How to Program New Habits

With the New Year just upon us, resolutions are probably still in full swing. Many of us want to get out of debt, lose weight and or get in shape, and maybe change our overall life circumstances.

All those things take changing habits and behavior. To change our habits and behavior we need to re-program our brains and bodies. To re-program our brains and bodies we need to feed them usually differently than we have in the past.


Change What You Listen To:
One powerful way to help re-program your brain is be carefully choosing what you listen to. There is nothing wrong with listening to Elvis Classics on Sirus Radio on your 45 minute commute to work everyday. But what if you took half that time and listened to Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace CDs to help you learn how to get out of debt?

I love NPR as much as the next person but what if three times a week you listened to some Health and Wellness Training CDs to help educate you about your health challenges.

But Dr. Mary I love to get in the groove in the morning with the top 40 hits… well that’s fine, but what if you picked just a few favorites to get you going in the morning, or even transitioned to listening to music that had great rhythm but was sending your brain a positive, uplifting and spiritual based message. My favorite is listening to KLOVE… try it for 30 days and just watch how the mood of you and your family changes.

Here are some of my tips:

1. Be Intentional
What areas of your life do you want to work on?

Spiritual Wellness: Maybe you want to start reading your Bible more but can’t fit it into your days. You now have the option to listen via a smartphone app I have the Daily Bible App that has a Daily Plan helping you listen and read the Bible in a year.

Define what it is you are resolving to change and then choose books, audios, and radio shows, or TV shows that can help you TRAIN YOUR BRAIN.

2. Stay Motivated
How will you stay motivated?

Probably the hardest part of our willingness to change is motivation.

Physical health is an area that we can easily fall off the wagon or lose our motivation. One of the tips I use is to watch things that will re-motivate me. I love health documentaries on Netflix, or audio books on gluten intolerance, or a motivational book or blog by other people who have released weight or changed their health.

Maybe your goal is to get more sleep this year. I highly recommend watching the Nova Special Sleepless in America. It was very powerful for both my husband and myself. We made a commitment to change our sleep patterns after that and it has been two weeks and we both have felt so much better physically and emotionally.

Daily, weekly or monthly choose reading, listening or watching material that will help you stay motivated.

3. Repetition
They say the mother of all learning is repetition. When we repeat something, we pick up new ideas, get re-motivated, or even understand things at a deeper level.  Listen, watch or read the same thing over and over so it really penetrates your brain. It all starts with your brain and thoughts. Change your thinking and you can change your habits.

4. Use Technology and Save  
I bet I could find another $200 to $500 in your yearly budget. $500 could help you pay off debt, get a yearly gym membership, buy you a monthly cleaning lady visit, a nice weekend away, or even a weekly babysitter.

What if you transitioned your cable and or Sirius Radio to Netflix, Hulu, or Audible?  There are many primetime TV shows that if you are willing to wait a day or week, you can watch for FREE on the Internet. Because most TV’s are becoming Internet capable. This is a huge savings.

But if you are like me and have kids, you need cartoons, learning shows etc. to stay sane. Netflix for about $8 a month will do the trick. Need your movies? Well upgrade Netflix to about $16 a month and you can get newer movies in the mail.

Your smartphone has multiple apps on it for FREE to help you listen to programs, sermons, and just about anything you want. My three favorites are my Bible app, Elevation podcast, and Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership podcasts. Audible is a membership site with minimal monthly fees that lets you own books to listen to at a fraction of the cost of the book.

5. Combine Your Activities
Most moms I work with have very limited time. “I don’t have time to read.” “I don’t have time to exercise.”…  Well there are always solutions to every problem. If you are making it a priority, then you need to find ways to get the activities in to make the change.




With the technology solutions I just gave you, you can now combine all these activities. Your phone can be playing a book on tape while you have a morning walk, your laptop can be playing your favorite inspirational TV show while you are working out, and your car can become your new learning university on wheels.

Audible and my smartphone are my favorites because I am in a season of life without a lot of time for quiet sit down reading but I can listen at least an hour broken up throughout my day from walking, shower, dish doing or driving. My Audible membership is the best $14 a month I spend a month on me.

The last tip or warning I will give you is:

You have to be very cautious of who and what you listen to.

Something may sound positive, uplifting, and even ring true but it may be specifically leading you down a road of fruitlessness.  Years ago I used to listen to this CD trainings that on the outside seemed very powerful spiritually and life changing.

These individuals had and have thousands of people following them, ordering their monthly trainings and trying to utilize what they learned. One day my eyes were really opened to how empty these teachings were. I recognized it from the results that the people got who took these trainings. YIKES! That was a WAKE UP CALL…

There are even SECRET SOCIETIES out there that have these books they have written that say they have all the SECRETS to WEALTH, HAPPINESS, SUCCESS. BE CAREFUL anytime you have to qualify to be able to read a book or have to pay money repeatedly to be a part of something.

