“We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.”
—John Dryden: English poet, literary critic, translator, and playwright
This wonderfully true quote came across my way today. And it’s very important, since Habits are a major part of every single area of our lives. From brushing our teeth, to working out, to how we act in our relationships, to how we behave at work, to succeeding in business.
Here at the Empower Network, our basic ‘habit’ is to blog daily and tell others about it, in order to get paid. Sounds easy enough, but even this is a habit that needs to be formed and gotten used to.
Isn’t it interesting that bad habits are so easy to form but hard to end? While good habits, take longer to form?
click here to learn how to make your habits pay you
Science tells us that the average person needs at least three weeks to form a good habit. But it’s not just something that will happen on its own. Like everything else that’s worth anything, forming a good habit is something you need to approach with determined purpose.
Here are 8 steps that can you in the process:
1) Be clear about what you want
Have you noticed that this is the first step in almost everything? Makes sense, because without a map, you won’t know where you are heading. You need to know what you are trying to achieve and why. Be as clear as possible about this. Do not underestimate the importance of this step. This step alone can be powerful enough to have you creating a new habit or breaking an unwanted one.
So again, be clear, know what you want, visualize it!
2) List the benefits of your new habit.
This goes with the ‘why’ of the previous step. It is a good idea to have clearly written in front of you, the things that will make the hard work of forming new habit worth the trouble. That way, on the days when you feel less than motivated (and they WILL come), you can look at the list and remind yourself WHY you wanted to do this in the first place. Then go back to step 1, be clear, know what you want and visualize it.
3) Commit to the habit
Oh!!! It’s the dreaded “C” word!!! But there is no escaping it. You will not succeed in forming a good habit if you do not make an ‘on purpose’ commitment to it. You can’t just ‘hope’ it will all work out…you have to commit to it and stick to it!!! Yes, there will be times when you will fall off, but get up, dust yourself off and keep going. If you have made a commitment, you will not quit. If you are leaving it to chance, you will most likely quit at the first challenge or failure.
So Commit to what you want to achieve. Make a contract with yourself if you need to. But make this real!
4) Set your goals and reward yourself
Write down your goals. Post them everywhere you can see them. This is a way of keeping the vision before you. As you meet your goals, treat yourself! Appreciate your hard work and commitment. Pat yourself and the back and give yourself something special, you deserve it.
5) Start slowly
Please do not sign up for a marathon when you want to form a habit of “getting into running”. You are destined for failure if you push yourself too hard or if you take on more than you can handle. Take it easy, step by step, little by little…before long…you will have habit you can be proud of.
6) Aim for quality not quantity. Consistency rather than performance.
If you are planning to write a book and need to develop a habit of writing regularly, you are better off starting with a short time set daily for the next month, than writing for two hours for two days and then not doing it any more. Or if you are working out; better to do a little every day, than to do a huge set once in a while…that is NOT a habit!!!!
7) Make yourself accountable.
Tell a friend, a team mate, get a coach, or get your family on board. As them to track your accomplishments and help pull you up on the days you are down.
8) Make it a life style change
don’t just do it for the three weeks it takes to form the habit just because. Once the habit is set at three weeks or however long it may take, just keep on with it. This is a life style change you are making. Stick to it. At the end, when you look back, you will be glad you did.
Congrats! Now that you have a new habit and a new life, Give thanks and Enjoy it!!! Then write and tell me about it 🙂