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Do you have a habit that you know just isn’t serving you?

How to create habits you can actually stick to in the long-term.Your tiny individual habits are creating your entire life. So, when you discover a habit that you want to change, or maybe a new habit that you want to create, it’s time to turn to what an elegant woman would do for the answer. And that is what this episode is all about: 5 Ways Elegant Women Create New Habits.

This has happened to me so many times throughout my own life. I’ve watched myself engage in a way of being that simply didn’t serve me. And today, I’m going to call myself out on it for all of you to hear, so you can see how this process of creating new habits and abandoning the old ones with ease and grace plays out, and do the same in your own life.

Join me on the podcast this week to discover how to identify the habits and behavior patterns that are no longer serving you and the 5 ways elegant women create new ones. I’m sharing why we get stuck in these loops, where I have seen myself going wrong in making unsustainable changes to my life and routines, and how to create habits you can actually stick to in the long-term.

Have you grabbed your free copy of the School of Self Image Manifesto? If not, what in the world? Click here to get your copy and learn how to think and show up in the areas of mindset, style, and surroundings so that you can transform your self-image.

What You Will Discover:

  • How to know when your habits are no longer serving you.
  • Why, when we find ourselves in a rut with our habits, our brain likes trying to keep us there.
  • The difference that new habits will make in becoming the woman you want to be.
  • Where I see so many women taking the wrong approach in building new habits.
  • How to change the way you view the habits that feel comfortable but aren’t serving you.
  • The 5 ways elegant women create new habits.

Featured on the Show:

Episode Transcript:

