If you have read my previous blogs, you will know by now that I encourage you to Dream BIG and Think BIG. But it’s important to understand that quick dramatic changes in a life are pretty rare. It’s great to shoot for the moon, but you might want to learn some rocket science before departure.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit”
Forging new habits is not light work
When it comes to adopting new habits don’t expect a miracle or instant dramatic changes. Accept that whatever you are aiming for will have to be achieved in small stages. Decide on what daily contributions you can make to that BIG picture goal of yours.
“A journey of 1000 miles starts with a single step”
One way to make progress is to add a new part to the “chain” of your existing behaviour. Example – Say to yourself “Instead of doing X, whenever I do Y, I will also do Z!”
- Try to cut down the number of decisions that you need to make. Make fewer decisions. Relentless decision-making is tiring.
- Try to make the boring bits in your life a matter of routine and thereby take the effort out of them.
- Learn to visualise / fantasise about doing the work – not the result. Fall in love with the work and the results will come.
Commit to doing what you need to do for 30 days. It may be that the 21-day rule is a myth (people say you can form a lifelong new habit if you can keep it up for 21 days) but if you are aiming to add something to the way you do things (create a new habit) then 3 to 4 weeks or 1 month is a great time period for an attempt to make a habit stick. Find out how the LifeDesign™ Method can help you make changes in 30 days here.
Whatever small steps you decide on, do it/them daily. If you do something less than daily, it will be much more difficult to make it a habit.
Start modestly – avoid attempting to do too much – half an hour a day is much easier to find and deliver than two hours a day. Set up a way of reminding yourself of what you intended to do – you need a “burr in the saddle” to keep you on track. Find a friend who is prepared to make your life a misery if you don’t do what you promised.
Be consistent – Do that small thing each day at the same time, perhaps in the same place, in the same environment. If you do something every evening when you come home after work that will link homecoming to the new habit. Remember to replace lost needs if the new habit means you are giving something up – replace it with a different kind of reward – one that does you no damage!
Always reward your important milestones
Be ready to fail – prepare yourself for at least four attempts to get going. Start using the word “But” to good effect. Start inserting it into sentences as a bridge towards something positive. Example, follow “I’m no good at this” with “I’m no good at this, but! I’m going to get better”
Treat your new habit as an experiment. Don’t judge progress until after a month. Make arrangements to assess progress after a month.
- Start small
- Learn to manage negative thoughts
- Find ways to enjoy the new habit
- Plan for failure (it’s inevitable)
New, emerging habits are fragile. When things go wrong analyse where, why, how, when things started to break down…. Start again. Don’t forget to visit our shop to have a look at all the great LifeDesign™ products we have on offer.
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