It’s been reported that between 40-45% of our daily lives are run by habits.
That makes it really important to ensure those habits support our dreams.
We all struggle with habits — dealing with bad ones, creating good ones, sticking to them, staying motivated and dealing with disruptions.
And yet, to change our habits is to change our lives.
If we can’t make habit changes, we’ll be stuck in our current way of doing things where nothing changes creating same old..same old.
If you want to lose weight, beat procrastination, write a book, get fit, live mindfully, start meditating … you have to develop habits that influence those desires.
Luckily, the process is simpler than most of us realize.
Simple, not easy: you have to be committed and really want to make the change.
Otherwise its just too easy to quit when things get difficult, which of course they will.
Here’s the first thing to keep in mind: work on one habit at a time.
I know….when we make a decision to change we want to make a clean sweep and change a bunch of things all at once.
Resist the urge.
Each change needs a minimum of 3 weeks of undivided attention to stick.
With that in mind, follow these 5 simple steps:
- Start super small. Do one habit at a time, and do it super small. How small? Just meditate for 2 minutes. Write down one thing you’re grateful for. Just do 5 push ups or 5 sun salutations. Just eat one vegetable a day. Run around one block. If you start small, you remove the resistance to starting, which is the hardest part. When I was starting a gratitude practice I used to tell myself, “ just get out your journal and a pen write down one thing you’re grateful for” and that’s how I formed the gratitude practice that transformed my life.
- Remove choice. Don’t think about it — make a decision ahead of time to do it every day at the same time for at least 3 weeks and then — just start. Have a trigger that’s already in your daily life (like waking up, or showering, brushing your teeth, starting the coffee maker, eating lunch, whatever) and use that as the trigger for an when/then statement: “When I wake up, I’ll meditate for 2 minutes…as soon as I finish my coffee I’ll write in my gratitude journal.” Help yourself to remember by for example putting your journal out the night before with a pen tucked in. It’s ready and waiting for you. The main point is: make the decision to do it every day, and then begin doing it without thinking.
- Get some accountability. Have at least one person you report to — an accountability partner. Or a group of friends. Or a walking/running partner. It doesn’t matter how you set it up, but having someone to report to means you are much more likely to push yourself past resistance when it comes up.
- Make it fun. Don’t just do the habit as if it were a chore. See if you can enjoy it. How can you make it fun, play, joyous? The habit is much more likely to stick if you focus on the parts you enjoy, rather than mindlessly try to check it off your to-do list.
- Be committed. Why are you doing this new behavior? Reflect on this during the first week, as you establish the new habit. What deeper reason do you have? Are you doing this habit to help others? As an act of self-love, so that you can be healthier or happier? If you’re just doing it because you think you should, or because it sounds cool, it will be very difficult to push past resistance when it comes up.
This is doable.
You can change your old ways by consciously doing something repeatedly, until it’s a wonderful, healthy new habit. Take small steps to get started, remove choice so you don’t think about whether to start or not, get some accountability and understand your motivation so you push past resistance, and find joy and fun in the midst of the action.
One habit, done daily.
Small steps with intention, support and a smile.
It can make all the difference in the world. It can change your life.
Share the love. if you know someone who is struggling to create new habits in their life please with them. Better yet become accountability partners and keep each other on track and motivated.