Building habits

I’ve recently developed a new habit that I’d previously had difficulty implementing.

When I initially tried to add this habit to my life, I kept falling flat. I wasn’t doing it as often as I wanted and my commitment to it was half-hearted.

After a short while I gave up on the habit because it clearly wasn’t working. In hindsight I can see that the problem was my approach but I didn’t realise it at the time.

Despite this I still held the intention of the thing I wanted to become a habit but I’d stopped trying.

Weeks later whilst lost in thought I realised that I’d unknowingly implemented the habit I’d previously been working towards. I think it happened because the intention was in my subconscious.

Granted at the time, I was only less than 2 weeks into the habit so it was more of a practice but I couldn’t help but notice that things felt so much easier.

A man, his hat and my bubble

There I was on a Tuesday morning on my usual commute to work engrossed in my phone, writing a blog post with my headphones in.

That’s how I often spend my journey to and from work engrossed in my thoughts, my phone or looking out of the window.

But one day a man’s hat fell out of his bag or his pocket as he headed down the ailse to get off the bus. I appeared to be the only one that noticed so I took the opportunity to hand it back to him. Granted this was a small thing but I’d stepped out of my own bubble.

I could’ve taken the do nothing approach.

A different approach

When you’re trying to find a solution it can be easy to get stuck on one particular path. You want to believe that you can work things out so you trudge on hoping for the best.

Maybe you tell yourself that if things aren’t working out then you’re not working hard enough.

But sometimes the truth is you need a different approach to the situation.

It can be difficult to open up to a new way of doing things, especially when you’ve been trying one set way for so long.

However, if you’re willing to do something different even if it doesn’t solve the problem, you’ll probably find yourself closer to the solution.

What’s the use in feeling bad about yourself?

Short answer: there is no use.

If it doesn’t feel good to feel bad then why not try something else?

It’s easy to feel bad about yourself when things go wrong but ruminating on that feeling isn’t likely to help you improve and get better at whatever you’re working on.

Perhaps asking yourself ‘what could I have done better?’ might be more useful.

Then take whatever is on that list and give them a go one by one until you find something that helps you improve.

I have no doubt that will be much more useful than the previous approach.

The ‘Do It Now’ approach

Here’s to taking the bull by the horns and actually getting things done.

A couple of months ago I became aware of my own small-scale procrastination. Putting off: making meals, doing the washing up, returning orders, making phone calls, booking appointments, raising issues etc. Granted I was only putting off the washing up by maybe an around an hour but there was an impact to putting it off.

When you’re doing small scale procrastination you can feel within your body that you should be doing your task rather than re-watching season 2 of Felicity and swooning over Ben Covington.

But what if you changed your ways and took the ‘Do It Now’ approach?

I’ve been playing around with this idea for a while, it’s about shaking procrastination and getting things done.

It starts with the inner monologue, the voice that says just 10 more minutes needs to be trained to want to do it now.

It starts with a conscious effort of regular self-talk and you can even say it aloud. Eventually that voice will become more and more prominent until one day it’s your default because you’ve been practising it for so long.

It’s something I want to implement into my own life as I look to take my life by the horns instead of passively watching it pass me by.