It hurts like a b*#@h!

Change is hard. We like our habits, our routines, our rituals. But the truth is, if we don’t change stuff, stuff doesn’t change! Our lives don’t change. And we don’t change.

Today’s post is all about understanding how habits are formed, and broken, in order to create the life we really want.

So here we are in the second week of the new year. People everywhere set new year’s resolutions for themselves, and studies show that about 66% of them relate to health and fitness. Great! But, of all those who set resolutions, only about 10% keep their commitments. Not so great.

While it’s always exciting to see so many new faces at the gym and to witness both their apprehension and their enthusiasm as they check out the equipment, try new things, and sweat on the treadmill, I find myself wondering who will make it and be a part of that 10%.

I send them silent prayers; secretly wishing them well and hoping I will continue to see them week in and week out for months, and years, to come. Sometimes we engage in a conversation, but mostly it is done without words.

So if you have made a decision to change your life by creating new behaviours and if you are pumped and going for it, then I encourage you to keep going! Keep up the great work and keep making those decisions so that you continue to form new habits.

But if you are someone who wishes your life were different, remember that change starts on the inside. To get a different result, you simply have to change stuff! It doesn’t work any other way. It can’t work any other way.

WTF Happened??!!

First, let me remind you that you can do anything you want. You have everything you need, inside of yourself, to get anything you want in life.

We really do hold the power to change. We just have to understand a few things about why we do the things we do…

Let’s look at an example.

Have you ever decided to make a change health-wise, and you suddenly realize a few weeks or months later, “Wait a minute?! What happened?! What happened to that decision I made? I have gone right back to my old ways!!”

“What happened to eating breakfast first-thing every morning? Not eating late at night? Bringing my own lunch to work? Taking the stairs instead of the elevator? Sleeping an hour more each night? Having only one glass of wine with dinner?…”

What happened???!!

Scientists are luckily here to help us.

Did you know that a habit does NOT take 21 days or 28 days or whatever we’ve all been led to believe?

It takes a solid 10 weeks of uninterrupted effort to create a new habit.

A solid 10 weeks! That’s almost 3 months! Of uninterrupted effort!

Let’s break that down.

When they say “a solid 10 weeks”, they are not kidding around. It isn’t 3 or 4 weeks. It isn’t 6 or 7 weeks.

It’s 10 weeks.

And when they say uninterrupted, they mean that the thing you are trying to turn into a habit, say, going to the gym, has to be done consistently, for the whole 10 weeks. No interruptions. Not for even ONE SINGLE DAY. Not one!! Or else you have to start all over again!

Note: If you have decided to work out 5 days a week, then uninterrupted effort for your new habit will mean going to the gym 5 days a week for the 10 weeks.

So how does our effort become interrupted?

“Ok”, we say. “No problem. I can go to the gym for 10 weeks.”

But let’s consider how we get interrupted.

We forget to set the alarm. And we don’t go.

We hit snooze instead of going. And we don’t go.

We get called into a meeting during our usual lunchtime gym session and we say we will go after work…but we are exhausted after work. And we don’t go.

We don’t set our gym clothes out the night before and we wake up and we look around and our clothes are in the laundry basket and we say “I’ll go tomorrow”. And we don’t go tomorrow.

And all of a sudden, something comes up again or we just don’t go and we find ourselves back in our same old habits…that place of extreme comfort where we’ve dwelled for years and years.

Sound familiar?

And while these are some classic external ways that our pattern can become interrupted, let’s look at some internal ways it can happen, too.

We can also become interrupted by the very act of succeeding.

Let me explain.

Our brains can decide that we have been doing so well on our new fitness regimen (after a few weeks) that we deserve to take a day off.

And we don’t go.

And then we don’t go again. And again…

Pattern interrupted.

Another internal way we can sabotage our success is through our subconscious brain reminding us that we fail at every diet or plan (or everything) we’ve ever tried, and so we will sabotage our own efforts, believing this can’t possibly be any different.

And we don’t go.

Pattern interrupted.

So, how can we make a decision to change something and then commit to 10 weeks of building the new habit?

