Guest post by by Cass Mullane, Accountability Coach, Right-Brain Business Plan® Licensed Facilitator, Prosper Creatively, LLC
When you look at it objectively, changing a habit is actually a relatively simple process. You just do the new thing, then repeat it over and over. That’s the old 21 – 30 days to make a new habit. So why is it so hard to make a new habit stick?
What makes it complicated is you. For one thing, you let your mind monkeys get into your head start swinging around chattering away about how hard it is to make a change, how you never could do anything right and how you’ll never be able to do this new thing.
But you can deal with the mind monkeys. Simply interrupt their chatter by throwing them a mental banana, and while they’re off chasing the banana, replace that chatter with better, more productive thinking.
What’s probably more difficult is to identify the routine that triggers the habit that you really want to change. You may think it’s one thing, like not eating the whole chimichanga, when, in fact, it’s tied to something entirely different, like going to the same restaurant with the same group of friends where you order the same chimi every time. Think about it… it’s easier to change the habit by simply changing the social routine. You can still meet up with your friends for a fun meal out, just change up the restaurant. Then the chimi is out of the picture and you’ve given yourself a fighting chance to set up a new habit that is tied to a familiar routine. This will shorten the time it takes to make the new habit stick.
This also applies to your businesses. For example, how many of you want to make calls first thing in the morning but don’t seem to get to it because you spend so much time checking emails and getting lost in the associated rabbit holes of links and downloads in the morning? Let’s look at how to do this.
Of course you could set a timer when you start to look at emails, then stop after the alarm goes off. That’s easy and it’s doable. But will you continue to do it for 21-30 days? Let’s look a little deeper.
What’s your morning routine at work? Let’s say you grab a cup of coffee or tea, turn on the computer and immediately check your email. What’s the habit, checking email first thing? Nope, the trigger is getting your get coffee or tea first and the other things fall into a familiar routine. So the trick is to tie your new habit to an existing routine, in this case, the morning beverage.
Today, when you get your coffee, instead of flipping on the computer and reading emails, choose to settle down to make some calls first. You’ve now tied the new habit of making calls first thing to your morning routine that starts with coffee. I think you’ll find that your new habit will get ingrained SO much more quickly than the old repeat for 21-30 day thinking.
And there’s a bonus: when you’ve made your calls and you go to check your email, you’re doing it later in the day when you probably have more activities that will naturally limit the time available for email rabbit holes.
So give it a try and let me know how this works for you!
Cass Mullane is an artist with an MBA. Cass’ calm, comfortable approach consistently yields positive results for clients. Her business and personal coaching practice, www.ProsperCreatively.com, specializes in delivering solid left brain business skills to right brainers and creatives in a fun, visual way. She’s a best selling author, textile and mixed media artist and creator of the Cool Stuff Jar™ coaching program. You can also visit Cass on Facebook!