It is one thing to set goals and create a vision for your life and career, but completely another to make it happen. What you do daily is what actually sets you apart from those who talk about their ideas but fail to execute. It is your daily routine that will get you to the next level, create positive habits and your vision will become reality.
Our goals are like signposts along the way, but in order to achieve our goals, we need to translate them into small doable positive habits that we can do every day.
Dreams don’t happen because it’s difficult to stick to our goals.
Same goes for forming new habits. Unless you are able to create new positive habits and let go of harmful ones, you will remain at step one.
It may not sound very exciting but people who keep repeating their goals and their action points until they become a second nature are the ones who will eventually succeed.
Angela Lee Duckworth from University of Pennsylvania studies intangible concepts such as self-control and grit to determine how they might predict both academic and professional success. She has found out that rather than IQ or some other factor, “grit” is a much greater predictor of success.
So don’t give up.
You have to be a success before you can achieve success.
According to research, forming a new habit takes on average 66 days (Phillippa Lally, University College London study). But of course, this depends on a person and also how difficult or challenging the habit is you are trying to form, and according to this study it can take up to 254 days.
Now, most people give up on the first obstacle or think they are a failure if they haven’t managed to make the new habit stick within a week of trying.
Just don’t give up! It’s not what you do once in a while but what you do repeatedly that will make a difference to reaching your goals and creating that bigger life.
Here are ten tips on how to create positive habits (and have them stick)
Build on the positive
Think about what you do already that’s great and how you can build on that. Write down the things you are doing repeatedly and acknowledge the good habits you have already established. Could you link your new habit to something you already do? If you already start your day with yoga, for instance, you could add mediation or journaling to that habit to make it stick. Use existing time slots and routines to add new ones.
Acknowledge your bad habits
Then think about your destructive habits and start by simply acknowledging them. All change starts from awareness. Write them down. How you could you remove or replace these?
A study found that those who suppressed their thoughts about eating chocolate exhibited a behavioural rebound effect, where they consumed significantly more chocolate than those who didn’t.
If you want to replace social media time with, say, reading a book make sure your book is at hand when you want to ‘wind down’ with social media. DrivenWoman member Helena successfully replaced her habit to be on her phone playing games with yoga which then lead to becoming more focused and finding her dream job!
Get serious with your goals
Think about a habit you really need to form in order to start moving towards your goals and your dreams. Get real and write down a new daily habit that will be a game changer for you. It should be something you can do in 15 minutes and incorporate into your every day schedule.
Then think about a habit you need to take up and repeat once a month. You an also think about batching certain type of activities into one day so you save time.
A monthly habit could be:
– Clear out closets
– Admin day
– Pay all bills
– Plan for the next month
– Go for a really long hike
– Organise a get together with friends and family
– Go to art exhibition to inspire yourself
Your monthly habit should be in line with your bigger life goals. So if your goal is to nourish your soul and feed your creativity then an art day would be appropriate. If your goal is to make more money from your clients then you probably need a day when you focus solely on your sales strategy.
A powerful way to create positive habits is to make them small, ones that don’t take much time to complete and which you can do anywhere so that there’s never an excuse not to do them.
I always meditate from Monday to Friday for 15 minutes, I can do it almost anywhere. My first slot is in the morning, but if I miss that I have a second slot in the evening before going to bed. It took me 1.5 years to really firm up this habit. (So don’t give up!)
Have a regular slot
Like brushing teeth, create a regular slot into your day when things happen.
Helena, a DrivenWoman member from London, an author who writes contemporary fiction has established a writing habit. She gets up at 6:30 am and the only thing she’s allowed herself is to make a cup of coffee, then she must start writing and continue until 9:30 am.
Tanja, a member from Switzerland, formed a habit of getting up 10 minutes earlier than she used to and she’s now using that extra time to write her intention for the day in her journal. She says it’s quickly transforming her life!
Give yourself a break!
I always read a book before going to bed. (I give myself a break and hold myself accountable only from Monday to Friday because perfection can kill anyone.) Even if I read for 2 minutes it counts. This habit has transformed my life as I have been able to read countless books and as any length of reading counts I never have to skip this habit or feel bad about myself.
Low maintenance habits are better
It’s best to create habits that don’t require a lot of equipment or preparation and that you can accomplish anywhere. As soon as one piece is missing from the ‘perfect performance’ of your habit it’s easy to give up. Try not to rely on other people or special places to do what you want to do.
If your goal is to start mediating/going to the gym/reading a book/writing sales emails once a day but you are just starting try to establish a habit of doing it once a week at first. Once you are settled doing your thing once a week add a second day, and so on. Give yourself a good half a year (or more) to get to five days a week. And don’t give up!
Do the things that make you happy
Often building good habits is about what we don’t like about ourselves and we want to change that. Instead, let your joy guide you and start doing more of the things that excite you. Building positive habits should come from a place of ‘self love’ rather than negativity and self judgement. You are enough and perfect as you are.
Surround yourself with people who keep you accountable
Research shows that people who make themselves accountable to other people for forming their habit are much more likely to achieve them. Remember that you are not alone on your journey! It’s much easier to get to results when you have a whole community of like-minded women cheering for you. Join our online DrivenWoman Academy to be paired with your own accountability partner and meet likeminded ambitious women on a mission to reach their goals and dreams fast.