feeling like you look, feel  everything is amazing. So are you ready? I am, because looking ahead at this season  of New Year True You, we’re going to be covering topics like uncovering your  passions. What to do when others aren’t supportive of you, how to get motivated,  getting organized in your life and with your finances. How to sleep better, turning  your passion into a career. Plus, we have some great guests episodes in store for you,  so it’s going to be a fabulous season and I cannot wait.  

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So now that I’ve given you a sneak peek into season nine, let’s dive in. I’d like  to kick off this season by talking about how you can set ongoing goals to help you  improve your life. We’re also going to talk about goals versus habits and how habits  can actually be good for helping you achieve your goals. I’ll be sharing some tips on  how to establish some of those good habits and how to make a plan so you’ll be  incredibly successful. So today’s episode is about becoming the best you and I know  that for many of us when we round New Year’s and we begin a new calendar year, we  feel that need to make big, lofty New Year’s resolutions. We like to spend time on  New Year’s Eve hosting our friends and our family and announcing our big goals and  resolutions that we have for the next year and making resolutions. It seems like a  good way to start off the New Year. Right?  

Well, I’m going to be honest, I am not a huge fan of resolutions. Now I know  you might be thinking to yourself, “What? Tanya is always talking about goal setting.  How can she not think resolutions are a great way to start your year?” Well, here’s the  thing. I think there’s a really big difference in taking the time to set goals and making  New Year’s resolutions announcements in front of a group of friends on New Year’s  Eve and I think that many times New Year’s resolutions become empty promises that  we make just because it’s something we’re supposed to do every single year.  Resolutions are usually done without too much planning and over a glass of  champagne, which is nice, but goal setting is done with thought and intention, with  or without the champagne. You might’ve heard me say this in the past, but according  to research done by the University of Scranton, 92% of people don’t achieve their  New Year’s goals that they set for themselves.  

So only 8% have the momentum and the wherewithal to keep going. And I  think this unfortunate truth. Well, it’s due to the fact that when it comes to  resolutions, people sometimes make unreasonable goals that can’t truly be attained  and sometimes we aim for the stars. It can become so intimidating. We’re afraid even  to leave the launchpad, so we ended up failing or being too fearful to even start. So  how do we get to that successful 8% of people who are attaining their New Year’s  resolutions. Let’s start by breaking down those lofty resolutions into reasonable  manageable goals. And when it comes to goals, I think there are basically two kinds,  long-term goals and ongoing goals. Now they’re both goals, but they both require  different approaches and strategies in order to be successful. So long-term goals  might be to run a marathon on Thanksgiving or maybe it’s to start a new business by  the end of the year, or maybe it’s tackle a home improvement renovation.  

Long-term goals don’t have immediate satisfaction, but they usually have an  end date or some sort of time frame associated with them. So in other words, you  know the date of the marathon or you put a target date on opening that business.  Maybe you set a timeframe for the renovations, but here’s the thing, those long-term  goals, things like these don’t happen overnight. It usually takes patience and  perseverance to get to that finish line and once you’ve completed them, you sort of  finish the goal and then you have to spin off and have another goal. Now, ongoing  goals on the other hand really don’t have a deadline or an end date at all. They might  be things like a daily or weekly goal that goes on indefinitely. Perhaps it’s you want to  drink eight glasses of water every day or maybe stay on top of your day to day  finances or get to the gym four days out of the week. Maybe you want to get to work  10 minutes early every day or set aside time for journaling. Long-term and ongoing  

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goals are both really important for our lives and actually sometimes they actually  intersect and they work together. So let me give you an example. Maybe a long-term  goal would be to lose 15 pounds in three months and a few ongoing goals would be  to drink the 64 ounces of water each day and to exercise four times a week. The two  ongoing goals actually compliment the long-term goal, yet they continue even if you  reach that long-term goal at some point, so in three months when I step on the scale  and I’m 15 pounds lighter, it doesn’t mean I have to stop drinking the water or to quit  exercising. Those continue on. But the great part is that those ongoing goals, that’s  what helped me achieve that long-term goal.  

So some people might call these ongoing goals habits, which I know you’ve  heard me talk about before on the podcast because here’s the thing. Habits tend to  have kind of a bad reputation. When I hear the word habits, I know for me it’s like a  flashback back to my teenage days and I can still hear my mom yelling at my sister to  stop biting her, picking at her fingernails or for my dad to stop taking off his wedding  ring and spinning it on the table. Or for me to stop leading my wet towels on the  bedroom floor, which ironically is now what I fuss at my own two kids about. Funny  how that works, right? Now, by definition, a habit is a routine behavior that’s repeated  regularly and it tends to occur subconsciously. So that definition doesn’t have a good  or a bad meaning. Yet somehow habits don’t really have a positive connotation.  

