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We’ve all got them – likely several – they live at the back of our minds steadily stealthily sucking energy. Day by day convincing us that maybe we are not that person that makes things happen… that commits… that follows through.
In today’s weigh-in in show lets discuss: The Habit You Say You Want To Start.
For me it’s meditation.
(ok, also stretching and journaling and juicing… however for today let’s keep to meditation!).
I’ve made some progress with my number one previously always stalled on habit recently and I’d like to share my learnings with you as there’s a good chance they will also apply to that habit you’ve been talking and thinking about starting for too long now.
First up, a couple of considerations for that Habit. You’re thinking of it right now I hope?
One: Check in with your WHY. What will committing to this habit give you? If you’re going to take the time and energy away from something else and give it to this new habit, what do YOU stand to gain?
Often the habits that stay floating in my mind and never get implemented are those that may be awesome for other people yet I’m not sold on them for ME. Like yoga. And Pilates.
Once you’re sold on what you stand to gain…
Two: Check in with your NOW. What tells you that this habit is a now rather than later habit? Do you have enough pain around the results you are not getting and enough pleasure around the results you stand to gain when you commit?
Most of us are more strongly motivated by avoiding pain. Yes, seeking pleasure is also a motivator however the kicker for me with meditation was avoiding the pain of a constantly active brain. I want to switch off. Not with Shiraz. And Not by exercising even more!
Even better than switching off, as I progress with this new habit I’m learning that maybe I’m not needing to switch off or manage my thoughts and emotions better… perhaps its more just being ok sitting with them and observing them calmly?
Let’s power on with 3 steps to apply to that Habit You Say You Want To Start:
Step 1: Know that you can stop whenever you want.
The ‘once I start I’m locked in for life’ mindset is somewhat daunting! Yes, a lot of your most beneficial habits may well be things you continue with long term – even, FOR EVER! However when you’re just starting out… when you’re just taking a new habit for a spin: Ease off on the pressure.
Aim for one day at a time. You can do anything for a day right?
Step 2: Start with something manageable.
This carries on from step one and was my big block with meditation. It’s the same as the old ‘an average plan you stick to is better than the ideal plan you don’t stick to.’
We’re talking stepping stones. Even if a 5 minute walk a day isn’t going radically transform your body it’s still worth starting with: It’ll lead to more. In the same way that I know my current 10 minutes a day meditation is not the best case scenario, it’s all that is manageable right now and it’ll very likely lead to more.
Make it easy for yourself to succeed and build only as you feel ready to.
Step 3: Track your progress.
I was a slow learner with this one. With the habits that come more easily perhaps we don’t need to track our progress. Maybe we’re naturally aware of it anyway. However with those struggle-street habits it’s important to have all the help you can get!
At a phycological level tracking your progress utilises your natural desire to as Jerry Seinfeld would say: “not break the chain.”
I first heard about ‘The Seinfeld Strategy’ on a podcast: I can’t remember which one though so thanks to google here is the ‘The Seinfeld Strategy’ as recalled by a young comedian Brad Isaac in an interview he did with Lifehacker…
Brad met Jerry backstage at a comedy club when ‘Seinfeld’ was still a new show and Jerry was still a touring comic. Brad took the opportunity to ask Jerry if he had any tips for a young comic.
He said “the way to be a better comic was to create better jokes and the way to create better jokes was to write every day”. There is more! Beyond that Jerry shared a simple system he uses to get himself to write every day.
It’ll work for whatever daily habit you want to create.
You’ll need a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page AND a big red magic marker.
Now hang that calendar on a prominent wall.
Each day you complete the habit, you get to put a big red X over that day.
To quote Seinfeld: “After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your ONLY job next is to not break the chain.”
Interestingly Jerry Seinfeld has now dis-associated himself from The Seinfeld Strategy, however whether we credit it to him or not, the method is effective.
It’s a simple way to track your progress and continually show yourself how far you’ve come. As I mentioned, tracking has not been such a strength of mine however with the new meditation habit I’m creating I’m using an app that walks you through the first 10 days and each day you see what you’ve already done and what is next.
I’m surprised at how much it makes me want to continue.
In case you’re curious, I’m 7 days in and I absolutely recommend this app/program for the novice-impatient-meditator such as myself.
If being calm is something you feel the need to schedule into your life – for a set, short period of time – YES, I get how ridiculous that sounds and how much work it shows I have to do (!) however I know I’m not the only one! Anyway, it that sounds familiar to you then the program is headspace. Simply headspace.com.
To get actionable today of course let’s go with the habit you’ve been thinking of all of this show.
That Habit You Say You Want To Start. What is a really manageable way to get started with that habit? It really doesn’t matter how small or how short as you’re just taking this habit for a spin right? If you like the way it’s working for you then it’ll lead to more… if not, then you can stop any time you like.
That’s it for today… in tomorrows Thursday Training show I’m covering how to: Bullet-proof Your Motivation To Exercise.
If you liked this you’ll also like: How To Find And Feed Your Motivation To Lose Weight.
If you’re yet to share the Healthification love – just click here to zip over to iTunes and leave an honest rating and review. It’d help me out big time. With gratitude, Kate.