How Many Times Have You Said That? Sticking To A Habit Once & For All
Each year, when January 1st comes around, we engage in the same conversations about what we will or will not do this year, how this will be ‘our year’ and we are ready to make that big change. Starting to do the work is important and facing some realities about ourselves and why we do (or don’t do) what we need to is going to be a catalyst for our future behaviours.
Yes, I did say future self. It turns out that one of the best ways to become better is to start acting like that person and then adopt the habits and behaviours that will help to reach that level.
You see, we become what we repeatedly do. Excellence is therefore not an act but a habit (Aristotle said that, not me).
What then, do we do to get there?
Well firstly, defining what we do want is important. I can’t count the number of times this was asked to me both personally and professionally in the past year. Knowing what you want is actually half the work as you know what you are aiming for and increasing the probability of getting there by taking action towards it.
Consume the right content. I’ve said this so many times and this refers mostly to the people and conversations you engage in. You become like the people you spend the most time with. Look at your last five messages, your last five meetings and your last five plans made and assess accordingly. Different dynamics impact how you interact and who you become. It’s not opinion, it is Neuroscience.
Recognise your potential roadblocks and decide on your non-negotiables. When it comes to the habit you’re embarking on, what are the possible challenges you’ll face (because you will). Take note so you can prepare yourself and have some solutions in place for them. A non-negotiable refers to something you will not sway on. This can be that you won’t touch alcohol during the first 30 days of forming a new exercise habit and so, you say no to anything that could lead to this happening.
Have an accountability partner. Work with a friend, coach or personal trainer (if applicable) and exchange wins, what’s working and motivate each other as much as possible. Have a WhatsApp group or meet up where you compare notes and ideas.
Finally, be patient with yourself. As Gary V would say, ‘you weren’t born learning how to drive. You learned.’ The same goes for any habit you form, it takes time and patience.