We tend to think of habits of things like, biting your nails, smoking, drinking  soda every day, lunch, cracking your knuckles, leaving the wet towel on the floor. You  get the idea, but let’s give habits a break for a minute. We all have good habits too,  don’t we? We brush our teeth every morning and hopefully every night too. We take  showers, we wash our hair, we change our clothes and put on deodorant before we  leave for the day. So not all habits are bad. In fact, habits can actually be very good.  Let’s just shift our mindset a bit on habits. A few minutes ago I mentioned an ongoing  goal of drinking 64 ounces of water every day. Now you would probably say that’s a  positive thing because it’s a healthy goal and goals tend to have a positive  connotation to them, but if it’s something that’s repeated day after day, isn’t it really  just a habit?  

I would say yes, so maybe it means that your ongoing water intake goal is just  another way of saying that you’re establishing a good, healthy daily habit and at  some point after weeks of repetition, that daily water habit will inherently become  something you do subconsciously without having to think about it so much. So I think  you could argue that some ongoing goals are actually habits in disguise. I really think  habits can be good for us when we’re trying to become the best version of ourselves  because good habits like the water intake example, they have a positive outcome for  us. So to become the best you, one thing that we can do is to analyze our current  habits. Think about the things that we already do on a daily or regular basis and take  inventory of all the things you do and write those things down and then think about if  they’re good habits or bad habits or somewhere in that middle ground, somewhere in  between.  

Now, if you’re not sure if a habit is good or bad, try listing out the pros and the  cons. Let me give you an example. Maybe you stopped at the local coffee shop every  morning. You grab a cup of Joe and a muffin on your way to work. You do it every  day. Rain or shine pretty much without fail, so basically it’s a morning habit. Now on  

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one hand you might think it’s good because it’s your morning pick me up and it  makes you really happy when the guy behind the counter, he knows your name and  what you order when you walk in the door. That feels good. On the other hand,  maybe that daily Java stop is adding an extra debt to your pocket book and maybe  the muffin and the three pumps of sweetener and the whole milk in that coffee  maybe aren’t the healthiest choices we can make.  

So when you take inventory of your habits, that’s a great time to decide which  ones do you want to keep, which ones do you want to drop and which ones you  might want to tweak in order to make them better habits. So let’s think about that,  that we can tweak our habits. So let’s talk about that idea of the morning coffee.  Maybe you don’t want to drop that habit. It was kind of in the middle when you  thought about the pros and the cons. A lot of these things might be that way, but if  you want to make improvements in your life, you could make some small adjustments  to turn that habit into a very positive one. So you could exchange the muffin for a  healthier choice like yogurt and granola or an egg white sandwich. Or maybe you  could go for one pump of sweetener instead of three or the 2% milk instead of whole.  Small incremental changes that will improve that habit to be more good than bad.  And hey, maybe with this newly tweaked habit, you could get even further on that  long-term goal of losing some weight and being healthier. You never know. So really  it’s just a matter of setting up the right habits or making the right choices to get you  into that routine of good habits.  

We just need to know how to set ourselves up to create these habits for  ourselves, and I want to talk about that right after a quick word from today’s sponsor.  Now, as I mentioned at the beginning of this episode, this has been brought to you by  

FreshBooks. Now, you may have noticed I don’t always have a sponsor, and that’s  because I’m pretty picky when it comes to who sponsors a podcast. I usually don’t go  out looking for sponsors, but I get approached a lot to talk about different people’s  products. I only choose sponsorships that I feel are a good fit, so I’m happy to sing  the praises of a company like FreshBooks because I love how their software really  does boost your productivity. Their cloud based accounting software makes it so  much easier to focus on what you really love about your business, instead of chasing  down invoices from your clients. With a really simple interface it’s almost like having a  personal finance assistant to help you know where to start and you know I love that.  Just a few clicks and you get your finances in check. Now, FreshBooks has generously  offered a free unrestricted trial for my listeners, just go to FreshBooks.com/paradox  and in the section that says, how did you find us? Type in Productivity Paradox.  

Okay, let’s get back to talking about setting up good habits because you’ll  remember, I’m always telling you to take your goals, break it down into bite size  pieces. You’ve heard that from me hundreds and hundreds of times. Well, habits are  pretty much like these bite size pieces. There are smaller steps that can help you  reach your bigger goals. So now that we’ve established that habits aren’t always bad  and can actually be really good for us, let’s talk about how you can create these new  habits for yourself. These are the habits that will help you become the best you  possible. And I believe there are four steps to help you set up good habits. The first  step is to articulate the why. Think about why you want the habit. The why is a very  important part of this because that’s what helps drives us. We brush our teeth every  

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day. Why? It’s not because we necessarily enjoy it, it’s because we want healthy teeth  and fresh breath.  

Let’s say maybe we want to start our day feeling energized, so we want to  make a habit to get up and go for a brisk 20 minute walk every morning before we hit  the shower. Maybe we want to save money for a special trip or pay off debt. So we  decided to make a habit to transfer $25 to our savings account every Friday. You  need to know what your why is. That’s what keeps you motivated. When you have a  reason why you want to set this habit up, that really helps drive that home for you  and it makes sure you’re going to continue the habit.  

