I’m not going to impress you today.
In fact, I’m going to talk about something that has plagued me my entire life – forming new habits.
Remember my last post on being a super procrastinator? Well, what do you know? In addition to having been a procrastinator all my life, I was also a bad at habit formation.
Habit Formation Starts Early
I’m not quite 100% sure why I grew up like this, but I can bet it had a lot to do with stress levels at home. I grew up in a household of immigrants. I was first generation. Hard work was the corner stone of our childhood. You were expected to work hard in school, at home, and go into a profession that could make the family proud. (my parents got me the MCAT study guide when I went to highschool!) But with that pressure also came hardship and negativity. Parents fighting with each other and not having the patience for the little ones was normal. At one point I went from super organized to constantly depressed and unmotivated – because everyone around me was the same way.
I never had a role model to look up to. I never had someone who could show me good habits or how to form them. I never had bad habits – I was always a good kid, did all my homework, never got in trouble. So now in my 20’s I understood exactly what went wrong. I could never manage my time and energy well. I never finished personal projects. And it all got 99% worse when I became ill in 2009.
Everyday, I battle chronic fatigue and vision loss, but since 2009, I’ve changed my future by forming new habits. And today I’m going to share with you exactly what steps it took!
It Can Take Weeks
One day I walked into physical therapy (yay scoliosis!) and my trainer laughed when I boasted that I would be in tip top shape in no time. She patted me on the back and said
“Yeah, ok. It’s going to take at least two months you know that, right?”
It would take several weeks for me to get used to waking up at the same time everyday, eating the prearranged nutritional breakfast, taking the bus in the middle of winter, and entering the gym to work out for an hour each day. My trainer, who is a habit goddess, said I would most likely feel like giving up by day 3. But if I could push to Day 7, I’d be on my way to success.
So you see, habits take some time to form. What most people get wrong when they make New Years resolutions is thinking that they can form a good habit in just a day.
You Need Daily Practice
Like my therapist said, you need to push past Day 7, and it’s best if you practice whatever habit you need to form for 7 days straight. But that can be really hard by the time Day 3 comes around. What I really like to do to remind myself to practice daily, is write the habit down in my Day Designer Planner. The top 3 section of the planner let’s me know that this habit is one of the most important things I should be doing that day.
Right now, the habit I am trying to form is waking up by 8 and NOT checking email first thing.
What I’ve learned from my struggles is that the best thing you can do is start small. Just start with one small habit you want to from. Whether that’s having an apple a day or simply taking a 15 minute yoga routine in the morning. Don’t push yourself to do #allthehabits all at once. It’s never going to work!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a work flow when I suddenly hear a “ding” from my phone. Oooo, another Instagram comment! The suddenly, I no longer feel like working on the things that need to get done. What a bummer! The best thing to do in this instance is clear ALL distractions. Turn off the telly, your phone, and put some motivational music on instead. You can focus, you just need the space to do so!
You’ve Got A Friend In Me
Having an accountability partner is one of the best ways to form habits this year. You and your friend or family member can bounce ideas off each other, remind each other about habits, and motivate each other! And guess what? If you don’t have a friend you know who can be your accountability partner right now – no worries. I’m totally up for listening and being your virtual accountability partner. Shoot me an email and let’s talk habits. It’s something I really love helping people with!
Be Perfectly Imperfect
And finally, my last tip is to just be OK with being imperfect. Guess what? Perfect people don’t exist. No one has better habits than anyone else. We are all trying to get through every single day with many different obstacles. The less stressed you are about a habit, the better. It won’t make you feel any better about yourself if you keep forcing a habit that’s just not working out. So let it go, and be perfectly OK with being perfectly imperfect.
I know habit formation can be a difficult thing to accomplish. Hear me out: you can totally do it! One of the best things I can recommend is catching up on my previous post about the amazing planner I use to stay organized. It’s helped me so much over the course of just a few months and I know it will help you too! And don’t forget to subscribe to my email list below for some amazing weekly tips and tricks on living an intentional and inspired life!
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