Is it obvious that I’m on a goals and habits kick this month? Good! Ever since I completely re-vamped my morning routine at the beginning of August, I have found myself being amazingly productive. One of the main things that has changed is how attuned I am to my good habits and my bad habits.
If you’re just tuning in, you should check out my post about The Miracle Morning to check out the morning routine that has changed my life! Go ahead, I’ll wait :)
According to Gregory Ciotti (lifehacker.com), the 7 most sought-after good habits are:
- Exercise more
- Get to sleep early
- Eat breakfast
- Save money
- Eat more fruits & vegetables
Do any of these ring true for you? Are these good habits that you know you need to incorporate into your own life? If so, then you’re not alone. The main problem with wanting to form new habits is that often times we try to tackle too much at once.
I am guilty of this for sure, and I have plenty of failed attempts to show for it.
Here’s how it normally works:
- You take a good hard look at your life and make a list of all the things you want to change.
- Then, you set out to change them all.
- You become completely overwhelmed by all of the new changes in your life.
- You end up falling back into the same old comfort patterns and the new habits don’t stick.
Sound familiar? Yeah, I know… I’ve been there too! So what is the secret to making good habits stick?
30 Day Challenges, my friend! Let’s dive in, shall we?
HOW TO BUILD GOOD HABITS ONE 30 DAY CHALLENGE AT A TIME
WHY 30 DAYS?
You may have heard many experts recommend 21 days as the staple for building good habits. I subscribed to that notion for a long time. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. I never could figure out why until I read Hal Elrod’s take on it last month.
In The Miracle Morning, Hal explains that there are 3 phases to creating new habits.
[Days 1-10] Phase One: Unbearable
“The fist 10 days of implementing any new habit, or ridding yourself of any old habit, can feel almost unbearable.”
The key here is to push past the first 10 days. Would you be willing to deal with just 10 days of seeming agony in order to develop a habit that will change your life forever? I know I am!
[Days 11-20] Phase Two: Uncomfortable
“After you get through the first 10 days — the most difficult 10 days — you begin the 2nd 10-day phase, which is considerably easier. You will be getting used to your new habit.”
During phase two, you are really starting to hit our stride. Things get a little easier but still require discipline and commitment. But don’t worry! You’re almost there!
[Days 21-30] Phase Three: Unstoppable
“Phase Three is where the actual transformation occurs, as your new habit becomes part of your identity. It transcends the space between something you’re trying and who you’re becoming. You start to see yourself as someone who lives the habit.”
Phase three is the goal, but it still requires commitment. It can be too easy to drop off after the second phase thinking that you’ve already made it. Phase three is where this habit cements in as a part of you though, and should not be ignored.
ONE HABIT AT A TIME
Trying to focus on changing too much all at once is where many of us fail at forming good habits. Best-selling author Leo Babauta (zenhabits.net) estimates that when people focus on changing a single behavior at a time, the likelihood that they’ll retain their new habit for a year or more is around 80 per cent.
Change is easier when it is a gradual process. Be sure to just focus on one habit at a time and you will be much more likely to succeed.
ACCOUNTABILITY IS KEY
No matter what your good habit goal is, finding someone that you can be accountable to is huge motivation! Having someone to keep you on track and motivate you throughout your progress is one of the best things you can do to make those good habits stick.
Want to take it up a notch? Find someone with the same goals and do it together! Have daily or weekly check-ins to keep each other accountable. I promise you, the results will be amazing!
YOU WILL STUMBLE (AND THAT’S OK!)
Setbacks are going to happen. You are going to miss a day at the gym. You are going to cave and eat that glorious dessert when you’re out at your favorite restaurant with your girls on Friday night. You’re going to stumble. The key here is to acknowledge the setback and KEEP GOING.
Remember: Failure isn’t failure until you give up!
TRACK YOUR PROGRESS
Tracking your progress is a great way to visualize where you are with forming your good habits. I recently stumbled on this awesome iPhone app that allows you to track your good habits. The free version allows you to track up to 5 habits, but let me tell you: The $3.99 for the unlimited version is worth every penny!
From the developers:
● A way to plan your day – Schedule habits for morning, afternoon, evening, or any time of the day. You can also schedule habits for more than once a day, or only for weekdays, or just for the start of the month, or just on Mondays, or many other convenient choices.
● Motivating streaks – Build motivating chains of done habits and perfect days. The longer your chain of done habits, the more likely you will stick at the habit.
● A way to focus – You’re only shown what’s due for the current time of day. This helps you better manage your time, and prevents stress about what is still left to do.
● Powerful reminders – Productive lets you know what’s due for each time period, plus you can set reminders for each habit, or get a big push from Boost Mode.
● Lots more awesome stuff – Like calendars of your progress, detailed stats, notes, a passcode lock, and the beautiful Floodlight theme.
If you’re a bullet journal lover like me, you can even set up a habit tracker in your monthly pages.
Here’s a peek at my September Habit Tracker that I set up this morning:
(I can’t wait to fill it with pretty colored blocks)
In closing today, I want to leave you with a quote on good habits that really spoke to me:
” We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” ~ Aristotle
- If a habit is hard to establish, then it is a good habit.
- If it is hard to quit, then it is a bad habit.
- If it’s short and has big feet with curly hair, then it is a hobbit.
What are some good habits that you want/need to incorporate into your life? Which ONE are you going to start first? (My new habit for September is a 15 minute cleaning session every day.)
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Kara Benz is the artist and author behind Boho Berry, where she inspires her readers to lead a more centered, fulfilled, and inspired life. Kara also runs a successful sticker shop on Etsy – Boho Berry Paperie.