Monday, November 21, 2016

How to build habits

Ultimately, when striving for some type of goal or objective, it’s the consistent habits and rituals that are built that will move you to achievement.  Many people have this misconception that it “just happens”.  Like you just get in shape.  Or you just become a fast runner.  Or you just build a million dollar business.  Or you just write a New York best seller.  I hate to bust that fairy tale bubble but it doesn’t work that way.  Reaching levels of success, fortune, fitness and performance, business or anything for that matter is determined by the daily habits you have built in your life.  It’s pretty plain and simple.  You are a direct reflection of your daily rituals.  Whether they support your endeavors or not, know that your habits will dictate your movement. 

Let’s chat about strategies to instill new habits into your life…

First, I think the key is to write down two, no more than three new (or former) habits on paper at a time.  For example:

Habit #1: Floss for 30 days straight
Habit #2: Read from a book 10 minutes everyday for 30 days
Habit #3: Every conversation I have, be intent and in the moment; focus on this

These can be things that can guide you to a larger goal or can be more processed oriented goals.  For instance, maybe you want to read a 200 page book in one month.  Well reading 10 minutes each day will add up to 300 minutes in the month.  And since the average person reads 1 page a minute, that’s 10 pages a day and 300 pages in a month.  There’s your goal of reading a 200-page book achieved, and you even started another book.  Many people overwhelm themselves by looking at the end goal and it gets daunting.  My strategy for you is to break down the goal into smaller, more feasible steps.  Be successful in your daily routine, and the big goal will eventually happen.  Vice versa, lack of execution, your goal doesn’t get achieved.

Another example:

Goal: Lose 30 pounds by February 28th
Habit #1: drink 72 ounces of water every day – DO NOT MISS
Habit #2: Meal Prep every Sunday evening
Habit #3: 5 workouts a week

Your outcome-based goal is to lose 30 pounds.  But that doesn’t happen without the daily actions.  Focusing on the process each day, will lead you to your goal and will help you build substantial habits that will stay with you even when your date arrives.  Because, why would you want to lose 30 pounds, not build any habits, only to gain it right back?  That’s not that smart. 

From reading different material, and my own personal experience, I feel it takes somewhere between 30-200 days to instill habits.  This depends on the compliance of the individual and the nature of the habit.  Some things just take more time.  (Example: playing Jingle Bells on the piano versus a piece written by Beethoven)

Once you have built the habit, the hard part is over.  You now have a habit, it’s routine for you to read 10 minutes a day.  It’s natural.  You do not have to think about doing that task as much as you used to.  Good job.  With that said, you cannot lose focus on staying consistent.  If your routine gets mundane, you chance losing specific habits.  I see this in the fitness world all the time.  People get busy, leave town or life changes and the first thing to go is their fitness routine.  In order to really build long lasting habits, you must be consistent and do it no matter what.  That’s how you build it into your lifestyle and it becomes a natural thing to do.  Brushing your teeth is a great example.  Hopefully you do this two times a day.  Odds are you started doing this early in life and from encouragement (and sometimes yelling) from your parents or guardians.  It took years for your parents to tell you to do this.  Then eventually, it became such an instilled (and healthy) habit, that you now do it without thinking about it.  You can form healthy, productive and personal development habits this way also.  You just have to be consistent and accountable.

Just like good habits can lead you to achieving big goals, bad habits can lead you down the wrong path, so be very cautious to what your daily rituals and practices are.  If negative or self-destructing habits are occurring, you need to quickly rearrange and change for the better. 

That’s if want to achieve specific goals and work on yourself.  Totally up to you.  

Peace and Love

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