I’ve heard it said that it takes approximately 21-30 days to make or break a habit. Well, today is March 11th, and April 1st is 21 days away. Yes, it’s the perfect day to begin an original habit or end an old one – out with the bad, in with the new!! What is a habit, anyway? Here are a few definitions from the dictionary:
1. an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary: the habit of looking both ways before crossing the street.
2. customary practice or use: Daily bathing is an American habit.
3. a dominant or regular disposition or tendency; prevailing character or quality: She has a habit of looking at the bright side of things.
4. mental character or disposition: a habit of mind.
5. garb of a particular rank, profession, religious order, etc.: a monk's habit.
I kind of like the idea of a habit being a behavior I can acquire and control and make a customary practice, something I can choose to make a dominant tendency… even something I can “put on”, so to speak.
What is one habit that you could choose today that you would like to make or break? What was the first thing that came to your mind? That’s probably a good one to select! The exciting thing is that there is so much possibility, so much potential from which to choose! Of course that could be somewhat overwhelming as well, so let’s begin slowly. Why not choose one positive habit to begin, starting on an optimistic note? (After you conquer this you can choose on April 1st one negative habit you would like to eliminate from your life.) Think about why you want to create this positive habit, and think about the benefits to your health/energy/daily living/circumstances if this habit is incorporated into your life. It’s important to know why you want this habit, and how it will better you.
I’ve been neglecting my creative side lately, so I think my habit will be to consistently write in my journal every day for the next 21 days – perhaps it will only be a few words, perhaps a haiku, or maybe I’ll go out of the lines and draw or add a photograph or picture from a magazine. I was listening to several podcasts this weekend and heard that the best way to get in touch with your deeper conscious is to journal by handwriting in a journal with no lines in order to access more fully the right side of our brain. There’s something about the mind-body connection of the handwriting (as opposed to using the computer or lined paper which both trigger the left brain) that gets that little subconscious to open up. I like that idea! By writing daily, my goal is to understand myself better, feel good about being consistent and strengthening my ability to follow through on a project and draw out a bit of me that has been sleeping like the wild violets under the snow but are now ready to come to live again with the warmth of freshness of the spring.
For my friends out there who are of a technical bent, there’s a free website at 21habit.com where you can plug in your habit and it will remind you daily. Be sure to use the free mode (remember, we believe in financially frugal fitness here at Coachlindabush.com!) You can also search for apps for your phone or tablet. Whatever you choose, is sure to build some fun into the process.
What will you choose? Something physical (eat more veggies, walk daily now that the weather is getting nicer), mental (read a chapter a day of that book I want to read), relational (each day I’ll write a note of loving encouragement to a loved one), career (do something that will boost your knowledge/abilities/excellence in your given field), dreams (I will begin to explore what it takes to take that vacation, how much it will cost, timeframes, etc. – one little piece of info a day). The sky is the limit!!! If you're having difficult discovering your habits or goals, consider life coaching as a way to explore and expand your dreams!
H – Have a plan
A - Account for why you want to achieve this habit, and what benefit it will bring to your life
B – begin with baby steps
I – Incorporate a daily time to set aside to work on this habit – integrate it into your calendar and daily routine
T – Think about the end result so you will have a target for which to aim
S – Start and stick with it!
Please be sure to send us comments on what habit you’re targeting, and how you’re doing! Be sure to make it a habit to read this blog daily while you’re at it!!!
Wellness & Life Transformation
http://zenhabits.net/habitses/ (by Leo Babauta)
www.21habit.com (mentioned above)
http://www.openforum.com/articles/17-best-tools-and-apps-for-building-new-habits-and-goals/ (Open Forum’s article on 17 Best Tools and Apps for building New Habits and Goals – also has a list of other posts about habits)