If I asked you to define the word habit, what would you say? Take 30 seconds and come up with a sentence or two that defines what the word means to you. You’ll be glad you did when I ask the next question.
Got your definition? Good! Now ask yourself: do habits play a positive or negative roll in my life?
In Shine On, (my free audio course that will help you create an awesome life) I share stories about how I arrived where I am today. I talk about how I focused on finding clarity and identified themes that ran through my entire life. One of these themes is that I’ve been speaking, presenting, and teaching almost as long as I’ve been able to talk. It’s always been part of my education, career, and even volunteer work.
While volunteering, I created life skills courses that included topics like goal setting, budgeting, and habit change. The first time I presented on habits, I asked the class to define the word. I was floored to hear that 80 percent of the definitions had a negative connotation. They weren’t defining habits as positive changes like exercising, drinking more water, or getting up early. Most of the examples were bad habits that they struggled to quit like smoking, drinking, and unhealthy relationships.
That experience opened my eyes to the power of perspective as it pertains to habits. There was a lot of pain and shame tied to those definitions. It made me wonder how we’re supposed to adopt healthy habits if we have a negative gut reaction to the word. If we see habits as things we shouldn’t do and are difficult to quit, how will we find the motivation and desire to build healthy and beneficial ones?To rid yourself of old patterns, focus all your energy not on struggling with the old, but on building the new. – Dan Millman Click To Tweet
Before we continue, I should tell you that I wasn’t born a master of good habits. In fact, I had a lot of really bad ones. But like most people who make massive life changes, I got to a point where I was fed up. I was tired of being unhappy, unhealthy, unfulfilled, and living paycheck to paycheck.
These new habits didn’t happen overnight. I simply made tiny changes, day after day, for eight years and counting. It’s not flashy. It won’t get a million re-pins on Pinterest, but it works.
Speaking of Pinterest, scroll through what’s trending and you’ll easily
It’s natural to want change to happen instantly. Who wouldn’t love to wake up to six-pack abs tomorrow? But ask someone who’s maintained something for five years or longer and they’ll tell you that’s not how it works. They make tiny deposits every day.
This is why it’s so hard to make new habits stick. We’re bombarded with news stories, diet books, and marketing messages that promise quick fixes. These quick fixes work briefly. But as soon as we’re unable to maintain them, the results
Are you willing to stick with the habit for as long as it adds value to your life?
You don’t have to commit to running marathons for the rest of your life. Instead, make movement part of your daily routine. Nor do you have to stick to a specific eating plan for the rest of your life. Just commit to nourishing your body. You’ll also be happy to hear that you don’t have to commit to going on a spending freeze for the rest of your life. Simply promise yourself that you’ll take control of your finances so they don’t negatively control you.
Finally, you gotta change your stinkin’ thinkin’ and belief that habits are hard and boring. Whatever you’re trying to change, you can make it fun and enjoyable. Trying to get in shape? Go to the playground and play with your kids every night before dinner. Working your way out of debt? Make it a game with goals, challenges, and fun rewards. Looking to eat better? Have a blast learning to make your favorite foods in healthy, nutritious, and delicious ways.
Habit change doesn’t have to be negative or painful. Focus on one small thing you can do for five minutes each day. Make it fun so it’ll be easy to repeat tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. Then before you know it, those habits you once dreaded, you’ll never want to quit.
What are your best tips for creating great habits? Share in the comments below of come leave me a note of Facebook.