Are you really aware of the power of your habits and their impact in your life? Let me tell you a joke:
A police officer is on duty. He is called by an informer who says that a man is visiting his wife. The cop jumps on his motorcycle and rushes home. He finds his nasty wife lying naked in bed and asks her:
– Where is he?
– Who, dear, it’s nobody here…
The cop pulls out his gun and goes to the balcony.
– He isn’t here…
Then he looks under the bed.
– He isn’t here… tell me, bitch, where is he?
The angry husband enters the bathroom. It’s nobody there either. Same result in the kitchen.
Finally, he opens the wardrobe. A naked man stands there, scared, with 100 euro in his hand. The cheated husband takes the money, closes the wardrobe and says:
– Damn it! He isn’t here either!
This is the power of a habit! It’s quite dramatic to see this power in action, especially when it’s about bad habits that work against our interests, in spite of our will, too helpless and unable to deal alone with such a power.
Many people repeatedly fail in their attempt to change their life, usually in January, after their New Year’s Eve resolutions. Why? Because they don’t succeed in changing their habits. Here’s my proven 5 steps formula for installing a habit for good (or for as long as you need it).
1. Evaluation – How does your daily routine looks like?
You will need about an hour to honestly evaluate your daily routine.
Take your notebook and write down what you usually do in a normal working day.
The average employee routine looks like that:
- waking up after snoozing the alarm clock twice
- coffee and breakfast
- getting dressed
- 15 minutes walking to the bus station or subway
- 30 minutes to an hour on the smartphone while riding the bus to work, usually wasted on Angry birds or other stupid games
- clocking in, turning the computer on, getting out for a coffee, a cigarette and the mandatory gossip with your colleagues.
- lunch break
- another hour on your smartphone on your way back home
- buying some food and beer
- deciding that is was such a hard day that there is not enough energy left for anything else
- drinking beer in front of the television or playing games on the computer till late at nightwake up even more tired than the day before
- wake up even more tired than the day before
You can clearly see there are a lot of useless and time-consuming habits that you can replace with productive ones. This step helps you:
- decide what habits you want to replace (to install a habit, you have to quit at least an old one)
- determine the period of the day in which you are going to install the new habit – the new habit has to be performed in the same period every day, for a proper installation.
2. Setting goals
You have to clearly determine what you want, whether it is increased sales, losing weight, a promotion, learning a new skill or foreign language. I’ve covered this topic in detail in the book “The Inner Power“, so I won’t get too deep here. You have to accept the fact that you can’t hit a target that you can’t see, and the lack of clear written goals is the main reason a lot of people go through life like a beheaded hen, struggling in vain with no direction.
3. Determining the proper actions that you have to perform to reach your goal
If you want to increase your sales, you may decide that you should contact more prospects every day. You set up a target and this will be a new habit for a while, to see if it’s efficient or not. If it’s not right, look for other actions.
In case you’re chasing a promotion, you may decide to come to work earlier, work all the time you work and don’t leave your office until you finish all the tasks for that day.
If you want to lose weight, you may decide to run daily, or buy a bike and ride it to work and back.
You will need certain targets – 10 new prospects contacted daily, coming to work one hour early, working out one hour every day etc.
4. Getting the logistics
Here you have to buy or print a big whole year calendar and a red marker. You’ll need them to mark an “X” on every day when you have performed your action.
Now you may ask: “What if I have multiple habits to install?”
I personally use a special Excel worksheet for that, and it is included as an additional resource in one of my courses, but there is a risk of forgetting it on your computer. In the beginning, as you install new habits one by one, it’s better to use a calendar hanged on the wall. This way, you’ll have your chain in sight every day.
5. Installing the new habit
Do it daily at approximately the same hour, mark an “X” on the calendar and enjoy life.
It’s important to resist the temptation to overdo it because you’ll run out of fuel and quit. On the contrary, you should gradually increase your effort. If you are an overweight sedentary person, don’t try to run for an hour every day. Run for 5 minutes in the first day, then add one minute every day until you reach one hour, then increase the pace and the distance you run in an hour.
Don’t try to install more than one habit at a time. The man is the result of evolution, not of revolution. Take it easy.
Don’t panic and don’t quit if you miss one day on your chain. Start a new row and try to make it longer this time. You can’t remember, but you fell down a lot when you learned to walk. Quitting was not an option then, and it shouldn’t be now either.
That’s all. Write me and tell me about your new fresh habits, and also if you have any questions on that topic.