Here is a list of great reads, watches, or listening I did in the past month…

Train your brain daily with positive focused learning and watch how it helps mold your behaviors


Unstoppable by Christine Caine

What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast by Laura Vanderkam

The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst

From Paupers to Princes by Kris Vallotton

Smartphone Apps

Daily Bible

Elevation App – The Power of Same by Steven Furtick

KV Ministries – Healthy Families by Kris Vallotton


Fat Sick and Nearly Dead 2

Tiny House

Forks over Knives

Property Brothers

Grace Unplugged movie

Silver Linings Playbook movie

Signing Time (learning sign language with my kids)

Internet TV

PBS Nova Special Sleepless in America

PBS Call of the Midwife Christmas Special

Tiny Houses

Tree House Masters


Disclaimer: This information is not meant to diagnose, prescribe, treat or cure any illness or disease. It’s strictly for informational, educational, or entertainment purposes ONLY. The products I talk about are not meant to diagnose, prescribe, treat or cure any illness or disease. Any information I give you about them is for informational or entertainment purposes only. They have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA. Please seek the qualified health professional of your choice when making health decisions for yourself, your family and your pets.


I turned 40 years old this past Tuesday the 6th of January. Thank you for all the birthday wishes on Facebook. I spent 40 hours on a retreat by myself, no kids, no husband just me doing what I wanted. Sound selfish or does it sound awesome to you? Do you feel like you could never ask for what you want or do what you want? A few days before my birthday I posted this on Facebook:

I am turning 40 in a few days and it took the past 4 weeks and 40 years of my life to learn how to start asking for what I need and more importantly what I want. Do you ask for you want? Or do you shy away because you put others needs in front of yours, or you think you don’t really need it, or you are afraid of rejection or disappointment. #‎almost40

The response I got was overwhelming.  Many women and men are not asking for what they need.

I spend every day putting others first, even total strangers. It has taken a major toll on my health over the past few years and though I will continue to serve and bless others its time to take care of me and that starts with asking for what I want and need!  – Health and WellnessCoach & Mom of 5 children from 17- 5 months old

So why do we put everyone else first but ourselves? Here were some of your answers:

I’m a people pleaser. I hate confrontation. I don’t like to disappoint people and I fear rejection.

It’s hard for me to ask for what I need, I put others needs before my own. I am afraid of disappointment, which is why I rarely ask.

Put others needs in front of mine mostly and fear of rejection and disappointment.

And I’ve always feared coming across as selfish when I want too much for myself.

I tend to give give give and burn out. Learning more how to ask so I do not.

Probably 60/40. I still hesitate not so much out of fear but concern that I am being too selfish. Then I get a grip and realize who better than will really know what I need.

Some of you are more comfortable serving others than receiving help. Here is a comment from a woman who loves to serve but is understanding that it’s also good to receive too.

I am by far way more comfortable serving others needs than being served. One day after leaving someone’s home that I had the privilege of caring for, I was overwhelmed by the joy of being able to be a blessing to this person. It was then that God showed me that by being “self sufficient” instead of accepting help when I am in need, I was robbing the other person of their blessing in serving my needs.

It appears that with age comes wisdom. Some of the women who are older than me gave me these comments:

I ask now, if I need help with anything. Too many years, I did it all, and making me last (it was exhausting!), no more!! It’s my time now!. And I’m not afraid to say No, if I don’t want something, or don’t want to do something. I can say NO without feeling guilty!! But it took me till 60 not or 40 to figure it out!! Glad you did 20 years before me!

I flat out ask. I used to hint around without success.

Yes, it takes us some time to figure this out, but once you do…look out! Your life will take on a whole new meaning!!

There is something about 40 that changes your brain and the things you have dealt with all your life look different.

So there it is 40 and now finally understanding that I need to ask for what I want. But first we must understand what it is we want, be able to communicate it effectively, and lastly be okay if a person or group of individuals can not give us what it is we need or want.

This topic leads us to an important topic for 2015 I like to call SELF CARE. Self Care is more than getting some daily exercise, enough sleep, getting our hair done or a massage. We will discover more about Self Care this year for yours and my benefit. They say each year you should think of a word or phrase that will lead you throughout it. For me it’s SELF CARE… so that is what you will see monthly in our blogs.

Our first assignment is figuring out what it is we need and want and learning how to effectively ask for it.

Last year I coached a mom to be sure to communicate effectively to her husband before a big anniversary date in which he normally gave her expensive jewelry that what she really wanted and what would bring her much more joy and peace was a weekly cleaning lady. She did it and guess what? Every Friday she comes home to clean toilets, mop floors, vacuum rugs, and clean sheets on their beds. Recognizing what she needed, asking effectively and the husband responding to her wishes makes this mom so much happier and makes him a SUPERSTAR in her eyes every week.

Your turn. Figure out this week something you need and who it is that can assist you with that. Communicate with them directly what it is you need. Be okay with whatever the answer is. Let us know how it goes over on our Facebook Page.

For your Total Wellness,

Mary Starr Carter
the Total Wellness Doc and Mom


Disclaimer: This information is not meant to diagnose, prescribe, treat or cure any illness or disease. It’s strictly for informational, educational, or entertainment purposes ONLY. The products I talk about are not meant to diagnose, prescribe, treat or cure any illness or disease. Any information I give you about them is for informational or entertainment purposes only. They have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA. Please seek the qualified health professional of your choice when making health decisions for yourself, your family and your pets.