How many bad or unproductive habits do you have?
- Sleeping in late
- Arriving late to meetings or appointments
- Breaking agreements or not doing what you say you’ll do
- Eating fast food every day for lunch
- Checking your email, Facebook, Twitter or any number of other disctractions every few minutes
- Working late instead of spending time with your loved ones
- Watching 4 hours of TV a night
- Going to a bar every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night to drink
- Controlling the conversation
Think about what you could achieve if you would replace just four of these habits every year with something positive!
About 90% of our behaviors are habitual, which can be good and bad!
It’s good in the sense that operating by habit frees our minds to think of other things while we work. After habits are established, we don’t have to think about how to take a shower, drive the car, eat or get dressed, so this is time we can use to think about other things like planning our day, talking to our passengers, listening to the game or watching the news.
Unfortunately, many of our habits are HUGE time-wasters, relationship killers, career sabotagers and health destroyers!
If you have kids, not only are you affecting your life and the results you are getting, but you’re also modeling these negative behaviors to your kids!
Make a list of all of your bad, unproductive, negative, time-consuming, energy-draining, body neglecting habits…..Yes – right now!
Now, look down through that list and identify four of them that if you changed those habits, it would make a tremendous difference in your life and your results.
Now, what positive habits could you replace them with?
- Getting up an hour earlier
- Smoking one less cigarette per day for a week and then a second for another week….etc.
- Agreeing to only those things you are sure you can complete
- Eat fast food twice a week instead of 5 times
- Commit to setting your cell phone aside when you are with your loved ones
- Watching 2 hours instead of 4
- Be conscious of listening (instead of talking) for at least 50% of the conversation
- Go to the gym three times a week
- Read for an hour a day
- Learn to cook some healthy meals
- Give your kids a hug and tell them you love them every day
Choose 4 to start with – remember you’re replacing a bad habit with a good one!
Now, integrate these changes (releasing one bad and implementing one good) every 13 weeks!
Studies show it takes at least 21 days for a new behavior to become a habit, so by repeating them for 13 weeks, it will be well ingrained into your mind! It’s important to take it slow – meaning, don’t try to implement too many changes all at once. That’s why New Year’s resolutions don’t work. People get through the holidays, see the spring coming and want to start a new! Their desire to change something is so strong they try to change everything all at once and they can’t sustain the new behaviors long enough to make them habits.
Some negative habits may take a lot of effort, some may even require you to seek assistance, but imagine how you will feel at the end of the year when you can look back at all you’ve accomplished! It’s an amazing feeling!
Just to prove that I practice what I preach, here are the habits I’ve worked on over the last year:
- I’ve cut back on the amount of time I watch television. In fact, I canceled my cable! :o)
- I eat out far less than I used to – once or twice a week now instead of four or five.
- I’ve modified my sleep habits. When I was working until midnight and getting up at five am, I was exhausted, which squashed my creativity! Now, I’m getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night and my mind and body are thanking me for it!
- I created a schedule to keep me on track with the amount of time I spend working toward my goals and I’m being far more productive in a fairly short period of time!
If it helps you to stay focused, find someone to partner with – someone else who is working toward their goals. Having the support and encouragement of another is a great way to stay motivated! In fact, we’ll talk about how you can maximize partnerships in an upcoming post! Stay tuned!