Creating Habits that Stick

woman lying on green grass while holding pencil

Well, it’s the third week of January. How are those New Years Resolutions going? Do you still feel motivated, energized and on fire? Probably not. Like most of us who create New Years Resolutions, we forget to think about how we will actually feel once real life kicks back in. I love a New Year. Everything feels fresh, brand new and exciting. I make resolutions, get a new planner and new notebooks and get everything all ready. I usually hit the ground running on New Years Day with every intention to succeed. Then Week 3 hits and I’m tired. My notebooks have become overwhelming and my planner is no longer exciting. My snooze button is again my best friend and those salads are tasting bland. So begins the cycle that repeats over and over throughout the year. This year I’ve figured out how to break the cycle. You’ve got to take your foot off the gas and slow the progress down.

It’s not you that’s the problem with your New Year. It’s how you think (or don’t think) that’s the problem. Your plan exists only in this moment, not the millions to follow.  Your systems are not set up for changing schedules, sick kids or new work projects. You only think you are ready. You forget to actually ask yourself what it is that will work for you. If you’ve repeated the same pattern year after year…”this will be my year,” “this will be when I get my life together,” but you keep landing here…well that’s a good sign your systems need to change.

Motivation is only half of the equation. It’s the HABITS you create that will help you follow through. 

Do you brush your teeth everyday? Fix your coffee? Pee? Shower? Breathe? I bet you don’t have to think very much about any of them. Because they’re habits…part of your everyday routine. Subconscious efforts. The key to succeeding with ANY goal is to create small habits that build over time and compound to help you get there. The sooner you figure out that you don’t have to do it all right now, the sooner you’ll see that success you’re after, Mama.

Here is how to create habits:
1. Pick a goal. ONE goal that you want to work on.
2. Break it down into small actions that will help you get to your goal.
3. Pick 1 of those actions to work on.
4. Set a time frame – 2 weeks, 30 days, 90 days.
5. Work on that ONE action for your time frame only.
6. COMMIT to yourself to do that ONE thing for that period of time. No excuses.

At the end of your chosen time frame – check in with yourself. Is that action now a habit? Do you do it every single day? Do you think this is a sustainable action that you can continue to do without much thought? If so, then move on to the next action step. If not, then continue that action until it is. Set another time period and just keep going.

person writing on white book

By decreasing the actionable steps you have to take on a daily basis, you are decreasing the chances you have to fail. When you set unattainable goals with no realistic plan to achieve them – it’s hard not to fail.  Failure doesn’t feel good. Failure doesn’t reach goals. You have the choice. Be kind to yourself. Slow down. Give yourself some grace and watch as actions become habits. Habits that will bring you closer and closer to what your soul is asking you for. There’s a reason you still want that goal. There’s a reason you keep trying. Just shift the path a little and you will get there, Mama.

<3, MA

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