Successful people are simply those with successful habits. ~Brian Tracy
Habits are the key to EVERYTHING. Your habits determine how much money is in your bank account and they determine the size of your waistline. Your habits determine the quality of your life. #thatisall
Okay, maybe that isn’t all. I’ll expound on this idea a little more. 🙂
It can seem impossible to break bad habits and to create new, positive habits. Most people have an ineffective approach. They try to go cold turkey and rely on willpower to force the necessary changes. Hmph! Willpower? Is there such a thing???
You already know this doesn’t work unless you’re incredibly motivated, and motivation isn’t reliable
. It’s here one day and gone the next. Motivation is one of the most unreliable, fleeting, fickle little things around! Don’t believe me? Ask Bruce Lee
And don’t worry. I have some good news. Once I share with you the major mistakes that most people make that cause their new habits to fail, you’ll be well on your way to avoiding them and moving on to the good stuff – your new habits installed and ingrained in your mind and body space. So let’s get to it!
5 Major Mistakes That Cause Your New Habits to Fail
1. Changing too much, too soon. Boy, don’t I know about this one! I used to be that chick who would say “Go big or go home” or “It’s all or nothing.” Well, that usually (99% of the time) didn’t work for me.
And that’s just because of the way we’re wired. Too much too soon can cause a huge downward spiral if one little thing isn’t done right. It’s best to start a new habit in baby steps. If you want to spend two hours each day writing your novel, start with a single sentence each day. One sentence accomplishes something exciting: it gets you in the habit of sitting down and writing when it’s time to write and you’ll end up writing more and more each day. That’s the most important factor of taking baby steps.
* Start with small changes. Then increase the amount of time and effort when the habit of starting is in place.
* Seek behavioral changes that are so easy, you can’t possibly fail (you know, the little things).
2. Relying on willpower. If your habit requires willpower, it won’t last. At best, willpower should only be required to make a habit of getting started. Don’t believe me? Look at the habits you already have. They are on autopilot. That’s because you’ve done them enough that now they’re automatic. Willpower isn’t required to brush your teeth every morning or perform your daily job tasks.
* Willpower is a short-term solution. Don’t rely on it!
* Seek behavioral changes that are so simple at first, you don’t need willpower.
3. Expecting it to be super easy to begin a new habit. Change isn’t easy; we all know this. You’ll become complacent and lazy if you expect a new habit to be easy to implement. We’d all be rich, in shape, and speak five languages if creating new habits were that simple!
* It’s really not about being easy to create new habits or break old ones, but a matter of mindset and self-discipline.
4. Expecting a new habit to be extremely difficult to create. The opposite is also true. If you expect the process to be exceptionally difficult, you’ll struggle. The thought of doing anything that’s hard can be enough of a reason to never get started in the first place.
* New behaviors are easy to implement if you start slowly and have patience. It’s moving ahead slowly and having patience with the process that’s difficult (and, again, where self-discipline does the job).
5. Relying too much on information. Our society is blessed, or cursed, with access to an excessive amount of information. This creates two challenges:
- It’s very easy to believe that you don’t know enough to take the first step. There’s always something out there you don’t know. The need to know everything before getting started can leave you stuck. There’s no prize for knowing the most. There is great success in DOING the most, though.
- The belief that knowledge alone is sufficient is just as harmful. You might know how to do pushups, but that doesn’t provide the same results as doing 100 of them each day. I tried just thinking really hard about exercising but that didn’t work. LOL
* The special forces have a motto that 60% is enough to take action. If you know 60% of the relevant information, you know enough to move forward. You can figure out the other 40% along the way. Spend 90% of your time doing and 10% learning.
Over to you…
Dropping your negative habits and adding new, supportive habits is the key to changing your life’s circumstances. But if you avoid the 5 most common mistakes I’ve listed above when attempting to add a new habit to your life, you’ll find greater success in adding habits that make a positive impact overall!
Listen, just start small. Tiny changes are easy to implement and build upon. But this approach requires patience and the belief that it can work. So if you can’t do a whole mile, do 1/1oth of a mile. Can’t update your resume in one sitting? Do one part at a time. Can’t make it to the gym? Do jumping jacks and pushups at the crib. #NoExcuses
Yes, I know it’s easier said than done. I know this. But, sexy excuses get you nowhere but stuck in the same place you’re in now. So something HAS to give.
when all else fails, you have to FORCE yourself to get things done. It’s not about motivation, willpower or anything else but doing it. Don’t try. Just do!