Your goals are only as good as the habits that you create to support them. That one little statement has been rattling around in my brain for weeks like the song that never ends. It’s undeniable that you are the sum of your habits. Good, bad, ugly and indifferent.
In the best shape of your life? It’s your habits.
Never had a cavity? I bet you have great dental habits.
Feel successful and accomplished? Good habits strike again.
Anyone that has leveled up their lives will tell you how the things they did on a daily basis played the most significant part in their success. So let’s agree right now that in order to change your life, you have to change your habits or at least create better ones.
And this is where the resistance starts to creep in.
Accepting that you have to change your habits is the easy part. In fact, you probably already knew that. The difficulty lies in the realization that you need to develop multiple habits to reach your goals and knowing that you can’t change them all at once. Queue the tiny violin.
So what do you do about that? How do you become the best version of yourself while crawling through your list of new habits to develop?
You commit and do the work.
I really wish I had a sexier answer but that’s it, folks. Harsh realities aside, I do have a few tips to help you get started developing new habits.
IDENTIFY YOUR CORNERSTONE HABIT
This is the habit that is going to make the largest contribution to your life and goals right now. For me that was getting into the habit of waking up at 5am every morning. I realized that my current workload and gym schedule wasn’t allowing me enough uninterrupted time to work. So now I wake up earlier and utilize that time block.
When deciding on your cornerstone habit, think about your current goals and which additional habits you need to put in place to be successful. This initial habit is the foundation that you’ll build several others on top of. For example, my 5 am wake up time requires a 10 pm bedtime. It’s like a habit 2 for 1.
The idea is to get into a routine that feels effortless and convenient. You’re battling your own resistance at this stage so it’s best to make changes that feel insignificant. During the first week of my 5 am wake up time I set my alarm clock for 6 am. That change didn’t feel like a burden because it was only half an hour earlier than I normally wake up. Over a few weeks, I set the alarm for gradually earlier times.
CHOOSE DISCIPLINE OVER YOUR MOOD
Get rid of the idea that you’re going to try only on the days you feel like trying. Forming good habits is more about discipline than how you feel. If you want your habit to stick you have to follow through. As a matter of fact, take your emotions out of it completely.
Regularly tracking your progress helps you stay connected to your goal. Use some type of system or calendar to track your new habit. The Visionary Journal has a habit tracker built right into the monthly calendars.
Give yourself an incentive to stick to your new habit or routine. Decide ahead of time how you’ll reward yourself for being disciplined and consistently doing the work. Make it something extra special.
What habit do you think would have the most impact towards helping you achieve your goals if you got started today?