Building Habits Changes Lives

Tiny Habits, Can become life changing behaviors, over time.”

B.J. Fogg

I am a huge fan of making life easier and more efficient.  I like to take the shortest route from Point A to point B and get the most out of the journey.  Yet, when we begin to talk about habits, my mind immediately fixates on the HUGE needs in my life that need to be better and I can easily become overwhelmed into complacency.  Perhaps you can relate.

When we begin talking through developing habits, we usually think in terms of the overall end goals and often we quit, before we even begin.  In the same thought, we often only think in terms of physically changing ourselves, as opposed to developing better character or develop new skills.

Today, I am hoping to challenge you to identify a few area’s in your life that you would like to develop better habits.  Instantly, you may have just thought of eating better, exercise, or even upping your water intake. (Maybe it is just me who instantly goes here)  These tips will work for those, but they will also work for those who might need to adopt a more positive attitude or those who need to be better communicators with their family.

A few years ago, my husband was challenged by his boss, to becoming a better reader.  This boss believed that “leaders are readers” and he challenged his whole team to commit themselves to try to read 50 books in one year.  For a man who doesn’t enjoy reading, this was a big challenge.  Since he is never one to shy away from a challenge,  these tips were some of the very ones that took my husband from reading, maybe 1-2 books a year, to reading 30 books in 1 year.

I am not going to pretend that these are cutting edge, brand spanking new ideas, but they are really effective when put into practice.  If you are seeking changes in your life, these tips will help.  In order for life to be a journey, it means that you need to be moving-growing-changing. If you are stuck and need to change some habits, if you need to kick start life into gear again…

Here is how:

Step 1: Start with a habit so ridiculously easy, you can do it in your sleep!

When building better habits, the NUMBER 1 most important thing is….Consistency.  Notice, the statistic on the graphic below doesn’t say how long, how in-depth, or how complicated the habit you are trying to develop needs to be each day.  It just says that if you take steps, each day for 21-40 days, you will develop a new habit.

When you are working on building better habits, just start!  Start with a step that is so ridiculously easy you can do it in your sleep.

  • Want to build a work out regime into your schedule, work out for 1 minute a day to start with, then progress!
  • Want to become a better reader, set a timer for 5 minutes a day.
  • Want to get into the discipline to pray daily, do it while brushing your teeth.

The key here, is that you don’t need to have the ability to flip a car, write the next American novel, or even spend 8 hours on your knees in prayer.  The key is that if you do something, growth and progress will come if you stay consistent.  We all need to stop making everything so hard.

Step 2:  Tie The New Into Existing

This is a tip that I have shared before, but it’s an oh so good one.  When you are trying to establish a new habit; you will have the best success if you tie it into an existing part of your routine.

Once again I am going to use my husband as an example.  For years, Kevin has had a long commute to and from work.  He really wanted to be more intentional in his prayer life, so he tied praying for specific people into the signs and the landmarks on his drive.  It was so much easier to remember to do it when he assigned his new intention into parts of his existing routine.

For example, if you are trying to express more gratitude, you might set an intention that every time you stop at a red light, you say a prayer of thanks.  It is just a small tweak in your daily routine, but it could completely transform your approach to life.

Step 3:  Never Miss 2 Days

Can we all just address the elephant in the room?  Each and every one of us, has attempted new things and stopped, either because we messed up big and ate all the chocolate or we just missed too many days and got behind.  Most likely it was because step 1 of this list wasn’t happening and we were biting off more than we could chew.

If you set your intention, go small and attainable, and you build it into an existing habit, there still may be days where you are less than perfect in your journey.  The trick is to make it a personal challenge to never miss two days in a row.  If you fall, and you will, GET BACK UP.

It is so much better to keep trying than to never try at all.

Building habits can be tough, but they can also add incredible blessings to your life.  Start today!  Read those books, learn that new language, be more intentional in your relationships, drink more water, whatever your NEW looks like; begin today and you will be so excited in a month from now when it is old hat and you are adding something new into the mix.

Keep adding new habits and you will keep growing.