Trying to start a new habit or replace a bad one with a new positive one is, shall we say, difficult? What we’re doing is trying to change our default behavior. A key to making the new habit stick is to anchor it to an existing habit. Until the new behavior is established as a habit, you will find that just relying on memory to make it happen will last no more than a few days. Then weeks will pass and the realization that you totally forgot to do the new thing after only 3 days will hit you like a palm flying into your forehead.
This is the stuff that major accomplishments are made so stick with me here. Anything and everything that can be relegated to the realm of productive HABITS should be done. This frees up the precious and very limited part of the brain needed to do push past fear, procrastination, and self-doubt to do new things that will actually move you toward reaching your big goals and the life you want. We call it ‘will-power’ and it is in short supply. If you use up all your will-power to try and get up earlier or make healthy eating choices every day, well, that’s about all there is. Think of it as a rechargeable battery. You can use it over and over but only in limited, time-bound amounts before it is depleted and needs to be plugged back in to recharge.
So once you’ve identified the new behavior you’d like to establish as a habit, how do you move it from the will-power side over to auto-pilot? You’ll need to choose something in your existing habits, your daily routine, that is very established. This means it is non-negotiable, like brushing your teeth, or a super entrenched activity, like making coffee. This creates a trigger to remind you to implement the new behavior.
Let’s look at an example. Say I want to start doing 25 sit-ups each weekday. I can either make it part of my morning or nightly routine. To make it part of my morning routine, I anchor it to making coffee. After I start the coffee maker I do 25 sit-ups. To further cement the habit, I also create a daily checkbox that I get to check off after I do my sit-ups. I really like to make lists and check things off so it reinforces the new behavior. After a few weeks, viola! It becomes a habit and I notice if I skip it.
Take action: Choose a positive behavior you would like to convert to a habit and anchor it to something in your daily routine.
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