Habits are the foundation to success in meeting goals.
Everyone “knows” it takes 21 days to form a habit, right? So it seems like the best way to build good habits would be to pick a habit and then just do it for 21 days. So we buy a 64 oz water bottle with the idea that we’ll fill it and drink it daily for 3 weeks and then voila!, we will be addicted to water.
So, how’s that working for everyone? Not too well, I’m guessing. The truth is, there’s an art to creating new habits. For true change, you’ll need to have a better plan than “Do it.” I’ve experimented a lot, and here is what I find most helpful for building new habits.
My Three Steps for Building Habits
1. Make it easy.
I am currently building a habit of using the Book of Common Prayer for daily prayer and Bible readings. To that end, I keep a book of common prayer and a Bible at my bedside table and by my favorite living room chair. That way, in the morning, when I’m sitting drinking my tea, the books I need for this habit are right there. And if I don’t do it in the morning, when I go to bed and remember it, the books are right there. I’ve made it easy for myself by removing the excuse.
Do you want to drink 64 oz of water a day? Start by creating a habit of drinking 8 oz of water every time you brush your teeth. Put an 8 oz cup by your toothbrush. That’s 16 oz of water more than you were drinking before!
Are you trying to change your eating habits, but can’t resist the impulse buys in the grocery store? Use online shopping and pick up your groceries already selected and bagged. It saves time AND eliminates your impulse buys.
Identify the primary excuse that stops you and then outsmart it.
2. Get support.
When I decided to lose weight, I chose to use the Take Shape for Life system. One reason was that it is easy: you buy the food, eat the food, and lose the weight! The other reason is that it comes with a health coach: as soon as I committed, I had a coach staying in touch with me and encouraging me. That support is invaluable in my past and current health journey.
I belong to the 10 Minute Novelists group on Facebook, and every year they maintain a daily writing challenge. I participate because I know that they will hold me accountable to my commitment to writing, and that they will encourage me when I’m feeling down.
None of us can succeed in isolation.
3. Embrace failure.
You will fail. There will be days that nothing goes right. There will be days when you don’t want to do what you’ve committed to. There will be a week when you realize you haven’t done XYZ for 10 days. Accept that you are building a new habit, and failure is part of the process.
Instead of beating yourself up, look at WHY you failed. Was it not easy enough? Did your support system fail? Go back to steps one and two and fine tune them.
Are you ready to make 2018 the year of achieving your dreams? Do you want some help along the way? Sign up for my Weekly Accountability program!
I will help you break down your goals into teeny tiny steps. I will help you cultivate those baby steps into new habits. And I will hold you accountable the entire way. And best of all, my program is only $12.99 a month!