For starters, I would suggest picking only one or two habits you’d like to work on and begin to build small systems around them. Because if we try to change too many things at once, we rebel. We self-sabotage. We become interrupted.

Allow me to give you some personal examples. Over the last 13 years since I got sober, I have been able to make some important decisions and turn them into the habits that have created the pattern of my life. I would love to share them with you.

Changes I made; Systems I Built

Instead of focusing on the habits I wanted to break, I looked to the behaviours I wanted to change and I set up systems in order to add them into my life.

The Behaviour I Wanted To Change 

I wanted to get sober and start living a healthier life. 

The System I set Up

  • I hit a very dark place in my life and I had to acknowledge that alcohol was at the centre of my problems. I told a select group of people that I was an alcoholic. I asked for their support in keeping me honest and accountable.
  • I found other, healthier ways to occupy my time: I went back to school; I studied or worked in the evenings; I spent a lot of time in the kitchen; I joined a gym; I went to see movies; I went for coffee.
  • I replaced my evening beer/wine with non-alcoholic beer or mocktails.
  • I shared my feelings and my frustrations with those closest to me. I allowed my feelings to flow, knowing that bottling them up would make the work harder.
  • I journaled.
  • I meditated and practiced gratitude.
  • I read autobiographies and researched celebrities in recovery. I didn’t know how to find “my people”, so I sought solace in famous people who were fighting the same fight. I read books on the subject and I began a journey of self-discovery through self-help topics.Today, I would recommend Allen Carr’s Easy Way To Control Alcohol, Drink by Ann Dowsett Johnston and Annie Grace‘s This Naked Mind. These books will change your view on alcohol no matter how much you drink. I would recommend finding your people through searching Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for topics and books that relate to sobriety. I feel blessed to have found Holly Whitaker and Laura Mckowen who run their own blogs as well as the podcast HOME.

These new behaviours helped keep me accountable and helped feed my mind with powerful information that fueled each subsequent decision (to not drink at this event or that party or after work or…), strengthening my habit.

The Behaviour I Wanted To Change

I lost weight when I quit drinking, but I wanted to be toned, fit and healthy and I wanted to have more energy.

The System I set Up

  • I started eating more foods that don’t have an ingredients label (think fruits, vegetables, eggs, whole grains, meat).
  • I told friends that I was focusing on my health.
  • I drank more water, aiming for 3 litres a day by re-filling a one-litre bottle 3 times.
  • I prepared and cooked my own meals 90% of the time. Today, I follow The Detoxinista‘s blog for easy recipes that taste amazing and keep me feeling great. Her cookbooks are also staples in my kitchen. 🙂
  • I ate breakfast every single morning, within 30 minutes of waking up, and I made sure it was protein-packed!
  • I joined a gym and worked out 5 days a week for 45 minutes.
  • I had one “cheat day” a week where I didn’t go to the gym and I ate whatever I wanted. This was a day I would often go out with friends…and eat the chocolate cake. 🙂

These new behaviours helped keep me feeling energized, strong (mentally and physically) and satisfied. They fed my body with the fuel it needed to help me do the things I was passionate about, and they strengthened my habit.

The Behaviour I Wanted To Change

I wanted to improve my cardiovascular health and I wanted to stop worrying about having a heart attack or stroke or developing lung cancer. (Note: It took me a full year after quitting alcohol to quit smoking).

The System I set Up

  • I threw out my last pack of cigarettes and decided I was done. I told my friends about my decision and asked them not to give me a cigarette even if I begged. This helped immensely, as I did ask for one, and my friend refused (even though she was a smoker!)
  • After I had already quit, I read Allen Carr’s EasyWay To Stop Smoking. It was amazing. I wish I had read it before I quit to make quitting easier. If you smoke, read it. It will change the way you look at smoking forever.
  • I began looking for ways to move more throughout the day (I started taking the stairs instead of the elevator; I parked as far away from the entrance as I could…)
  • I took a kickboxing class and sweat my butt off while making new friends doing the same. It hurt my lungs but in such a good way. 🙂

These new behaviours helped keep me accountable and helped get me through the hardest part of quitting smoking, those first few weeks. The rest just strengthened my habit.