Do you have a habit, or maybe several habits that you know just don’t serve you? Your habits are those things that you repeatedly do day after day. And guess what? They are creating your entire life. When you discover a habit that you want to change, or maybe a new habit that you want to create, it’s time to turn to elegant women who are always looking for the most simple and effective way of being in the world. And that is what this episode is all about; 5 Ways Elegant Women Create New Habits. Welcome to the School of Self-Image, where personal development meets style. Here’s your hostess, master life coach Tonya Leigh. Hi, beautiful friends. Today, we are talking about habits. In fact, I want to talk about five ways elegant women create new habits because I don’t care how elegant you think you are. We’re all human and we all can find ourselves sometimes getting into a rut and doing things repeatedly that don’t serve us. This actually just happened to me recently. I was watching myself engage in a way of being that just didn’t serve me. And I’m going to call myself out in front of all of y’all because I tend to experiment on myself. And so, when I found myself really slacking on my fitness, and the result of that feeling achy, just not feeling as strong as I want to, I realized that I had gotten into a bad habit of not exercising at the capacity that I know I’m capable of and what I know I need in order to be the best version of myself, to be my strongest, my healthiest. And what I noticed is that our brains are so tricky. They try to justify us staying stagnant. My brain was telling me things like, “But Tonya, you go for walks. You do sit-ups. You do some push-ups every day.” But the results of your life don’t lie. And I could tell that my fitness level was declining. I didn’t feel as flexible. I didn’t feel as strong as I used to. And I want you all to remember, elegance is about simplicity and effectiveness. It’s about knowing the outcomes that you want to create for your life and then aligning who you are with that outcome. And my outcomes weren’t lying. The results of my life were telling me, “You need to do something about this because it’s going to be even harder a year from now, two years from now, five years from now. You’re going to wish you would have started today.” And so, I’ve been studying myself intensely in forming this new habit. And I’m happy to report that I am now a woman who is really taking care of her fitness. I am becoming stronger. I am becoming healthier. And it is all a result of changing my habits. So, let me share with you five ways elegant women create new habits. First of all, let’s just talk about, what is a habit? A habit is what you repeatedly do and think about. So, your current life is a result of your current habits. In fact, there’s a study by Duke University that says about 40% of our daily behaviors are habits. A lot of times, they’re just things that we’re doing on default. Now, if there are things you doing on default that serve you and make you better and help you reach your goals, then good. But a lot of us, if we get honest with ourselves, the habits that we’re repeatedly doing in our daily life is taking us further away from our goals and more importantly the types of women we want to be. Your habits are determining your health, your wellbeing, your relationships, how happy or unhappy you are, your success. Your habits are determining everything in your life. What you get up every day and choose to do on repeat is creating your life. So, if you want to create something new, you’re going to have to take an honest look at your habits and how they are impacting your life. Once you do that, you can begin to determine what are the new habits that you want to create? And here are five ways to do it. The first one is you’re going to have to make your current habit unattractive. So, we are all designed to pursue pleasure and avoid pain. And many times, our brain can trick us into believing that our current habit is pleasurable. For example, maybe you are in a habit of coming home in the evenings and sitting down on the sofa and turning on Netflix and eating a bag of Cheetos. I used to love Cheetos, my friends. That was my go-to snack. However, you know that this is not a habit that is serving you. But your brain will try to convince you of how fun it is, how you deserve it, how pleasurable it is. And as long as you have that story in your mind about the habit, it’s going to be almost impossible to break because you’re going against your own nature to pursue pleasure and avoid pain. But did you know that you can use your brain to make habits very painful, to make them very unattractive? So, for me, the way I started to do that personally was through visualization. I started to visualize myself a year from now, two years from now, five years from now, if I did not start showing up at the gym and working out. I literally would picture my body just feeling old and achy and not like my best self. So, when it was time to get up and go for my workout, my brain would try to tell me that it was so much more pleasurable to stay sitting in my chair and working. In fact, my brain usually says things like, “You really need to get this done. This is way more important. You can work out later.” You all know what I’m talking about, right? I’m sure it happens to you too. And in that moment, I would start to visualize my life if I just keep listening to that part of my brain. I visualized myself just falling apart. But I didn’t stop there. Remember, we are also wired to pursue pleasure. So, it’s important that you tie pleasure with your new desired habit. Now, when you think about something like working out, it is uncomfortable to the body, especially if you have not been doing it for a while. But we are greater than our bodies. We can create pleasurable visions and stories in our mind around our desired behavior. And that’s exactly what I did. I started to imagine and visualize the fit, strong version of me and I got so excited to become her. So, whenever my brain would try to convince me to stay in my seat and not get up and workout, I would tie pain to staying there by visualizing what my life was going to look like and what my body was going to feel like if I listened to that voice. And at the same time, I tied pleasure to going for my workouts. I would visualize who I’m becoming as a result of creating this new habit. And this is exactly how I went about weight loss too. When I was over 200 pounds, it was very pleasurable for me to overeat and it was painful for me to stop when I was elegantly satisfied. And as long as that was my paradigm, guess what I wanted to do? Overeat. So, I had to start tying pleasure with stopping and pain with continuing to overeat and neglect my body. And there are many different tricks to doing this and I teach about this a lot within my membership. But just know for you, right now, whatever habit that you want to create for yourself, you need to make the new habit attractive. You need to make it pleasurable. And you need to make your current habit unattractive and painful. Because you will be more motivated and inspired to show up for whatever is pleasurable and you’ll be less likely to show up for habits that you’ve associated pain with. So, that’s the first way elegant women create new habits. The second thing that elegant women do to create a new habit is they make it easier. We like to follow the path of least resistance. So, if you can set up your habit to be easier, you are so much more likely to follow through. An example of this is I wanted to create a habit of taking my supplements every single day. I mean, it’s not hard. It’s not something that causes me a lot of discomfort. In fact, it’s rather easy when you set your environment up to make it easier. Because I found myself, even though I had the best of intentions, I wanted to create this new habit, I would find myself two to three days going without taking my supplements because I had made it hard. They were in the cabinet, so I actually had to think about it. I had to open up the cabinet. I had to take them out of the bottles. I had to have my water. I had to take them at a certain time. And because it was so difficult in my brain, I would often forget. But I started to make it easier by. Number one, setting up a reminder on my phone and putting them out on the counter the night before. So, all I had to do when that alarm went off is walk over to my counter, get my supplements, get some water, take them, it’s done. And I’ve been