Creating New Habits
In order to achieve goals and reach success, you will have to develop new habits in your productivity and focus. This involves change – from what you were doing to implementing new behaviors. Change of any kind can elicit a fear of some kind and stop your progress. Starting small is what is needed.
Micro habits or small steps, are so small that they feel like they should sort of succeed automatically. That’s what makes them so frustrating when, for whatever reason, they don’t. Easy doesn’t lead to accomplishment or success.
The good news is, you can set up any micro habit for success with just three simple steps:
1. Focus on one micro-habit at a time. Because micro-habits are small, it’s easy to think you can create a whole slew of them to fix your life all at once. After all, they’re just small changes, right?
The problem is that even small changes can add up, especially when you have a whole big long list of them. So rather than getting caught up trying to remake yourself entirely, pick just one micro habit to establish. Then don’t allow yourself to pick up another one until the first is already well-established.
Seeing the tasks laid out, visually, will help to give the ability to see what needs done and how to schedule them in your day. One trick I use is to write all of the tasks on a piece of paper, and listing the steps needed; for me, I do something in each of those categories to feel get more done and not feel overwhelmed.
Whichever step you take, the key is to not feel overwhelmed that it leads to procrastination and/or avoidance which can lead to a down-spiral to doing nothing.
2. Link the new micro-habit to one that’s already in place. To do this, look at what you’re trying to establish. See if there is another habit you already have in place to which you can link this new micro habit. For example, suppose you want to start flossing. You could connect it to the already established routine in place for brushing your teeth. The act of brushing your teeth then becomes a trigger for the new micro habit, and so it becomes easy to remember to do it.
You might have to get a little bit creative to do this. If you’re not sure what to connect it with, ask yourself questions such as: What time of day do you want to perform this new habit? Is there something else I do at that time every day? Is this micro habit somehow related to something I’m already doing regularly? Can I somehow link it to something else entirely but still see some alignment in my mind?
Setting the circumstances to ease new changes will lead to consistency of action and the new habit now becoming the norm.
3. Set it in “stone.” Or at least place the micro habit on your schedule. Even a small habit such as drinking more water is established by simply setting a timer on your phone to remind you to drink every hour. Use your calendar, your timer, even a post-it note on a physical calendar hanging on your wall to remind yourself that you have set aside time just for this micro habit. Another way to ensure success is to identify the benefits you will get by having the new habit, such as more time or less stress.
Remember that starting any habit means a change from what you know to what you don’t. But, with these steps, any new habit can be very easily set up for success. Another trick is to use a small reward you can use to as encouragement and motivation to perform the new task; our brains work best with rewards so use it to the full advantage. Sometimes, every little bit helps.
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