Oct. 28, 2021

The Quick and Easy Way to Build Better Habits

The Quick and Easy Way to Build Better Habits

What new habits are you itching to start? What do you know will be a good activity or project for you to invest your time and energy into? What might you gain from investing your best efforts into developing a new habit? This episode is for all of us -- warriors inside a pandemic -- coping with daily stresses while also attempting to live and to work at our best.  

You will hear about how Dr. Li’s shoulder injury and pandemic weight gain created the chance for not only a new behavior (daily exercise), but also for discovering the essential pieces of new habit development and maintenance. Tune in to learn five lessons that you can use to succeed in your new habit journey and three ways to overcome the resistance that you might have about starting something that seems difficult to do.


  • [1:47] How Dr. Li ended up with a shoulder injury and several extra pounds during the past pandemic year
  • [4:12] The importance of having your purpose front and center
  • [6:49] How to put more energy behind your behavior change efforts
  • [7:41] Why your schedule needs to shift to make room for the new habit
  • [9:33] Adding some accountability to help ensure that you stay true to your word
  • [11:00] Why you want to feel like you’re acting crazy
  • [13:14] What your resistance probably looks like and how to overcome it


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Dr. Christine Li -

Website: https://www.procrastinationcoach.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/procrastinationcoach

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/procrastinationcoach/


Christine Li:

Welcome back to the make time for success podcast. This is episode 46. Are you craving something different for yourself? Are you wanting to read more instead of scrolling social media without end? Are you wanting to get more active instead of wondering how to fit that exercise time in whatever your habit desires are, I would love for you to listen to this episode, as I'm going to be discussing the quickest and easiest ways to develop those new habits. Once you understand the formula for making successful behavior change, you're never going to look back. Let's go listen to the episode now. Hi, I'm Dr. Christine Li, and I'm a psychologist and a procrastination coach. I've helped 1000s of people move past procrastination and overwhelm so they could begin working to their potential. In this podcast, you're going to learn a powerful strategies for getting your mind, body and energy to work together. So that you can focus on what's really important, and accomplish the goals you want to achieve. When you start living within your full power, you're going to see how being productive can be easy, and how you can create success on demand. Welcome to the make time for success podcast. There are people who say that we're perfect just as we are. And I tend to agree with that kind of thinking. But personally, I'm all about self improvement and life improvement. They're basically the topics that I'm completely obsessed about. And I'm thinking that if you're listening to this episode, you are too. I've come to see over the past three months, that knowing how to form and follow through with better habits, the habits that we really desire is the key to feeling great about ourselves and our days. So in order to get started on teaching you how to develop great habits, I need to share a little bit of my backstory here. During the pandemic months, I wrote a book. And I launched this podcast one after the other. The book had me seated in my chair, like a tree rooted into the ground for five weeks straight, basically with a few breaks or anything else. And I was needing to get this book written, edited and done out to the publisher in the space of five weeks. So you can imagine, I didn't really do much movement during those weeks. And then the podcast had me typing like a fiend. And sitting at my desk seemingly endlessly. It was a long process of getting this podcast launched. Thank goodness, the podcast has turned out to be one of the greatest joys of my life, because that setup and launch process was really a beast. And now I'm going to tell you what happened after I sat in my chair for the book and the podcast and really deprived myself of movement. What happened is I gained a lot of weight during this time. And I also kind of just didn't pay attention to my energy. In general, I was working so hard and in such a focused way, I just neglected my body in general. And to top it all off, I developed a condition called frozen shoulder. And let's just say if you've never had frozen shoulder before, congratulations, and you don't want to ever get this kind of thing in your life. Ever thank your lucky stars that you've never had frozen shoulder. So while I was in physical therapy for this frozen shoulder, and to get my shoulder back to full form, I learned from this fantastic physical therapist that I was lucky to have, that the body is such a beautiful machine and creation. And I realized that if I wasn't taking care of my body and my physical stamina, strength and flexibility, what was I doing? Because really our body is the source of everything else that we do. The book, the podcasts, that's all gravy, but if I wasn't taking care of my body, I was really neglecting the most important thing that I had on my side. And I was recommitting myself to taking care of this very central important piece of my functioning because of that physical therapy. And by the way, I also wanted to drop some of that extra weight that I had gained. So I decided without anyone pressuring me or for Seeing me or shaming me that I would make it my priority to do my arm exercises and also to get exercise and or to get my daily steps in every single day. So I was saying, I'm going to develop a brand new habit of doing these arm exercises, which I've never done in my whole life. And or to do some daily exercise like swimming, or dancing, or yoga, or just walking, so that I could keep myself in better shape and in better general condition. But I don't want this to go on just about my story of my shoulder recovery, I want my lessons here to be relevant to you and your situation. And so I'm going to move into a more general discussion about what I learned in this process of moving from frozen shoulder to basically 100% recovery, so that you know how to develop a habit for yourself, so that you can transform your current situation, whatever it is, and bring it to a higher level. Just to bring it to a higher level, there's no way to finish that sentence other than saying like, this is the road to self improvement, this is the way to body improvement. This is the way to mind improvement, whatever goals you have for yourself, what I'm going to describe to you next, these few steps are core for helping you make sure you're successful so that you don't start and then flop so that you don't start and then decide it wasn't worth it. So you don't start and think that you're not strong enough to carry through with the wishes that you have for yourself. So here goes here are the lessons that I learned along the way. The first lesson is that we need to focus on our why, why my why was pretty strong. As you heard, I wanted to avoid future pain. And I wanted to feel lighter physically and emotionally. And I just have that in my heart and mind throughout the process of getting more active. That why helps me to focus on what needed to happen on a daily basis. On an hour to hour basis. I needed to kind of watch what I was eating and make sure that I was sticking to the healthier types of foods that I knew would help me to lose the weight. And I needed to be really conscious about how I was using my time so that I can actually fit my movement in. The second thing that I learned was that I needed to believe upfront that my behavior change was possible. I don't think that I've ever in my entire life been an everyday exerciser. Except back in the day in high school, which was a really long time ago, when it's pretty easy to exercise because you're on a team sport. I happened to be a lacrosse team member, I was a goalie so I wasn't even that active I but I did show up every day for the exercise. So the third strategy that I learned is that you need to plan for your success. Due to the way my gym is running. Currently, there were certain times that the pool was open, that the lanes were available. And so I had to be extra mindful of making sure I reserved the lane in time, and that I needed to make sure that I remember to do that. And I needed to make sure that my work schedule, worked with my swimming schedule. So I used to work where my sessions with my patients would completely take priority. And that was great. But I shifted my mindset and said, Oh, my exercise and my swimming needs to take priority as well. So they could share the top spots of priority for me. And I began scheduling my patients so that I could reliably make it to the gym. And by the way, I don't think a single patient noticed that I made that shift. So it was a win win. I got to see my patients, but I also got to be committed to my exercise plan. The fourth step that is important in successful habit change is that you need to put in some form of accountability. And all that means is that it's not just you versus you or you helping you that somebody else knows that you're trying to do this and that you check in with that somebody for me that somebody was a lot of people what I did was I went on Instagram stories, and I posted every day, this little checklist of my to do list items. And