"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." --Aristotle
You know, I can't remember how many times I have gone shopping, parked, walked all the way to the shopping centre's entrance and then forgotten whether I've locked the car. Invariably I have, out of sheer habit. I just do it without even thinking.
Habits are like that.
While there are some habits that we may desperately try to overcome- smoking, negativity, overspending and more- other habits can produce a powerful and positive impact on our lives.
Here.... at the start of a new year, with 365 days ahead to fill with purpose and make a difference, 365 opportunities to grow a life of possibilities, meaning and impact.... I want to make this my best year yet. I don't want just regrets, backward glances and lingering memories of what's come and gone. I want to look ahead with excitement!
Over the next few days, weeks and months, I'll be sharing some ideas and some challenges -- that will help me and you, too, I hope- to find my best year ever. So look out for my '365 days' ideas and inspiration. (And, just a little hint- this article about creating meaningful habits is the first.)
So, what habits do you want to break? Maybe it's spending too much on lattes and other coffee shop delicacies; social media overload; focusing on 'things' over people; maybe you need to stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone; perhaps you want to stop saying 'yes' to every demand on your time.
And what about habits that you want to create that will have real impact on your life? I've listed 10 suggestions that will have a positive influence in a previous article.
But creating new habits isn’t easy. So here are six simple hacks that will make it a little easier. Use them until you’ve internalized the new habit and don’t need them anymore.
1. Schedule it and put it on your To-Do List
Sometimes we forget to do that new thing we were trying. Maybe we forget that we’re supposed to be having eggs for breakfast instead of a stack of waffles, or that we need to get that daily walk in.
Schedule your new habits or make them part of your daily to-do list until they become something you do automatically.
(If you want a hand with this you might like to consider the Mini Goals Notepad or this beautiful daily planner/ to-do list. Begin your planning for change now!)
2. Make it public and be accountable
Let family and friends know what new habits you’re trying to establish. They will call you out if you don’t stick to your plan and get you back on track.
You may even go as far as sharing it publicly on Facebook or write a blog about your new journey. Knowing that others read it and know about it might be just enough to keep you going when you feel like throwing in the towel.
3. Piggyback on a habit you already have
Whenever possible, add the new habit to one you already have. For example, if you fix a cup of tea or coffee at 4pm, and you want to get in the habit of taking a daily walk, make the new ritual to go for your walk and then come back and enjoy your tea.
It’s much easier to amend an existing habit or ritual than creating an entirely new one.
4. Make slipups costly
Here’s a fun idea. Put a jar on the kitchen counter and each time you slip back into your bad habit or forget to stick to the new one you have to put five dollars in the jar. It will quickly help you remember to skip that sugary food and motivate you to go out for that walk. For extra motivation donate the money to charity at the end of the month or hand it over to your spouse to go spend on him or herself.
5. Find a partner and help each other along
Find someone with the same or similar goal. This could be a workout partner or a diet buddy. Keep tabs on each other and encourage each other to keep going. It’s much harder to skip a walk if you know someone else is depending on you being there.
6. Make it a group challenge
If one accountability partner is good, a whole group is even better. And they don’t even need to be local. Find a supportive group online and challenge each other to stick to your new habit for the next 30 days or so. Not wanting to be the first one to give up will keep all of you going until you establish that new habit.
Give these simple little hacks a try. Keep using the ones that you find helpful until you have made new habits you can stick with without the help of any tools or support.
Key Takeaways: Things to do....
•Download and use the beautiful daily planner/ to-do list and begin planning for change now!
•Do you wish you could find time to refuel your tank, improve your health, invest more into your family, or even just to slow down and breathe? Take the 14-Day Make Over My Mornings online course now!
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•Read the latest book review
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Life as a grandma.. it's no 'quiet, restful days in the rocking-chair'. It's filled with activity, excitement and lots of family fun. Please share it with me.