Habits, LI

How to Start Strong Habits

Have you ever said that you are going to start a new habit just to have it fail the next day? 

I mean you did so well the first day. What happened?

You did not successfully create a new habit because you had a weak start.

It is human nature to want so many things all at once that you end up not being about to do any of it.  Most people will give themselves a list of habits to create that is impossible to fulfill.

With so many different things going on throughout the day, you need to make sure your list is doable. The best way to know this is to figure out if it can fit seamlessly into your regular routine.

Creating a new habit is a process; set small goals, take time to reflect and plan, and stop being a perfectionist.

Know what your current habits are

Most of the things you do each and every day are habits.  It is not that you are a failure at creating habits, but rather you are struggling to create new habits because you are missing the proper strategies. 

Before you begin the process of creating new habits, you need to take stock of your current habits.

Set a timer for 10 minutes and list all your current habits.  List them all – the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Be honest.  No one is going to see this list except you.

You should list things such as brushing your teeth after you shower every morning, putting your pants on left leg first, kissing your significant other good bye every time you leave to go somewhere, writing in a journal every evening, opening your email as soon as you sit down to the computer, saying thank you every time somebody does something for you.

These are just some ideas; you will have plenty more.  I want you to see that habits are a part of your daily life.  They are not always bad, but they are always routine.

Add in more of the good stuff

It is so wonderful to think about all the things that could happen to us if we just did that “one thing.”  Unfortunately, diving right in may not always be the answer.

Think about one to three habits that you want to create or change.  Keep them positive.  Instead of saying “I’m not going to do x.” Say “I’m going to do y instead of x.”

Focus only on those three. 

I say three because there are so many areas in our life that we could create new habits.  So, only focus on one habit per area of your life.

  • Maybe you want to focus on writing every day – that can go in your spiritual or business area of your life.
  • Then, you could also focus on exercising for 30 minutes every day – that goes in the health and fitness area of your life.
  • You may also decide to focus on spending 20 minutes a day with each of your children – that goes in the family area of your life.

As you see, the three ideas above all go into different areas of your life, but they all affect you as a whole.

Get moving

All plans are great, but you must take action on them to be successful.

Now that you know what you want to do, schedule time in your calendar to do it.  Then, do it.

Even if you feel like you are not doing it correctly, continue to do them.  The more you practice, the better you will get and more solidified the habit will become.

It is very much like the phrase “fake it, until you make it.”  Just keep doing it until it becomes habit.

Mix it Up

After you have stuck with learning a new habit for 3 weeks, it is okay to add more.  It is also okay to change the goal of the habit.

You may find that you are successfully creating your new habit and feel that it is time to add more.  Listen to your instincts and add more if you feel it is time.

You may also find that the habit you are trying to create is not working right.  Review what you are trying to do and recreate the habit.  Maybe instead of 20 minutes a day, you may need to aim for 10 minutes a day.

Take small steps

As you work on creating your new habit, use small steps and celebrate all the small accomplishments.

If your goal is to spend 30 minutes a day exercising, you may try starting with 10 minutes a day.  Exercise 10 minutes every day for 1 week, then reward yourself.   

Next week aim for 15 minutes a day.  Celebrate the accomplishment of the small steps because it will get you to your ultimate goal.

Take time to plan

When trying to succeed at any goal, it is important that you take time to plan and reflect.  Even when creating new habits.

Schedule time into your calendar each week to reflect on how you are doing at creating the new habit.

  • Ask yourself:
  • What has gone well?
  • Why has that gone well?
  • What has gone poorly?
  • Why has that gone poorly?
  • Where can I improve?
  • Who can I ask for help?
  • Where can I best practice my new habit?
  • When can I best practice my new habit?

Stop being a perfectionist

Get out of your head.

Everyone, especially if you are an entrepreneur wants to do everything to perfection.  Building new habits is not about perfection.

It is about practicing when you say you are going to practice and not giving up.

Just like someone learning to throw a ball, it will take practice but eventually it will become habit.

You can use the adage, “try, try, and try again,” if you would like.  However, I would recommend altering it to “do, do, and do again.”

Creating a new habit is a process, but one you can definitely succeed at.  Remember to set yourself a goal, take small steps, mix it up, and give yourself time to plan it.

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