Everybody craves instant success what we struggle to realise is consistent incremental growth can lead to big changes. Just think about a sailing boat that adjusted the angle of helm by only 1%, this would greatly impact the destination of the boat after a few days. Compound this equation with time and you can begin to see how small daily choices can transform our lives. Todays blog shares some ways to approach creating a new habit.
The first one begins by writing a plan instead of relying on how you feel to motivate you to take action. So many of us wake up and decide we just don't have the will power rather than doing the new habit regardless of what we feel. A plan involves writing down when the action is going to happen and making it a SMART - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-framed, that way you don't need to rely on feeling ready or motivated as you have a plan. Good to have a backup plan too which involves a plan B if something prevents you from achieving plan A.
The second idea points to environment and how our environment shapes the things we do on a daily basis. Like if we want to read a book we are more likely to if it's on the bedside table and we see it every night. Our desire to do things is so often influenced by things that we see around us so be sure to have cues for whatever new habit you're trying to development in your home, office or space you're in. I sometimes suggest clients use post it notes with words that cue actions, have a blanket on a cushion somewhere to remind them to sit and practice mindfulness or use images and art to orient their mind toward a goal.
Developing a habit comes when we practice something over and over and get lots of repetitions in. It is common for us to focus on the end goal, achieving that end result before we have even got there. But what if we just focussed on the start and getting that first experience optimal so we can actually start the process rather than trying to motivate from the finish line. Practicing mindfulness can help us be present and optimising a growth mindset that is able to be focussed on experience rather outcome.
Some great resources to help you develop a new habit are:
Atomic habits by James Clear.
Habit Stacking NYT article
The Neuroscience of Habit Change Forbes Article