My day job as a change management consultant (see my business blog) is all about helping my clients change habits in order to more quickly realize return on investment. When I started this blog and the Closet Reboot YouTube channel, I had to do the same thing for myself. Get in the habit of posting regularly; taking pictures for social media; capturing relevant information regarding events I attend, trips I take, or products I purchase. Those habits have been fairly easy to adopt. Other personal habits, not so much. So, I’m going to challenge myself in September to adopt a new healthy habit every week. Who’s with me?
Think about those new year’s resolutions that you set every year. The promises you make to yourself regarding losing weight, getting fit, starting a savings account, learning a new language, cooking more often, organizing your closet, etc. Which ones have you been successful with and which ones have you not? My guess is, that for the successful ones, you had to change your behavior. It might be waking up early to work out, making different choices at the grocery store, or listening to Rosetta Stone tapes instead of music during your daily commute. To meet your goal, you have to execute the new behavior.
But once you get to a point where you are just doing something out of habit rather than as part of a goal, that’s when you know you’ve made a real life change. Otherwise, you gain that weight right back, your muscle turns back to flab, or you never really learn to converse in that second language. New habit forming is a vital component of lasting change.
Alright great! Let’s form a habit. But where to start? Listed below are some ideas and I’m going to try them out and blog about which ones work for me – I’d love to hear about which ones work for you.
- Brainstorm long term goals I want to work towards e.g. strengthen my back to lessen back pain
- Brainstorm about what tasks I’ll need to achieve to meet those goals e.g. regularly exercise my back to build up core muscles
- Determine how and when I’m going to accomplish these tasks e.g. planks in the morning right after I wake up
- Determine how long they will take and what frequency I’ll need to execute them e.g. 3 minutes – three 30 seconds planks with rest periods in between every day
- Determine how I will measure progress toward meeting my goal e.g. rate back pain on a scale of 1 to 10 each evening before I go to bed
- Set reminders or alarms on my phone for each task e.g. set reminder after my morning wake up alarm to do my planks
- Track when I accomplish a task as well as when I don’t e.g. create a spreadsheet on my computer to note which days I do and don’t do planks
- Track my progress toward meeting my goal regularly e.g. weekly review to see if back pain rating trend is moving in the right direction
- Set a target date for goal achievement and re-evaluate my goal if I don’t meet it e.g. 1 month (October 1, 2018)
- Ask friends to help hold me accountable e.g. blog about the new habit I want to form and then promote the blog post on all my social media
If you are familiar with SMART goals, then this all ought to sound pretty familiar. Maybe we should call this SMART habit forming. And in the spirit of SMART, these tasks/habits should start small – just one little thing that won’t rock your world to do. Rather than planning on a 30 minute work out session every morning, maybe just start with 30 second planks and 30 sit ups.
For my September Week 1 habit, I’m going to go with those planks. Let’s see how I do. What habit will you form this week?