Start new habits that actually stick
It is the beginning of the year and we are all horribly motivated to get to it. To take those New Years' resolutions and kick major ass. To change our life completely and make something meaningful.
But before we dive in let me ask you:
How is it going?
How many New Year's resolutions or new habits did you actually create this year and how are you making them happen?
It would be amazing to hear about your experience!
Simply leave a comment down below.
The way that it was for most of my life was that I made so many promises to myself in the beginning of the year that it was hard to keep up with them. And most of the time about a week into the new year I already dropped half of them. The pressure to be the perfect version of myself was simply too high. So I let go of the new habits way too quickly and way too frequently.
So what did I do? Last year was the first time I really started tackling this topic. I wanted to finally make a new habit stick. I started first of all by only focusing on one thing. No „I will lose weight, build a business, create a newsletter, eat healthier and workout every day, oh, and make more time for my friends and be the best person there is out there“. But only one thing. The one thing that was most important to me last year was „I will illustrate“.
So what happened?
Of course, I didn’t! At least not as I wanted to.
It was one resolution and it was easy enough, I thought. But even that one thing was harder than I imagined. I didn’t do it regularly. I let myself be distracted by other ideas and things and ultimately only started to get into this new habit after half a year was already over.
To be fair: I am one of the majorly chaotic creatives who has difficulties with habits and patterns and repetitions. And bookkeeping - but that's another story.
So after going through the New Years' resolution - It is not working - stress again I decided to do something differently.
So what happened after half a year and why did i suddenly manage to do it anyway?
I changed my whole approach to how I went along with this idea.
So at the end of last year, I developed a new strategy about „new resolutions“ or let’s simply call it new habits.
And to be frank it is quite simple. I put certain times in my calendar in which I do that new thing. Exactly once a week. So In my case, I wanted to get back into Illustration for one hour every week.
Habit sentence the first time around: I want to illustrate more.
New habit sentences with this technique: I want to illustrate once a week.
I made it specific and put it in my calendar at a certain time. When I really couldn’t make it because I was sick or anything else happened I switched it to another day. But it had to be that week!
For some of you, it might be a good idea to hold space for it almost religiously. - Like even when aliens invade the earth and there is a fight between Supergirl and Batwoman in front of your house you do it!
And for some of you like me, it is easier to keep it flexible and do it when it works. Only rule! You have to stick to what you promised yourself, in this case, the one time a week!
You can do this with different parts of your life. Do you want to create a newsletter? Workout more? Eat healthier?
Instead of keeping it random set yourself a REALISTIC goal and make it specific. If you never had a newsletter and you don't know where to start maybe once a month is already enough.
So what does REALISTIC mean here?
When you dive into a new thing and you want to make it regular ask yourself how often you can actually do it. And I mean really! We overestimate ourselves way to often, me included, and try to squeeze everything out of us. But I want you to go at this another way.
Let’s stick with the newsletter idea. So you are like. Hey, I want to create a newsletter. Then start with how much you would love to do.
Oh I would love to do it twice a week. - Is that doable for you?
No - Ok so how about once a week.
Still I’m not sure - So how about once a month?
Yeah that’s easy! I can totally manage that!
I want you to start with the number that seems super easy. The one that seems almost a bit ridiculously low. Start with that and stick with it. When you can manage that ridiculously low number easily, with joy and without overwhelm you move on to a higher number.
When I got serious about illustrating I went from one hour a week to now almost every day. But without force and pain and musts, but with joy and freedom. It is easy for me now to sit down and stick to this new habit.
Pick ONE habit at a time that you want to work on! Choose the smallest possible amount of times you will do it stick with it
The more you dive into building new habits the easier it will be to test out and introduce new once. So start with one and when you tackled It add another and another and another.
BTW if you are a little like me you probably can’t stop you from still having 10 habits you want to introduce right now!
If that is the case make sure you choose only one habit in each category of your life.
So introduce ...
... one habit in Mental Health
... one in Physical Health
... one in Relationship
... one in finances
... one in business
And so on. Don’t go overboard. This is already a super-advanced habit introduction and remembers if you take on too much it will not stick.
I hope I could make the start into your new year just a little bit sweeter with this little insight into how I introduce new habits.
If you have any comments, questions or simply want to say hello answer to this blog post. I would love to hear about your experiences wich habits and how they influence the start of your year!
Have a fabulous 2020!