Brushing your teeth.
Running 3 miles.
Contacting 5 prospects.
Buckling your seatbelt.
Posting to your blog.
Which of these are already habits for you?
Which of these, or others that come to mind, do you wish were habits?
We can have such a love/hate relationship with habits – enjoying the results they bring, feeling restricted by their ‘rules,’ delighting in the extra mental space, being frustrated by slow progress.
If you’ve reached the point of “Something’s gotta change,” here are three habit helpers I have found particularly useful that might serve you, too:
“Consistent, not constrictive.”
I’ve shared often about my ‘all or nothing’ tendencies, which – when it comes to developing new habits – can mean starting 14 new habits all at once, tracking them diligently for a week, then becoming overwhelmed and forgetting them completely.
I’ve learned not only to pare down the number of habits I’m implementing, but also to focus on general consistency rather than rigid perfection. This mantra, “Consistent, not constrictive,” keeps me in check.
Feel free to adopt this mantra for yourself, or to develop one of your own that speaks to your specific point of overwhelm.
The Habit of Completion.
When my space, mind, calendar, or life feel cluttered, I do not operate at my best. And while I’m a frequent declutterer when it comes to ‘stuff,’ one of my biggest clutter culprits is unfinished business.
This could include projects partially complete, books half-read, tasks started but with just a bit left to finish. It feels like running 25.8 miles in a marathon – and then just running in place.
Developing a habit of completion is one of the best ways I’ve found to ‘cross the finish line,’ so to speak. Either blocking time to finish a specific project, or breaking it down into smaller milestones and committing to finishing the next one by a certain date. The habit of completion is one of the best habits I’ve created for myself!
Habits = Relief.
We make approximately one zillion decisions per day (or so it seems). If you ever come home in the evening to a family member asking what’s for dinner and your overloaded mind cannot formulate one single idea, you’re probably familiar with decision fatigue. Habits, by their very nature, can help free you of that.
Imagine if, every single time you got in the car, you had to consciously think about, ponder, weigh pros and cons, and decide whether or not to buckle your seatbelt. Instant exhaustion! The habit of buckling as soon as you enter your car eliminates that completely.
So rather than thinking of habits as limiting or harsh, consider the freedom, lightness, and relief they can offer. This perspective shift can change everything.
If you’d like to know three of my favorite habit-related books, feel free to revisit the 3-minute video I posted on LinkedIn
back in November. And be sure to share your top habit helpers below so we can all learn from you!
Christi Hegstad, PhD, PCC, is an Accredited + Multi-Certified Coach helping you bring meaning to work and purpose to life! Contact us to inquire about coaching possibilities.