Project 20|20 – Week 4: New Habit
Fitting in New Habits
Last week we discussed the importance of identifying habits that are not beneficial. We look at things we do daily, that we would be better off without.
Finding space in our lives is critical. We are all busy, and days fly by leaving behind the sensation we didn’t cross all the boxes because we didn’t have time or energy.
This week, we will think about what we want to include in our routine.
For many people, days are spent on things that have to be done but don’t give much pleasure. To-do lists that as adults we are responsible for. While this is part of growing up and adulthood, we can add some bonus points throughout the day.
Finding time to do things that give us pleasure is a way to maintain our mental health and balance our emotional state. I call it nurturing my soul.
In my view, many of the decisions I used to make targeted short-term pleasures. Because I was feeling depleted, tired, overworked, I needed an immediate ‘vitamin shot of comfort and happiness.’ Unfortunately, my choices were not beneficial to my health in the long run.
We all need to comfort our souls. Some people eat, others go to the gym, or buy new clothes. The point is: are we being conscious about our decision, and happy with it, or get more disappointed after it?
For me, as I create new habits, it is essential to choose the ones that will make me feel better, stronger and healthier in the long run. Besides that, select options that feed into my life values and dreams. Choices that align with the goals for this year and the ones to follow, as well!
Building New Habits
Go back to last week’s template. Identify an emotion or a situation that triggered the habit that you want to get rid of.
Maybe you were anxious and decided to visit your favorite cupcake shop and bought a dozen of your favorite flavors. Or you were feeling sad and frustrated and decided to go back to bed, and hide under the covers, so no one could find you. By the way, these examples are mine!
None of these habits solved my anxiety, sadness, nor the feeling of frustration. So, I looked for options.
For example, meditation and walking are excellent ways to help me calm down, and I love it. So, if I were at my office, I would take a few minutes, and go for a walk to change the scenery, look at the trees and breath. That was good for me, and I was able to go back to work feeling better. Some of my friends would hit the gym during lunchtime, just for a few minutes. The feeling of accomplishment was a highlight of their day.
Identify the triggers of bad habits, and purposely include choices that will help you achieve what you are looking for.
If you believe that walking, yoga or visiting the gym is a new habit you want to build, then wear clothes or have then around you to be able to do that when the time is right. I keep a gym bag in my car, so I could never say I didn’t have shoes to go for a walk, even when I was wearing high heels.
The power of small changes in enormous. The best way to include exercise in your day is to make it a habit early in the morning and choose a convenient, easy location.
So, try putting on the gym clothes in the morning, because as you drive by the gym or you say good morning to your dog, you may feel inclined to make a quick turn and sweat for a few minutes. The most important piece of the habit is actually putting the gym clothes, as simple as it may sound.
The Carrot Technic
In business, I always preferred to apply the carrot technic, instead of the stick. That means, I used positive motivation to incentivize people to make the right choices. The same works with kids, pets, and myself! Who doesn’t love praise, a tap on my back, a ‘good job’?
So, after you complete your new habit, find a way to recognize yourself. But give yourself the credit after you complete your new habit and choose a reward that benefits you in the long run.
21 – 90 Rule
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle.”
The theory says that it takes about 3 weeks to create a new habit, and 3 months to incorporate it as a new lifestyle. So besides willingness and action; discipline and persistence are important.
Remember, every little bit counts, and counts more than you think. If you like math, I have some real life-math for you.
“Here’s the punchline: If you get one percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done.” – James Clear
Well, while I am not sure I can consistently improve something 1% daily, wouldn’t it be great to improve 10% by the end of the year?
This week, build your daily schedule and include the new habit in your routine. Use the templates below to help. Be reasonable, you want to choose goals that are SMART.
Khan Academy explains in an easy way what SMART goals are. Check this SMART Goals, Khan Academy on YouTube:
- S for specific: Linked your goal to one activity, thought, or idea.
- M for measurable: Choose a goal you can track and measure progress toward.
- A for actionable: Identify clear tasks or actions you can take to make progress toward a goal.
- R for realistic: Pick a goal possible to achieve.
- T for timely: Set a timeline or time period to reach your goal.
Share your purposes and accomplishments with us on our IG page.
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