The Subtle Art Of Long Term Habit Change.
How many of you gave up something for 2018, or maybe even 40 days of Lent?
How have you been doing?
Going cold turkey can work, but it is hard, needs TONS of self disciple and can feel like you are GRINDING through the days to make the habit change work.
No one is perfect and choosing to do or not do something 100% of the time can make you feel like a failure after one mistake.
I find that slowly building can be the best way to make a habit change work for the long haul.
First things first, you need to start small, like teeny tiny.
I’m talking so small that all you are doing is tracking the habit you want to change.
Let's use screen time for this example. If you wanted to limit the amount of screen
time you have a day, you would first just track how much you are doing.
You can download an app that does this or you can write down every time you're on your phone and add it up at the end of the day.
Do this for 1 or 2 weeks to be more aware of screen time. You may even notice a dip in time in front of screens just from being more aware!
After tracking, you may be SHOCKED by the fact that you use your phone for 4+ hours a day.
That’s okay, all we wanted to do while tracking was become aware of how much we were doing something, this can also give us a little boost to jump start the next step.
Next, build a goal statement for the next week or so.
You can choose to stop using your phone after a certain time, or to block off a time that you can use it. You can also keep tracking your time per day and stop after you have hit a certain limit.
Let's say you choose the latter.
"I will limit myself to 3 hours a day."
I know some days can be tougher than others. Maybe work is buzzing your phone, your day is jammed with coordinating on how to get the kids to their activity on time or the group texts are flying hot and heavy.
Because of all these unknowns, if you can get your goal 60% of the time or about 4 days out of the week… YOU ROCKED YOUR GOAL.
I like this idea the most due to the wiggle room it gives you for those bad days, along with how great you feel when you hit the 60% and then continue to kick butt on the next days.
Once you have the 60% or 4 days down, you are free to move onto the next step, 80% or 6 days.
By the time the month is up you would have:
Gained awareness on a habit.
Made a goal.
Completed the goal for multiple weeks.
Possibly even adjusted the old goal and started work on that.
(If you were working on screen time you just saved yourself roughly 12 hours in the month!)
You can use this strategy for ANY habit change like increasing water or activity, and even meal planning and prepping.
Start small with tracking and building awareness.
Build a simple goal that can be adjusted as the weeks go on.
Work on ONE habit at a time.
Be patient with the process - what you do adds up as time goes on.
Don't expect perfection right out of the gate.
If you have any more questions on how to begin tracking and building on habit change feel free to email me HERE.