Creating Better habits
Our habits drive us. I talk a lot about knowing our values and living our values. What we value turns into the habits we have. So, anything we repeat for a long period becomes a habit. I assume most of us know this. But as we grow and change, we can develop systems that help us break out of the bad habits and achieve the goals that we have set for ourselves and to live our value system.
Our example goal is “I will write a 50,000 word book by July first 2023.”
What is your next step? Figure out what the simplest thing you can do right now and do it.
What is the one thing you have to do to reach this goal? Write! So the habit you want to create is “I write for 1 hour every day at 7AM” or “I write for 1 hour every day at 5PM.” Pick a time that works for you. This is where creating a new habit kicks in. We need to create a habit that puts us in front of a computer or with a yellow pad in hand, however you write at the designated time every day. You’re not writing a book, you’re becoming a writer. Instead of writing at the time we are supposed to, we cook dinner or take a shower or watch some YouTube or get on our social media app of choice. Steven Pressfield calls this resistance. We do anything except what we are supposed to do.
Start Creating The New Habit
First, we can use what James Clear calls the two-minute rule. We can realize that we can do anything for two minutes. When we want to build a habit, breaking that habit down into smaller sections that can be done in two minutes will increase our chance of starting the new habit. Our new habit is to write for one hour a day. When we look at it as “I have to write an hour a day.” Our brain says “I can’t” because it has never done it. When we decide to write for two minutes, we think “I can fire up Google Docs or Microsoft Word for two minutes.” What this does is get us into the habit of starting. What Steven Pressfield and James Clear both say is just getting started is where the resistance gets broken.
Start changing your habits by getting into the habit of doing something new. Just establishing the habit of sitting down to write will help your brain realize that you can do this. Establish the habit, then it can be improved.
I’m using this for our goal of writing a book by next year, but we can use it for anything. James Clear gives the example of just putting on your shoes and walking out the front door every day if you want to start a walking habit. Another story is about a gentleman who just showed up at the gym for 5 minutes every day for a month. He wanted to establish the fact in his mind that he was someone who went to the gym every day. For years, people said that crazy audacious goals will drive us to complete them. They also said, gazelle intensity would help us get to work on them right away. What this new mindset is is that we can start small and grow into anything we want to be.
Find A Group
Changing your habits is hard. To ensure we are succeeding, we can come together with like-minded individuals. If you have people around you who encourage you to become the best you can and to do the things you say we want to do, you increase your chances of success exponentially. For instance, all the 12-step programs are based around a group structure. The group doesn’t just hold members accountable; it encourages them. It supplies them with knowledge on how to do what they’re trying to do. Another thing is, you can find a coach who will hold you accountable. Someone who will ask you questions to help you move forward and achieve whatever goals you want.
I believe that having people in our lives who believe in us and genuinely want us to succeed increases our chances of success tenfold. I don’t think that I can emphasize what having people around you, who believe in you, can do for your success. For instance, If you want to write a book, find people who are writing books. There are dozens of options today. Online meetup groups or in-person meetup groups. You could take a class at a community college. Take an online course with other people. Whatever you want to do there is a community out there for you to join that will encourage you and give you wisdom to succeed.
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