January is the month of habits. Or is it the month of habit failures? I suppose you could look at it either way. We get so excited about the prospect of January and all that it brings and in less than 31 days we fall off the wagon and quit all together. So how do you stick to your habits to serve your life and business? Well my friends, it’s easier said than done.
What You Need To Know About Building Habits
There are a list of books out there you can read about creating habits. Books like Atomic Habits and The Power of Habits. If you’re looking to really appraoch building a habit differently this year, both these books are a great place to start. But here’s the gist of it.
It takes 21 days to create a habit and 90-days to turn it into a lifestyle. So after 21 days it becomes normal to you. It feels off to not have it in your day but you could easily forget about it. However, after 90-days it’s a part of you. So when you build a habit we’re looking to make some sort of change for at least 90-days in order for it to stick. That means you have to keep getting back up when you fail from your new years resolution until the end of April.
I know from personal experience that I hate starting small. I want to feel the drastic change that comes with changing a habit. Want to know how many of those drastic changes have stuck? 0. That’s right. Going cold turkey and giving something up can last me up to 30 maybe 60 days but it won’t stick forever. So instead, start small so that you can stick to your habits.
Let’s take going to the gym as an easy example. The habit you’re building isn’t working out for 60-minutes a day. The habit you’re building is the ritual of putting your workout clothes on and getting to the gym or your designated gym area in your home. That’s the habit you’re building. If you’re goal is ONLY to put on your clothes and show up, you could workout for 30-seconds and it’s a win. Do this for 21-days to build the habit of showing up and then start building off of that. Workout for 10-mintues for 21-days in a row. Then move up to 20-mintues. Continue until you hit your end goal of how much you want to work out.
A habit I want to build is working on my art. So instead of going straight to the tv at the end of the day I need to show up at my easel. The habit is showing up at the easel, if I work on a piece for any amount of time that’s an extra win.
And let’s be honest, if you did the work of getting ready and showing up, you’ll do the work of the habit you want to build at least for a short amount of time. And that’s all you’re looking for.
Focus on One Goal
We overestimate what we can do in 1-year and underestimate what we can do in 5-years. So instead of having a laundry list of habits you want to build start with one and make that your soul focus for at least 90-days. Then move on to a new goal. In just 1 year you could achieve 4 new healthy habits. In 5 years, that 20 habit changes.
If you’re not sure which habit you want to start with first, I created this post all about setting goals for yourself. Check it out and get clear on where you want to go. It will lead you to where you need to start now.
Create A Habit Tracker
The easiest way to track your habits is with a Habit Tracker. It’s as simple as not breaking the chain. Draw an X in the box each day that you do the habit. When you miss a day you have to skip that box and stare at the broken chain you just created. However, you can continue on working to make the next chain longer than the last until it becomes part of your daily routine. Tracker sheets often have space for multiple goals. You can choose to write down a few small habits that you’d like to build or just continue your chain onto the next rows create one very long chain for one specific habit. It’s your routine, you choose how you want to build it. Download this one in my library of freebies and watch yourself build a new daily habit.
Stick To Your Habits
Start small, focus on one goal and track your habits to see your progress. Building a new habit doesn’t have to be as hard as we make it, but it does take intentionality. Being aware of what you do each day and the small steps you’re taking towards your ultimate goals (World domination or simply creating space for self-care). Print out my FREE habit tracker and write down the bite-size habit you want to start working on–Showing up to the gym, not turning on the TV right after work, 5-minutes of drawing or writing every day, 10-minutes on Duolingo to learn a new language, reading 10-pages from a book, not eating candy–the list goes on.
Creating new healthy habits will serve you in life and business. They’re the greatest little daily gift you could give yourself. So, go ahead, get started. Build the life you’ve always wanted to live one bite-size habit at a time!