Habits - We Are Them
Updated: Oct 16, 2022
Motivation gets you started but habits are the only thing that keeps you going. It sounds like a quote from an athletic ad, but think about it. Look at anything you do on a daily basis. At some point, something motivated you to start and create that habit.
Take brushing your teeth as an example. When you started brushing your teeth at an early age, it was not something you really wanted to do. In fact, your mom or dad may have
had to bribe you, just to get you to do it. It was a ritual performed, once in the morning and once in the evening. As years passed, you still got up every morning and brushed your teeth and every night before you climbed into bed (we hope). There were mornings or evenings where I’m sure you didn’t feel like doing it, but you did it. The reason is ..........because it became a HABIT!
Habits are who we are.....
Habits can either help or hinder us in living our best life. Any habit, good or bad, becomes part of who we are. It’s our individual responsibility to make smart choices of what stays or goes.
Habits are not all good. Take nail biting, lack of sleep, reactivity, sugar addiction, or saying “um” or “like” every other word. Bad habits are just addicting as good habits and sometimes even more so. They are the ones we should break because they are not serving us.
But something like brushing our teeth, IS a positive habit, since it keeps our teeth in tip-top shape. There’s less chance of cavities and a possible root canal. The best part is the fresh, minty breath!
For the purpose of this blog let’s just focus on establishing good habits. (Bad habits are for another day.)
How do you establish a good habit?
So first we have to make a list. Yes, a list. I’m sure you're saying, “oh no, here she goes again with the lists”. But writing things down on paper is effective and it helps facilitate action. It’s hard to take action on things swirling around in your head. So MAKE a list of all the things you would like to change, big or small. I know it's tempting to list things you would like to change about others but let's focus on you only. Rate them from 1 to 10, with 1 being the most needed and desired change and 10 being ‘there is no way’ I’ll ever do this.
Take a look at your #1 and let’s get started.
We all have things we do in our daily routine that happen without much effort. We brush our teeth, we drive to work, we make our bed, etc. So find something in your current daily routine that you can ‘attach’ this new habit to.
For example, say you want to start exercising. Your current daily routine includes getting out of bed, right? Well, before you go to bed, put your sneakers, socks, and gym clothes next to your bed so everything is ready to go when you get up in the morning. And yes, you will have to set your alarm a little bit earlier than normal. So when the alarm goes off, you get up and see your exercise clothes waiting for you. Put on the socks, sneakers and the sweats.
Now what? Maybe you won’t be running 10 miles, at first, when you haven’t even walked around the block lately. The key here is baby steps. I can’t stress enough that baby steps are crucial for starting and maintaining the habit. If we start our first day or week with too much, there is a higher probability you’ll call it quits on the very first day. So maybe you only want to do 5 sit-ups, 5 pushups and jog in place for 1 minute.
Good job!!!! You have started on your way to implementing a consistent practice of exercise! 75% of the battle of incorporating a new habit is just taking that first step!
An important disclaimer - It can get rough before it gets easy
The first week or so may be a little rough. Trying to keep up the momentum AND being consistent can be hard, but it’s like any other habit. It takes a minimum of 21 days for the habit to materialize. And depending upon how difficult the habit is to establish, it can take upwards to 90 days to turn your practice into a habit. But keep showing up and keep doing it even when you don’t FEEL like it.
Motivation gets you started, discipline and resolve will get you through the hard parts but a habit will keep you going.
I’ve started many new habits over the years including a new healthy diet and lifestyle, a motivating self-care morning (which is called Miracle Morning which will be a subject of one of my blogs in the future) and daily meditation. If I can do this, YOU CAN TOO!
Sometimes we moan and groan, ‘If only I could do this or start this or maintain this’.
Well I am giving you the secret step. JUST START! Make a decision to start TOMORROW! Not next week, next month, or when you have enough money, energy, the right sneakers (or gym outfit), enough time (there is PLENTY of time in a day, trust me on this one), the right friends, the perfect weather, etc.
Our habits and goals are our responsibility and no one else's. It all comes back to priority. We have to ask ourselves, honestly, do we REALLY want the change enough to make it a priority? If we really want it, we will find the time and resources to make it happen.
Do you know that once a habit gets stored in our brain, it frees up our brain power for more important things? Think about all the things we do on a daily basis that are done automatically without us even thinking about it. This is a true blessing! How exhausting would it be to have to focus on everything we do all day that now comes naturally. Things like walking, eating, talking, showering are all done easily because they have become habits. Habits are a gift so l let's maximize their power within us.
Habits are everywhere; they are the reality. They can be used for good or they can negatively affect our best life. It’s all up to us. So the next time you want to accomplish something, the key to true success is in the habit.
Just like it’s my habit to write this blog every week. It’s part of my weekend routine (which can sometimes bleed into the week but shhhhhhhhhh).
Since you are reading my blog, hopefully, this too has become a weekly habit.
So if you are willing to take on a new habit, I would love to hear from you! Let me know how it’s going and I will definitely be your biggest cheerleader!
Love you all….. Until next time.