every day, I made sure that I posted something about exercise on that to do list. I think it got maybe a little repetitive for my followers on Instagram. But what it did for me was that it made me go to the gym, it made me make sure that I was not forgetting it that I wasn't going to let it slide. Because I don't want to be a faker on Instagram. And I really again wanted to keep this habit going. So I did this for a long while, and it ended up working. And then my followers, some of them gave me the feedback that it was inspiring them to get going with their habits too. So it was super Win Win territory here for me that I was helping people that I didn't even know in real life except that they're my treasured, and beloved followers. Okay, so on to step number five that I learned is that habit change oftentimes requires us to tolerate the feeling that we're being crazy. We're being over the top, or we're being insane. Day after day, day after day, day after day, I would fit it in, I would pack the swimsuit and the extra underwear, I would pack the makeup, I would make sure the goggles were in there. And I felt like it was Groundhog Day, day after day after day. I was going to the gym a lot. I was swimming a lot. And I realized that I needed to tolerate the feeling like what am I doing this for? What am I looking like on Instagram, I had to tolerate that whole situation. Because those feelings of insecurity or awkwardness or, like I was wasting my time were not the important feelings. The important thing that I was keeping connected with was what I told you in step one, I was connected to my why I knew I wanted to stay consistent. I knew I wanted to see results. And I knew I wanted to make this habit change a real thing. So that was my transformation, I was gonna go through this process, I was going to stick to it. And I was going to leave my old habits behind I was going to leave that sedentary, rooted in my chair, Christine li behind to choose the Christine that showed up at the gym that knows everyone at the front desk that feels a little bit slimmer and a little bit fitter, and is a little bit better at swimming. So thanks for listening to those five steps. To summarize, you need to focus on your why you need to believe that your habit change is possible. You need to plan for the habits to have room in your schedule and day, you need to have some sort of accountability, even if it's just fun Instagram, and you need to stick with your habit. Even when it's getting crazy. You feel over the top, or you're feeling like you're looking like an insane person. So this next section that I'd like to address is the places where you might currently be stuck where you might think, Oh, this sounds really good. Congratulations, Christine. But this may not work for me. So I wanted to cover that little piece to the first thing I wanted to say here is the objection or resistance that you might have to changing your habits is that you're thinking that you don't have time, we're still stuck in this pandemic stress. Things are kicking back in, we've got in person work now kids are back in school. Parents are needing us. We're needing to do chores, and laundry and all of that. And I want to share with you that in the past three months when I was doing this significant habit change for myself, I realized that habit change is never really about how much time we have. Yes, habits do take up our time. But it's way more about our commitment level. Do you have the commitment to make the time to fit in these habits to shift the other things in your schedule? So you have room in your day? And you get to the spot where you make the habit change reliably? You can argue with me on this topic, but I'd really rather you just drop the complaints about your lack of time and start with your habit first. Not because you want to become this perfect specimen of a being but because this habit desire is in you you're the person who wishes this change for yourself so I want you to side with that higher level you that person who has succeeded already Ready, start from that vision of yourself and then make the time the time is secondary, the commitment and the vision about who you want to be. And where you want to take yourself to is first. The second objection or resistance that you might have is that you're thinking that the habit change will be too difficult. And I want to empathize with you here, I want to say that habit change is difficult. And you know why? Because we're stuck in our old habits. And the old habits, make it feel like this is the easiest and the quickest thing I can do, I don't really have the time, or the desire, or the motivation or the room or the energy to make this new habit. But I want to tell you, here, friend to friend, that we don't want our old habits to win out because that is actually the most difficult thing is when we're stuck in habits that really aren't the best habits that we can have ourself. Just like we would want maybe the best coach or the best house or the best strategy for getting something done. We want the best habits for yourself. So pick carefully, but then allow yourself to say I deserve this, even if I'm going to have to endure what feels difficult for a little while. Because when you established the habit and it's really rooted in your body and your mind and your day, guess what that habit ends up taking the place of the old habit and feeling like the quickest and the easiest habit that you have. And the last objection that you might have is that you're procrastinating, and I have to share with you just as a side note, I procrastinated like a fiend. On recording this particular podcast episode. I'm not sure why maybe it was because it was a bad habits. I don't know. Maybe it's because I'm a procrastinator at heart. But I wanted to address this topic in case you're struggling with procrastination too. I want you to know that putting off your excellent life habits is a true waste of your time. Because these are days that you never get to get back, living well and living healthily and living life in the way that you want to there's no procrastinating that is going to be good for you. When you've got better habits that you want to implant in your day that you want to get used to that you want to learn. You want to feel that every day you're living your highest self. You want to feel like you've taken care of yourself at the end of every day. And I really wish that feeling for you. Procrastination is human. You know, I feel that in my core, and I want to give you the inspiration to try to push that procrastination aside. So you have five to 15 minutes every day, to try on something new to feel better, and to feel a better feeling. Then procrastination tends to give us so you don't have to travel miles or to climb mountains. To make these habit changes. All you need to do is grab 15 minutes, grab this podcast episode, get moving, get reading, get changing whatever you have planned for yourself, and go for it. Believe in yourself and enjoy that new habit change. I'd love to hear your feedback on this habit change episode. Please DM me on Instagram at procrastination coach with your favorite takeaway, or the new habit that you plan on starting? I can't wait to get you on. Good luck everyone. Thank you for listening to this episode of The make time for success podcast. If you enjoyed what you heard, you can subscribe to make sure you get notified of upcoming episodes. You can also visit our website make time for success podcast.com for past episodes, show notes and all the resources we mentioned on the show. Feel free to connect with me over on Instagram too. You can find me there under the name procrastination coach. Send me a DM and let me know what your thoughts are about the episodes you've been listening to. And let me know any topics that you might like me to talk about on the show. I'd love to hear all about how you're making time for success. Talk to you soon.