Now, the second step is to identify your cues. Cues really help you establish  any habit. This may be a location, a particular time, an emotional state or even other  people, may be leaving your gym shoes by the front door. That will be a reminder to  go on a daily walk or to jog each morning, perhaps leaving your journal out by your  coffee pot each night. That will remind you to spend 10 minutes writing in your  journal the next morning while enjoying your morning coffee. Discover what triggers  you to want to take the action of the habits that you’re trying to establish, think of  them as springboards these cues. What’s going to trigger your mind to remember, Oh  yes, I want to do this habit. It’s going to take some time, so having these cues really  helps remind you to do it.  

The third step is to define the behavior. Identify exactly what you will do for  this habit. What actions have to come into play in order for you to follow through on  things, so when we’re defining the habit for maybe that daily morning walk, think  about some of the details. Will you walk along the same path every day or will you  choose a different route? Will you walk alone or with a friend? Are you going to be  listening to music or listening to the sounds of nature? Decide what you will do, what  qualifies as doing this habit, but don’t forget to also think the obstacles or the  stumbling blocks that might prevent you from pursuing this new habit. Gretchen  Rubin, author of Better Than Before calls these things loopholes and she says, when  we try to form and keep habits, we often search for these loopholes for justifications  that excuse us from this particular habit in this particular situation. We find these  excuses for ourselves, but if you can identify the possible loopholes or the excuses  ahead of time, you can make a plan to reject those loopholes and plan around them.  

This is that idea of the pivot that we talked about at the end of the last season.  We want to think ahead to what could possibly be in our path so we can avoid it. So  for example, for that morning walk that we’ve talked about, what’s your plan if it’s  cold or if it’s raining outside, what’s your plan if you just don’t feel up to it for the day,  make a plan B so you can reject any excuses or obstacles that’s going to help ensure  your success.  

The fourth step is to make a plan. You know I’m big on making a plan, right? So  to stay on track with a new habit or the behavior that you’re establishing, try using  the three R’s, record, reward, and redirect. For record, what I mean by this is find a  way to track your progress. This is one of the reasons why we have habit trackers in  my planners because I really think it helps to keep yourself accountable and allow  yourself to see the breadcrumbs of how you’re doing on your journey.  

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So taking the time to record it allows you to actually see that you’re moving  forward. Reward is give yourself a small rewards when you hit certain milestones, that  gives you a little carrot to work towards and it gets you motivated. Now the reward  should be something to springboard you forward until the habit is set, not something  that sets you back. So let’s say it’s you want to go running every morning, you’re not  going to reward yourself with a giant piece of chocolate cake. Think about something  that works with the habit you’re trying to establish and we don’t have to reward  ourselves forever. The beautiful thing about rewards is it helps us in the short term  and the long-term, we can eventually get rid of the rewards. And that third R is  redirect. When you come across obstacles or excuses that are keeping you from  progressing, think about redirecting yourself, figure out what works for you and what  doesn’t.  

And sometimes if something’s not working, it’s okay to let go. It’s okay to  change and to shift what you want that habit to be. It’s not a fail, it’s a pivot. So keep  that in mind. It’s okay to adjust your path whenever you need to in order to keep  yourself moving forward. So let me go through those four steps with you one more  time. First one, articulate the why. Second one is identify your Qs then define your  behavior, and then the fourth one is to make a plan. Using that record, reward and  redirect that I talked about. Now you may have heard that it sometimes takes 21 days  to establish a habit, but I’m going to be honest with you, that’s not really accurate. At  a study carried out by the university college Long, they found that on average it takes  about 66 days for participants to form a habit.  

It’s different for everyone, so 66 days is the sweet spot. Some people it takes  longer, some shorter. So I just want to encourage you to do this. Be patient with  yourself, be patient, when you try to form these new habits, it takes work to become  the best you. So give yourself some time and some much needed grace as you work  to cultivate these ongoing goals. If you want to become the best you, you have to be  kind to yourself throughout the process. I promise you though, this process will be  worth it.  

So I want to encourage you to think about what is one habit today that you  can start establishing for yourself that will move you closer to one of your bigger  goals and I want to encourage you to get started today. Figure that out, and then use  those four steps we talked about. And this is just the start. This is just the first step in  the season of New Year True You. Next week we’re going to be talking about the art  of knowing what you want and in the meantime I would love to see you in my  Facebook group. It’s an amazing place on the Internet full of support and  encouragement as we work towards becoming the very best version of ourselves. To  request an invite to join, just go to inkWELLpress.com/group, and until next time,  have a beautiful and productive week.  

Thanks for listening to Productivity Paradox. To get free access to Tanya’s  valuable checklist, Five Minutes To Peak Productivity, simply go to  inkWELLpress.com/podcast.