Creating new habits can be scary when you are trying to do it alone. Unfortunately, for many this is how they do it. Everyone has times in their lives where they want to create new habits or change a behavior for the better. As a parent entrepreneur, you most likely encounter this on a regular basis.
We are always trying to improve our businesses, our lives, and our family interactions. You may have found yourself recently trying to drink more water or get into the habit of regular exercise. It could even be something for your business such as consistent blogging or dedicating a certain time period to posting on social media.
You may even want to create new habits on a spiritual level or one of the other areas of your life. There are many areas in our daily loves that can be made easier or improved with a small change. Creating new habits is how you begin to see these improvements and make a difference in your life.
As the saying goes, “creating a habit is easier said than done.” It seems so easy to create bad habits that we eventually need to change, however creating good habits becomes challenging as it seems to take much more effort. This is because our bodies naturally want to do certain things, while other things are not as natural.
It will take time and effort to overcome your body’s own natural desires, but you can accomplish anything. You are an entrepreneur and that is what you do. You overcome obstacles. You create the life you want. You reach for your dreams.
Creating habits or rituals is a part of this process. Let me explain. You may be put off by the term ritual because you relate it to deep spirituality. A ritual is simply something you do repeatedly just because you do without thinking about it. You can also think of it as a tradition.
As an example: getting dressed a certain way, brushing your teeth in a specific pattern, or the whole process of getting ready in the morning can be considered a ritual. I always put my pants on first, then my shirt and my right sock on, then my left. Pay attention the next time you get dressed in the morning and try to do it differently the next morning. It will seem very odd and may even throw you off. This is a ritual.
A habit is something you do repeatedly at a set time without thinking about it. (At least in my definition.) An example of this is that I only check my email at certain times throughout the day. I check my email once 9 am and once at 2pm. This gives me time in the morning to get some of things done and go through my morning rituals and time at the end of the day to add anything important into my schedule for tomorrow.
Many times, rituals, routines, and habits are used interchangeably. It really does depend upon your definition of each. Myself, I like to have some type of separation so that I can truly focus on what I want to accomplish. Your definition may be different.
Whether you are creating habits, rituals, or routines, you can do so without much difficulty. There is a simple three step process, again it is much easier said than done, but you can do it. Anytime you want to make a change it will take effort.
Following the 3-step process over and over until you have made the change or new behavior a regular part of your life.
1. Determine what it is that you want to do or change.
There are probably a million and one things that you want to change or habits that you want to create. I know, even now as I write this, my list is extremely long. I do promise, though, that my list used to be longer…maybe.
I started with a very long list and was always overwhelmed when I tried changing everything. Of course, I didn’t have someone telling me that I should only choose one thing at a time. Instead, I tried to change or alter several things at once.
This only led to the feeling of failure as day after day I was able to complete less and less. Plus, it felt like work. Changing my life or creating a new habit should not feel like work. If it’s something that you want to have in your everyday life, or a change that you want to make then it needs to be able to flow with the rest of your life.
Eventually, I found some super great advice.
It was simple advice and made a ton of sense to me.
I was told that I should only pick one – three things at a time. This made a lot of sense, but I didn’t know what to do first. I started with what I knew: making lists helps me organize my thoughts.
I made that list, then had to determine which ones would benefit me the most at that given time. I picked one from three different areas of my life. I did this because I felt that trying to change everything with my health or everything for my business all at once would only lead to overwhelm. After all, this is how it always worked for me. It was time to do something different.
Without changing the way you do things, you will never grow or improve. Plus, I wanted to make a change, not stay the same.
So, I leave it to you. What do you want to change? Which habit do you want to create?
Step 1: Make a list of all the habits and changes you want to make.
Step 2: Pick one to three that will most benefit you at this time.
Do you want to change a health habit, something with your relationship, a way you complete tasks at work?
These will be your focus for the next 21-31 days. It has been said that 21 days will make a habit, but I feel spending a whole month on it will help it truly develop and stay with you for life.
2. Set reminders to practice your new habit.
When you first start practicing your new habit, you will have a lot of motivation. The first few days will seem very easy. Eventually, within a few days your old habits will be pushing their way back through.
You need to set some kind of reminder to practice.
I did not listen to this advice the first few times I tried creating new habits such as regular exercise, drinking more water, only checking emails twice a day, and only checking social media a few times throughout the day. Instead, I tried to go on autopilot thinking that I would be able to continually practice my new habit.
I fell flat on my face. I was so wrong. I found myself attached to my email and social media again. I found myself creating every excuse possible not to exercise- “it’s too hot,” “it’s too cold,” “I’m two minutes late,” “my socks aren’t feeling right.” I used almost excuse under the sun. I fell back into my old habits.
I finally decided that to make a change, I actually had to change the way I was doing things as well. I decided to begin scheduling it in my calendar and using reminders. There are many apps that can remind you at specific intervals to do things such as drink water, write in your journal, reflect on your day, check your social media pages, or call a friend.
No matter how silly or ridiculous it may sound to you, use your calendar and reminders. You may find it helpful to have it on your to-do list as well. I am not going to lie to you. When you get to the days after the easy ride, it will get tough.
That is when you need to become more diligent. PUT IT IN YOUR SCHEDULE.
3. Make it a part of your regular routine until it becomes habit.
Creating a new habit and changing your regular behaviors takes time. This is not something that you can do once and expect to change. You also can’t expect it to change within a week. However, you can expect the habit or change to happen even if you make mistakes along the way.
Putting it in your schedule and practicing it regularly doesn’t mean that you will do it perfectly. It is a learning process. The best way anyone learns is by making mistakes. Allow yourself to make those mistakes. Then, use them as learning moments to improve your success.
Adding it to your regular routine will give you the best advantage toward reaching your goal of making the change. It will become a concrete habit if you are able practice it regularly. Adding that walk to your after dinner or morning routine will make it more likely that it will actually get done.
Choosing to pack a healthy snack instead of using the vending machine at work, or setting a time to write your blog during the specified time will help you succeed.
You will have days that you forget or do not do it perfectly, that’s fine. Having as a part of your routine will decrease the amount of willpower and reminders you need.
Rinse and repeat until it becomes a solidified habit.
Remember, there are days that you will not feel like it or feel as though you completely blew it. These feelings will happen, but you need to keep pushing along. Simply thinking about it and doing your best will help make you that much better.
Building a habit and making a change takes time and effort. I, for one, know that it is not easy; I have had my fair share of failures and incomplete tasks. I used these moments as learning opportunities for determining what I can do next time to help me succeed.
You can do this. Take the time. Allow yourself to put forth the effort. Eventually, you will notice the habit taking form over time. One day you will look back and ask yourself how you ever struggled to do such and such or how you ever made it through your day with that nightly walk.