doing that for a couple of years now and it’s just now what I do. It’s easy. There’s no drama around it. I don’t forget to take my supplements. But forming that new habit took some intention and it also took me making it easier. I want you to think about whatever habit you want to form for yourself, how can you make it easier? Oftentimes, it means setting up your environment to remind you of the new habit that you want to create. For example, I always now have my workout clothes laying out with my shoes, signaling, “You’re going to go workout today. This is who you’ve decided to be. This is the habit that you want to create,” versus when the time comes to go and workout, “I can’t find my yoga pants, I can’t find my tennis shoes, I’m wasting time.” No. Make it easy for yourself. You also can make your unwanted habit difficult. For example, maybe some of you want to spend less time on social media. But whatever it is, that time of day, something happens and you’re picking up your phone and checking Facebook or Instagram. Well, a way to make it difficult to engage in that habit is to actually remove those apps from your phone. It’s really hard to check social media if you don’t have access to it. So, think about that habit that you want to form for yourself and I want you to ask yourself, how can I make it easier? And how can I make my unwanted habit that I’m trying to change more difficult to engage with? The third way elegant women create new habits is, I think, the most important. And this is the step that missed me for many years. I knew I wanted better habits. I knew I wanted to create change but I kept feeling stuck. I kept going back to the old habits. And the reason why is I wasn’t focused on what really creates new habits and change in a person’s life. And that was my identity. I still had the identity of the person doing the old habits that I was trying to change. When it comes to changing habits, a lot of people focus on the process and what they want to achieve, the result they’re trying to get. So, for example, they may be focused on losing weight or publishing a book or insert any goal into the equation. And then they go to what they need to do. So, maybe it’s workout more, eat better, sit down and write every day so they’re focused on the action, the process that will get them there. But deep change comes when you focus on your identity, on your self-image, which is how you see yourself. It’s your beliefs about yourself. Because if you believe yourself to be a person who works out, guess what you’re going to do? You’re going to work out because we will always work to prove ourselves true. If you believe yourself to be a writer and someone that sits down and writes every single day, guess what you’re going to do. You’re going to sit down and you’re going to write every single day. We are always working to prove ourselves true. So, if you’re holding a self-image that is in opposition with the habits that you want to form, it’s going to be very difficult for you to show up for that new habit. And so, take my example. When I decided I wanted to start really focusing on my fitness, while I did associate pleasure with showing up for myself and I did make it easier by setting up my surroundings in such a way that I didn’t have a lot of conflict when it came time to actually go and workout, the most important thing that I did is I started to see myself and believed myself to be a strong active, and healthy woman. And strong and active and healthy women don’t sit around working at their desk all day. They don’t ignore their workouts. They don’t just not show up for themselves. They are always working to prove their beliefs true. They’re always working to confirm their self-image. And this is the missing piece in weight loss, you all. A lot of you are trying to lose weight with an old identity of being overweight, which is why it probably feels so hard to lose weight and keep the weight off. Some of you are trying to build businesses but you have the self-image of being an unsuccessful woman. It doesn’t work that way. You have to begin to identify as the woman you think you’ll be once you’ve created the new habit now. Not after you’ve done it. Because if you don’t identify as her, it’s going to be so much harder to create the new habit and maintain it because, again, you will always come back to your self-image. So, I want you to think about the habit you want to change and how does that woman think about herself? How does she identify? You need to decide the type of person you want to be and then you need to prove it to yourself every single day with the habits that you’re practicing. And that leads me to the fourth way elegant women create new habits. They focus on the tiny daily habits and the tiny daily wins. It is really hard to form a new habit that is so far from where you currently are. When I decided to get back into focusing on my fitness, I set up a plan for myself that stretched me. It pushed me. But it wasn’t me going to the gym for two hours every day trying to squat 150 pounds. That was too big of a stretch for me. Even though maybe I could have done it, I just didn’t want to set myself up for disappointment and set myself up to confirm a story about myself that didn’t serve me. And so, I started small, realizing that the tiny daily actions of your life, your tiny daily habits are what’s forming your life. And what happens is, when you start to show up for your tiny daily habits, you start to build momentum and you can increase from there. But elegant women don’t set themselves up to fail. They set themselves up to win. And so, they do that by focusing on tiny daily habits, a 1% change in the rudder of a boat is going to lead you to very different waters over time. So, instead of thinking about big habits, why don’t we start with tiny ones. What is one tiny habit that you could start to practice and become the woman who’s doing that habit on a daily basis that will have a compound effect and create big results in your life over time? That’s how elegant women approach change. It’s how they create new habits. And then, the fifth thing elegant women do to create new habits is that they practice with grace. Here’s what I mean. Some of you all are telling this terrible story of how you’ve fallen off the wagon. I didn’t know we were back in the 18th century when we had wagons. There’s no wagon to fall off of. There’s only what you’re currently doing and maybe you’re doing it unconsciously and you wake up to the fact that it’s not serving you, it’s not who you want to be, and you recommit. You realize that the more you practice your new habit, the better you’re going to get at it. And when you find yourself not practicing the habit, you don’t beat yourself up. Instead, you are the student of yourself. You become curious. You become fascinated. What happened? Did you not set yourself up for success? Did you not make it easier to practice your habit? Did you not make it pleasurable and attractive? Once you know these things, you can begin to do the work, to change it, so that you can be more successful next time. But beating yourself up never works. Elegant women know this and they like to do things that work. They also know they’re human and there are going to be times when they’re practicing a new habit that maybe they don’t show up for it one day. And that is a beautiful opportunity for them to get to know themselves on the deepest level. It’s a chance for them to go within and look at what needs to be healed. How are they holding themselves back? How are they not setting themselves up for success? And they course-correct over and over again. And before you know it, they have formed a new habit. And it is just who they are. They’ve changed their identity to be that of the woman who’s engaging in that habit. And it doesn’t take as much effort any longer because, again, it’s just what they do. This, my friends, is how elegant women create new habits. So, I want you to think about a tiny habit that you want to start practicing in your life and I want you to apply the principles that I just spoke about in this episode. Have a beautiful week, everyone, and I can’t wait to see you in the next episode of the Elegant Woman series. Hey, have you grabbed your free copy of the School of Self-Image Manifesto? If not, what in the world? Head over to and get a copy that teaches you how to think and show up in the areas of mindset, style, and surroundings so that you can transform your self-image.

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