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habit change

Updated: Apr 7, 2020

I have been in the process of designing my life to be what I want. I know, how "on trend" am I?!? But seriously between the jousting squirrels in my head and the, "wait, how long was I watching cute cat videos on FB?" It has required real strategy.

I find the easiest way to do it is to find out how other people do it. I'm a podcast and audiobook enthusiast. I am not the best housekeeper in the world (understatement alert) so if I am doing laundry, washing dishes or some other housekeeping activity that I must do, but do not EVER feel like doing, I listen to something to get me through the task.

When I am not naturally good at something I have to ride the wake of those who are -- steal their methods, basically.

Charlie knows what's what....

My latest listen was Atomic Habits by James Clear. His advice is manageable. I particularly liked the "habit stacking" recommendation. (I may have mentioned this before.) It is taking your already set-in-stone good habits and tacking a new one on the end. Writing is something that I love to do but hate to start. Once I'm about five or ten minutes in it just flows until I've gotten to a reasonable stopping point. I'm tacking writing onto the end of my morning meditation and gratitude practice habit. Those are things I do daily and if I even get writing in five days of the week I consider it a win. (Honestly, I'd consider three or four a week a win too.)

Lower the Bar to attain success

This one I "stole" from Jordan Peterson. This cat has helped so many people turn their lives around by suggesting that you simply lift the load you can, no matter how light. If your task ahead is too daunting, lower the bar. Do something -- anything. It will still be something productive and useful, but make it as easy as it has to be to actually do something. It's a kind of "baby steps" approach. Eventually the tasks you undertake will become more challenging, and sooner than you think you won't recognize the useless, self loathing lump you used to see in yourself. Anything you do -- whether it is making your bed or losing 100 pounds, writing a book or just refraining from a facebook fight -- will feel good. That feeling is something you'll want to have again. From there you'll make your bed again until it is a habit. You'll be more likely to keep your body strong and fit because it feels better. You'll continue training, writing, whatever. Accomplishments feel great but you have to acknowledge the small as well as the big ones to have that great feeling. He's also written a few books, the most relevant to this post is Twelve Rules for Life. He gets very specific about the best way to improve your life by relatively easy tasks. "Clean your room" comes to mind...

I have had to learn that I do not know how to do much of what I want to do. The little obstacles are the ones that get in the way most for me. The best thing for me to do is admit that I am no expert and read a book about it -- even if it is something that everybody is supposed to be able to do, like clean my house. For me habit change comes in small incremental changes.

*Disclaimer, if you purchase the book links above I will get a teeny commission. I have read and recommend them completely and only recommend stuff I believe in.

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