There are some goals that seem out of reach but break it down into smaller habits and it more possible. How do you turn something into a habit? That’s what I wanted to know after forcing myself to crawl out of bed every morning at 5 am. I would ask myself am I just not a morning person? Or when is this going to get easier?
The answer is that it does get easier but with consistency. It’s accidentally like knowing the lyrics to the annoying song on the radio because you heard it too many times. Even though it wasn’t unintentional your mind became adaptive even without you knowing. Your mindset will change after something becomes repetitive. When something repetitive it’s called a habit. Developing a habit means you have to be consistent as a pattern. The trouble lies when it becomes a bad habit, but its never too late to contrast with a good one.
The New Year’s Resolution
Did you ever notice that most of your good habits ideas come at the start of a new year? The feeling of optimism sets in because a new year has started, and you plan on not wasting this new one! The term you may have heard is New Years Resolutions when you come up with a goal or try to kick a bad habit. Doesn’t it feel exciting to start with something new? To finally have the courage to change something?
There’s something in the air and it feels like inspiration. What happens when you fail to continue? When you lose focus or inspiration? It occurs to many of us, that feeling of can I do this. After a while, the time span of not doing what we set out for seems further from reach. How can I turn this habit around to be done unconsciously? Do I really need to feel inspired to do something I need to do? I can answer Yes and No to both of those questions. The key is your mindset.
The Mindset of Accomplishment
Getting your mind on the right track is a development skill just like your habit. Think of your mind like a muscle, it needs conditioning and a relaxing period. How do you condition your mind! One day you can try is visualizing yourself there already.
Imagine you have already accomplished this sought out task or habit. You can condition your mind by meditating, releasing all negative energy, emotions, and thoughts. Bring your mind to a sense of clarity and enter in positive thoughts. Lastly, you can try Affirmations, which are a way to assert the opposite of what you tell yourself. When you say you can’t turn it into you can, much better: I will.
Write down all of the things you can think of that causes you to hesitate and combat that with an inverse action that will make you reach your goals. It’s like saying, “I can’t save money” to “I will save money!” or “I already have money saved”. Even if this has not already happened yet it gives you a feeling of accomplishment, mentally. After doing this for some time it will open up more steps to take in helping you reach it. Constantly saying “I will, I am or I feel” makes me think of ways to close the gap. Put yourself in the present tense of your goals, as if it already happened.
I want to discuss simple yet effective ways you can start a good habit even from a bad one. Most of them you might know, even tried but the focus subsided. One thing I have now is your confidence so use that as motivation for trying these tips below again.
Break it down into Smaller Habits
There’s one good sign that a Habit or a Goal might seem too big, that is the feeling of being overwhelmed. The pressure and anxiety of failing might just steer you away. You start to pause when it feels like its too much. The one tip I want to share first is to break it down into smaller habits. It might feel like a big goal to lose 50 pounds by the summer, but saying you want to lose 5-10 pounds each month is more realistic.
By making smaller habits you are telling yourself this is what I have to do this month, this week, this day. Just when you think it can’t get any smaller it can. The thought of having a clean home can just as easily start with the habit of washing the dishes every night. Then you can add a 10-minute pickup time, next comes to sweep the floor and you know how the rest will evolve.
Think of your big task, habit, or goal. Ask yourself how can I break this down to make it more manageable for me? And write it down, somewhere you can always reflect on your progress. After you have broken it down, be even more specific, give it a time, a date. Even if you don’t complete the task by that time its best to still reflect on what worked and what didn’t.
Developing a Plan to make it happen
A goal without a plan is just spoken words in the air with nothing to make it stick. It’s easy to get lost or feel off track without having a guide. Planning is a great way to put all the pieces together. As we have already discussed, by First starting with your big goal or habit and then breaking it down into smaller task.
S.M.A.R.T. Goals and what it entails
I’ve seen this term using during Management training and conference calls during my time in retail. They sat us down and gave us a worksheet with five blocks to fill out each letter. At that time our main goal was to make more profit but you can apply this method in more ways. Try using the SMART acronym for a habit you would like to change or start. You might still need help on how to make the habit more actionable. We discussed narrowing down the habit briefly but to make it more manageable try applying the SMART method.
The SMART acronym was first to be known as used in the November 1981 issue of Management Review by George T. Doran. The result of using the SMART method was easier to understand when a task has been accomplished. These teachings are also referred to in Peter Drucker’s management by objectives concept.
- S = specific (clear and specific, simple but purposeful)
- M = measurable (How would you know when you have achieved it?)
- A = achievable (is this reasonable and realistic? Do I need resources?)
- R = relevant (Does this task co-align with my purpose? Necessary?)
- T = time-bound ( It is time-limited? Is it time-sensitive?)
I don’t remember what goal I was dividing up into the Smart acronym during our meeting but I still continue to use it today. When I’m stuck on the really big challenges, it opens my mind up to more ideas. Unwinding a busy mind is hard to do but sometimes we need to sit and reanalyze.
Keep Failure in Mind
Don’t count on failing but know life sometimes gets in the way. This is just life’s way of teaching us to pivot and pick ourselves up. Failure doesn’t need to feel like all is lost.
Build a Routine around your Habit
Starting a habit of exercising every day can start with a routine of waking up early in the morning. Most goals have the basis of a routine. A routine develops into a pattern and becomes just a second thought. Create a routine that will help you succeed in making this habit happen. Drinking water every might be putting a glass out before bed. Quitting smoking might start out with meditating or doing a mantra.
Read about building a Habit Strategy
There are tons of books on productivity but they tend to branch out into subtopics. You might have stumbled upon saving time, creating routines, planning, and like now, habits. What we are focusing on are Habits and a great read for that is “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. A systematic approach for introducing new habits and ridding some bad ones. James Clear has written this book that is easy to consume and put it into action. I hope if you need more tips to read this book from someone that knows alot about it.
Positive thinking even if it’s not intentional can be a real turn around. Try smiling for 10 seconds and feel the change in your thoughts. Didn’t you feel just a little bit lighter? It’s kind of hard to be any more upset than you were. It’s just like counting backward from 10, lol. Saying or doing the opposite to turn a negative into a positive. Soon you will know your triggers and might just be grateful for your progress instead.
Work on your Environment
You could be trying your best but interference is getting the best of you. If you’re trying to focus, it could be a lot of distractions around. The TV in the background, having your notifications on alerting you every minute. Are you trying to eat healthily? Then maybe going out to eat might now work for you now.
It could even be your friends that might not be able to support you because they don’t understand what you trying to do. Relationship contributes to the environment you live in, your lifestyle. You don’t have to cut anyone off altogether unless they really don’t respect that you are trying to change. Need to stop smoking? Limit your time with your other smoking buddies. Grab a snack instead of going outside during your lunch break. Environments can just be as tempting as someone preventing you from reaching your goal.
Find someone to support you
Great minds think alike…and sometimes you have to find one you can align goals with. Many people lose weight by having a nutritionist or a personal trainer. Entrepreneurs get support from coaches or mentors. If your friends and family are having difficulty in the support department reach out for help. You can join a group, either in person by looking into support groups in your area or even by joining a Facebook Group. Good support helps keep you motivated and well accounted for during your progress.
Celebrate the small victories!
Why wait until the end to celebrate! Even a small win is a moving you towards your end result. Give yourself a pat on the back you are changing your habits! Reward yourself if you can, tell everyone about your progress, celebrate you! Take a moment and let the good feelings sink in! Wow, I’m in a good place! Challenges take time, with every habit we master we have the assurance to reach it. What are you going to be celebrating? I can’t wait to hear it!