Let’s talk about forming new habits. When I decided to take the plunge into this whole modeling , entrepreneurship, creative life thing I knew , especially when I started to gain traction, that I would need to clean up my act just a little bit . We all have times in our lives where we intentionally want or even need to change our behaviors and create new positive habits for ourselves.
This could mean eating 3 to 4 servings of fruits and vegetables per day or drinking 64 ounces of water each day . It could also be, to get more exercise and take the dog for regular walks. How about to stop spending and to start saving . Or it may be to commit to daily journaling so that you have lots of content for that new blog you intend to start ! Most people would agree that they could stand to make a few habit changes in their lives.
In the beginning of my journey I knew that I would need to clean up my act if I was to have any sort of longevity in my new found career.
For me that meant being mindful of things like :
- Not staying out all night partying
- Getting 8 hours of sleep each night
- Washing my face before bed
- Eating properly and getting exercise
For what ever reason, we seem to acquire undesirable habits without any effort, but breaking those habits and getting into new and “good” ones can be a little more challenging. Getting into the habit of doing something positive and beneficial for yourself is often easier said than easily done.
Here is an easy to follow five step process that I use to get started on creating new habits and replacing old ones , things that can be done automatically without having to think, like brushing your teeth. Who know, you may even develop a new skill set.
Be Honest With Yourself
You know what you’ve been wanting to change about you. So the first step is to be honest with yourself. Ask yourself if the current behavior(s) is impeding you and detracting from who you really want to be.
For example, On a daily I don’t report to work outside of the home, I work from home unless I have a modeling or acting job. Therefore I know that , because I have a lot of freedom in my life, I needed to develop and maintain structure and discipline. I couldn’t be indulging myself in martini lunches and watching judge whoever all day! I wouldn’t get anything done. Those behavior would impede my progress and detract from what I am seeking to accomplish.
But seriously, I’ve had to make significant habit changes in my journey to get to where I am today . Now it’s your turn !
Decide Which Behavior You Are Going To Work On First
Now that you’ve established that you have habits that you are ready to change ,the next step is to decide which habit/habits you are going to work on first and what those new behaviors will look like in your life. Be as specific as possible.
For Example: When I started this website I didn’t know how to type. So I decide that if I was going to be “blogging” I couldn’t continue to stare at the keyboard pecking away, that was making me dizzy! So I found a free online typing program called typing.com. and got busy ! Each morning I would practice one lesson of 13 sequences. I committed to learning to type.
What I am saying is that based on a need, I formed a habit , in this case, of practicing typing and thus developed a new skill set.
So , don’t just tell yourself you want to exercise more. Instead say something like “I am go for a 30 minute walk at the county park every morning Monday -Friday as soon as I wake up”. Deciding what your new habit will be and committing to when and how you’re going to do it, is half the battle.
Remind Yourself To Get It Done
When I decided that I wanted to learn to type correctly , the habit of sitting down at my computer and practicing each morning had to be formed. This wasn’t something that I “had to do” it was something that I “wanted to do” and for me it took a bit of reminding myself of why I am forming this new habit.
So for the next few days as you are forming your new habit/skill set, if it’s not going as smoothly as you’d anticipated , no worries, you’re motivated and excited to get this done and you will. Just remind yourself of why you are doing what you are doing. And in doing so, sticking to your new habit is less likely to be an issue.
Create A Daily Reminder For Yourself
I am “a list maker”. Each day I make a daily to-do list of all the things I need to get done that day. When I started doing my typing.com “challenge” I placed that activity at the top of my daily list as a reminder to get this new and beneficial skill set in place !
Maybe it’s raining and you don’t really want to go out and walk. Or maybe your day just gets away from you. Or maybe you just forget because the habit is new.This is when a reminder can really help in furthering along your cause. By creating a daily reminder you are saying to yourself ” this is important ” So place your new habit at the top of your daily to-do list. You can even set an alert on your phone . Whichever method you choose stick with it to completion and you will love yourself for it.
Routines Turn Into Habits
Which brings us to the last step.Making the decision to make positive changes to our lives is quite brave. Many people struggle their entire life to implement and settle new behaviors into their life. It may take some time before your new behavior becomes a true habit. Until then, a routine will work to your best advantage.
My routine of putting my new habit of practicing typing on my daily to-do list and getting up each morning to practice the lessons has most assuredly paid off !!!
No more staring at the keyboard pecking away. Now I feel a true sense of accomplishment for having stuck with the habit of practice and achieving the skill set of typing correctly.
So rember,even before the new behavior becomes internalized a routine will help you get it done. Before you know it, you won’t need to spend a lot of willpower or relying on daily reminders. Do as the experts would suggest, start small and work toward weighted objectives.
- Make that daily walk part of your after dinner routine.
- Pack a healthy snack and avoid the 2 PM rush for the vending machine at work .
- Commit to only having one beer after work instead of your usual three
Decide to create the new habit, practice the routine until it’s second nature and you’ll be well on your way to forming a new good habit.Be kind to yourself during the process of change and if you falter, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start again.
Let’s Get Things Done !