Productive habits are the difference between wasting a day and falling into bed on a high note.
Life hacks – a healthy breakfast, implement the 80/20 rule, get enough sleep, limit time on technology, plan a day ahead, etc. – support entrepreneurs and professionals to succeed, while having time with your favorite people or doing what makes you happy. The challenge is often in how to build the new habit. So I put together 7 essentials to solidify that new productive habit that helps to start achieving.
A Strategy for Sabotaging Behaviors- From past experience, we are aware of what can derail us. Forgo repeating the past and plan ahead. Choose a new approach to overwrite the paralyzing thought attempting to halt or reroute your progress. Clarify, in advance, what to say or do when a sabotaging thought or behavior shows up.
Know Your Ignition Switch- Once a habit is established the ignition switch (i.e. trigger or cue) activates the brain into automatic mode. So what is your ignition switch for your new habit? A time, person, place, group, preceding event, or emotional state can trigger the brain to act.
‘I will plan my next day at 4:30pm.’
When possible, keep the cue the same as the old habit and only change the action.
‘When you have a mid-afternoon craving choose a healthy snack instead of cookies’.
The trigger is the same but the action shifts. We will cover triggers more in the near future.
Commitment with Action- Commitment maintains focus on today’s actions. It pushes you through tough moments. In the book ‘Commit to Win’, author Heidi Reeder, PhD explains:
“Commitment refers to the degree to which you join and stay, versus the degree to which you separate and go.”
Are you looking for ways to make the actions “more meaningful and central to your life”? Commitment is developed and strengthened as you continue being in action.
Create a Craving- In the book, ‘The Power of Habit’, Charles Duhigg explains:
Endurance increases while “cultivating a craving that drives the loop.”
Habits become powerful because of neurological cravings.
A dog salivating while anticipating a treat demonstrates this. Deeply wanting the new habit makes the process easier. The reward can simply be acknowledging how incredible you feel (really feeling the emotions attached to the success) after completing a workout, or experiencing and enjoying 15 minutes in nature following completion of part of a project.
Create cravings that power up your new habit.
Tracking System- Tracking your progress is fun, and reinforces new neurological patterns. The tracking system can be a partner in producing a craving. The urge to put an X on a calendar or into an app for a completed action supports success when it is attached to an emotional feeling. We will discuss tracking systems and options in an upcoming blog post. Share your favorite system in the comments below.
A Foundational Level of Confidence- Set up your new habit strategy in a way that you know you can succeed. Based on past experience and approaches taking on a new challenge:
Is your confidence high or low?
Starting with an easier habit produces a record of successes to form a foundational level of confidence to build on.
Believing is an integral part of the process.
Those who are driven by a large challenge may have a higher level of confidence. For many, too large of a challenge causes overwhelm and procrastination. The more you gain trust in yourself through small successes, the larger, more complex habits and goals you can achieve.
Bounceability- Bounce back from failure or distractions as quickly as possible. Take a moment to grasp the lesson. What can you learn from this? Is more self-care needed to give you the energy to follow through? Could planning ahead prevent wasted time? Once you gain the lesson you can make shifts to improve. Get advice, as needed. You will gain strength, knowledge, experience to continue forward.
To improve your chance of success in building an exciting new habit that upgrades your results, add support and accountability.
End more days on a high note by building productive habits that honor your time, keeps you growing, and upgrades your quality of life.
Wishing you continued success and fulfillment-
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