Do you really need to start a new habit?

Okay, if you are intent on setting a new habit, let’s chat about this. Starting a habit, like a new year’s resolution is easy. Day one you’re super psyched and confident, happy that this time, you’re gonna do this! Day two, you hit the snooze button and you wonder where the morning went and just like that, bam! you’re attempt at starting a new habit just went tumbling down the hill.  The hard part is sticking with that habit and not letting life’s events derail them. I’ve come across a lot of articles on habit and today, I’m sharing the tips that have worked for me and my favorite resources on the topic.

Have you heard of Unstuck? I’ve subscribed to their newsletters for years and a great two-part advice I picked up from them is to know why you’re setting the habit and then see yourself as a result of the habit. Never even considered the visioning part, but it makes sense if you want the habit to stick. My bold goal this year is to write every day because being a good writer will build my confidence, help my business, and improve my communication using the written word. When I close my eyes this is what I see: A smiling, confident me effortlessly put words to paper without the stress and dread that I feel now when I sit down to write. Knowing how being a better writer is going to positively impact all areas of my life genuinely makes me giddy. (include Laura B’s site for writing inspo, HBR writing guide)

Another technique that’s helped me solidify a habit is focusing on creating one habit at a time. Get good at that one thing and then move on.  This tip I picked up years ago from Leo Babauta of zenhabits. Here’s his definitive guide for creating a habit.

Anyone who knows me knows that I use a timer a lot. The timer is set for 15 minutes when it's time to write - that’s the minimum amount of time I require of myself to write. Most days, the timer goes off and I continue to write. This session, I’ve gone over 10 minutes already. Yay for me and yay for habits. So the tip here is to start with a small goal and build up. Start with 5 minutes and increase every week or whenever you feel like it’s time for a challenge. Honestly, I don’t recall where I got this tip, but it’s helped me tackle a lot of things.

Let me share a story of this timer technique. A former boyfriend asked me to help him clear out his super cluttered office. That room was such an eyesore that he always kept the door to that room closed. The last thing I wanted was to help him clean up a mess that he continued to feed, but I’m a nice person so I suggested we set a timer for 10 minutes and after that he’s on his own. Guess what? We managed to fill 3 huge garbage bags in that time. All he had to do was tidy things up.

What about you? Share what’s worked for you and any articles that you found super helpful. I’d love to hear about them.