I find that when you bring up the word habits - the reaction is alarming. It invokes eye rolls, guilt, frustration, and maybe even stagnation.
I've seen the power of habits in my own life - and I want to share some tips!
Get Them on Paper
The real kind. Made from tress. We live in an ultra-digital world that seems to move faster and faster. And I don't know about you, but my brain sometimes is in over drive when I only deal with technology all day. The tactile nature of a pen and paper is alluring, cathartic and synergistic. But there's something magical that happens when we put pen to paper (preferably a fountain pen in a great notebook). There's peace in getting it out of your brain on paper. There's serenity in moving on to bigger and better thoughts, or allowing yourself the space to work through and mold the idea, thoughts, habits, goals and dreams.
Like clay, there's rejuvenation and beauty in reworking it until just right.
But there's more - it allows our brain to keep reworking that idea to mold it into something bigger. Which means we take small, little tiny steps towards the direction of success.
Don't Change Everything at Once
If you are anything like me - you get excited about 125 things an hour. There's not enough time to do.all.the.things. But we want to so badly - and, we punish ourselves to get there. And get mad when it doesn't work.
When you change too much in one fell swoop - you don't set yourself up for success. Habits don't become habits without some effort, or lack of effort. Often we feel compelled that we have to completely and utterly reinvent ourselves.
When we try and accomplish too much at once - we are ignoring that there is a process component to habits. Now, being Type A - I LOVE processes! One component is giving yourself enough time to work through the habit, and get it to stick. This can take weeks, and months. In addition, there are stages you will go through as you get it nailed down.
If you try to tackle too many at once, you get frustrated and give up on all of them before making any solid progress with any of them.
When speaking on habits on Instagram Live this week, a friend brought up an excellent question - what's the difference in a habit and a routine. In our super scientific discussion - we determined that habits are things you do out of passion, drive and growth while routines are things you do because you have to.
But getting back to morning and evening routines - I want to speak to this because routines or rituals are ways that you prepare yourself for something else.
A morning routine could include the order you get ready for work, the place you stop to grab coffee (the financial planner in me says please don't do this daily), or what you listen to on the way to work to get you ready for your day. It can also mean the time you must be out of bed, showered and get the kids to the drop off.
An evening routine can help you shut down for the day in several ways. By having a ritual when you get home from work, you separate the work life from home life (and hopefully keep them separate). When you have a bedtime routine, you are letting your body know it's time to wind down (please get off the screens)!
Habits Make the Mundane Manageable
This is one of my favorite "pros" for the habit argument. The same way that writing our habits and dreams down helps us to subconsciously work on them - habits, once established, take the hard work out of mundane things. It doesn’t specifically make them more exciting - but it takes the mental energy out of determining whether you have to do something or not. This frees that energy up for the things that energize you - if you harness it!
Off the Rail Habit Train
Now that I have a number of years of habit experience, I can tell when I start to lose track. I recognize triggers within myself, and in a perfect world, get back on track. Reality is not that cut and dry. Here are my triggers of knowing when I am not on my habit train:
Thank you for staying til the end! I know this is lots of stuff - but I want you to have the tips so you can decide what habits, rituals, or routines you want in your life! This will be a topic I will continue to delve into! There are so many amazing rabbit holes to get into - bad habits being a good one soon!
I would love to hear your comments on the topic. What is a habit you are working to create or break? What would you accomplish if willpower wasn't in the way? What did I mention that you didn’t agree with?
Talk to you soon!
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Ponderings on life, yarn, leadership. And probably some cute pics of the pups!