Notice that in all of these examples, I told people what I was doing. Doing so helped keep me accountable. I also highly recommend having a partner or friend who is on the same page and who can help you in times of weakness.

It Hurts Like A B*#@h. And It Feels Amazing.

Whenever we do something we don’t want to do, but we know it is good for us, we feel great. When was the last time you ate a healthy, wholesome meal and said “I really wish I hadn’t eaten that”; or when is the last time you worked out and said “I really wish I hadn’t exercised today”.



You will always feel good about making choices you know are good for you.


The trick is finding ways to want to make those decisions over and over again, so that they become habits. I believe it starts with a decision and then choosing behaviours that keep me aligned with my decision so that I can stay on course and remain accountable. It also takes some planning. Here is how it looks for me today, after I built up those good habits:

I don't want to crave alcohol. 

Life improved drastically once I quit drinking. I felt a freedom unlike anything I had experienced once I began my drinking life. That said, I have times of stress where I think about drinking. I remember ways alcohol wreaked havoc on my life. I journal and I read books and blogs on the subject and I talk about my feelings and I share with you and I remind myself of all the ways my life improved the day I put the bottle down. At social gatherings, I drink soda with cranberry juice and I say “no thank you, I don’t drink” in a way that doesn’t allow for “aw, come on…not even one?” 🙂

I don't always want to meditate; but I try.

Meditation plays an extremely important role in our success as humans. It is a key to improving our mental health, reducing stress, gaining clarity and insight, and increasing personal development among other benefits. If I can’t do a 20 or 30 minute meditation, I sit still and I close my eyes and I think about all the ways I am grateful. Right now. If I only do 3 minutes, fine. I don’t judge myself. I also like The Honest Guys guided meditations or Deepak & Oprah’s meditations. If you become a member at, you’ll be notified when they offer them throughout the year for free, and you can also buy them to have forever.

I want to feel good in my body

I drink water as soon as I wake up (warm water with lemon to be precise) and I hit the gym 5-6 mornings a week. I have a plan before I arrive, that I decide the night before, so that I know what workout I am going to do. This saves me time and keeps me from wandering around the gym aimlessly and leaving before really doing the work.

Check out for ideas and workouts you can do at home. I also like doing a 5 Factor Fitness workout by Harley Pasternak as they are short, sweet and effective.

I don't want to feel deprived and throw my fitness plan out the window.

I have a “cheat day” once a week where I eat whatever I want and I skip the gym. I also eat dark chocolate regularly…and I mean really regularly. Like almost every day, regularly (I make sure it is minimum 70% cacao and I try not to overdo it). 😉

I don't want to prepare and cook healthy meals every day! 

I have a “prep day” on the weekend where I set aside a few hours to shop and prepare my meals for the week. I plan many of my meals ahead and I make several lunches to grab-and-go. I also have a stocked pantry of go-to items and several recipes in my arsenal so that I am able to whip something up quickly if I need to. This just takes trying a few easy recipes with ingredients you like and often have on hand.

If you haven’t already done so, sign up to my blog (enter your name and email to the right of this post) to receive a week’s worth of recipes and meal plans plus a shopping list to help you. 🙂

The Bottom Line

The truth is, habits are hard. Making good choices that are healthy for us is tough with so much temptation and distraction out there! I get it. I struggle with it, too.

But if we always do what we’ve always done, we’ll always get what we’ve always gotten.

We are all a work in progress. Remember that it takes 10 weeks of uninterrupted effort to build new habits, so we have to get working on it! We are the only ones who can do our own work.

And with some decisions and some plans, we can become the people we really want to be.

Because it feels good to like the way we are and the things we do and the way we do them.

So, decide. What kind of person do you want to be? Write a list. Then, create the behaviours that will get you there.

And then get going.



Because I want you to love your life one bite at a time.

P.S. Did YOU set any New Year’s resolutions? If so, I’d love to hear about them in the comments below! 

P.P.S Let’s be friends! Connect with me on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram. 🙂




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