Successful people are simply those with success habits. – Brian Tracy
Most of life is habitual. You do many of the same things you did yesterday and the day before. Unfortunately, not all habits we have are good. There are plenty of distractions to lead us off in another direction. Habits, good or bad are what make you so even the smallest effort can make a change. However change is hard work and there are no shortcuts to achieving it. Why do you want to change it? What would happen if you didn’t make a change? What’s in it for you if you do? Weigh up these questions and then you make the choice. It is no longer an automatic action because every time you perform the action, you know you will be making a choice.
The main reason you formed the habit in the first place is that it filled a need. However, you need to feel good about the choices you make. So if you know it is a bad choice, substitute it for a better one. Here are seven actionable steps to help make new habits stick.
1. Be proactive
You choose your actions and attitudes. Don’t shift blame onto others. Look for alternatives not roadblocks. Focus on what you can do. It is up to you. Start today, not tomorrow
2. Look forward
Develop a clear picture of where you going,what you want to achieve and why it would be good to get there. After all if you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you get there! Make sure aim for a habit that is likely to succeed or be effective in real circumstances
3. Write it down
A commitment becomes more serious when you put it on paper. It helps you to clarify what you want to do.
4. One at a time
Trying to change too much at once can be difficult to maintain. Instead focus on one habit for a month. By this time, it should have become a new habit.
5. Replace loss
If something is being taken away, you need to find a replacement. For example, if you want to watch less television, you might try to find a new way to relax and unwind.
6. Is it working?
If after a month you reflect on the effect of the new habit and there seems to be more pain than joy, it is going to be a difficult habit to stick to. For example, if you hate going to the gym and it just seems like a chore, consider playing tennis once a week with a friend or find another way to exercise that suits you.
It helps to have support and encouragement especially when working towards breaking habits. It also helps to keep you accountable as to continuing to stick to you plan when you share your progress with someone.
So start today to because in the words of Charlie Gilkey, a writer, speaker, and business advisor for creative entrepreneurs and small businesses,
How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.
How do you create new regular habits?