Change takes time

You can go from making grand plans one day to forgetting why you wanted to change your life the next.

It can be hard to shake the unhelpful habits that bind you to your past self. Even though you know they don’t benefit you and that you should change them, you can’t.

And it’s not that you haven’t tried, you just haven’t been able to make any real long term change.

Maybe somedays you find yourself questioning whether you should even bother trying to change at all.

But change takes time and if you really want it, the effort it takes will always be worth it.

The best place to share your work

Coming up with an idea of who your customer or target audience is incredibly helpful. For example, if you are trying to attract a younger age group you would use different methods than those you would choose to attract an older age group.

That could mean promoting your work on a Tik Tok account instead of setting up a Facebook page.

But you can even take things further and really carve out what sort of person would be interested in your work.

Perhaps it is someone that spends a lot of time reading, isn’t on so social media much. Maybe they are introverted or they prefer meeting people in person rather than online. Keep going with that until, you eventually begin to cultivate this conceptual idea of a person and then you’re able to look at different ways of reaching that person.

Ask yourself, ‘Would this person want updates on twitter, insta stories or by email?’

Once you can answer these questions, it can provide a useful base for figuring out the best place to share your work and promote your stuff.

Procrastination and relying on stress

Anyone who regularly procrastinates will tell you that they want to do the thing but they just keep putting it off. Often when we procrastinate we justify it to ourselves by prioriting things with low urgency that still give us that good feeling of that comes from getting things done.

We tell ourselves we’ll start later or tomorrow and we convince ourselves that that we still have enough time to get it done.

But what tends to happen is we just continue to put things off more and more. We do this until our stress levels start to increase and we reach the point where if we don’t start now we’ll miss the deadline.

And so you finally begin.

I had a recent experience with procrastination and once the work was complete I ended up reflecting on my behaviour.

When you get into the habit of choosing to procrastinate until the last possible moment, you train yourself to rely on stress to get things done. And so the next time you have a deadline you’re unable to find the motivation because you’re waiting for the adrenaline to kick in.

I think there are 2 main ways to stop procrastinating.

The first way is to experience things going wrong as a result of your procrastination. When our habits have negative implications this encourages a change in behaviour. It might start with you giving yourself 5 days for something instead of two and slowly build up until you become someone who always makes sure they have enough time.

The second is to just start straight away next time. We tell ourselves it’s difficult to start and just decide that it’s true when it’s not at all. Starting takes a little effort and commitment but it’s not as challenging as you tell yourself.

It’ll probably help to remind yourself of the benefits of starting straight away like being able to work at a steady pace instead of having to cram everything into a short period of time.

If you’re someone with a habit of procrastinating, it might not seem easy to change but it’s definitely possible.

Caught in the act

Noticing your unhelpful habits as soon as they start to emerge is a skill worth learning. Instead of getting carried away and indulging in behaviour you’re likely to regret, stop.

Realise what you’re doing, realise why and make the conscious choice not too continue.

Before you get to that point you might find that you regularly have situations where you don’t show up as your best self, you don’t put in much effort or you’re not treating people how you want to be treated.

But those things aren’t helpful. It doesn’t benefit you to be half-hearted with your efforts or unkind to other people.

As soon you realise that, the more likely you are to catch yourself in the act the next time it happens until eventually you’re no longer giving in to your unhelpful habit.

Reasons to take space

Taking space is something we’re often reluctant to do.

It could be space from a person, a habit or even just social media.

For me the purpose of space is to gain clarity.

It’s difficult to get that when you’re in the situation which is why it is necessary to remove yourself.

At first you always miss the thing that you’re taking space from because you’re so used to it being part of your day to day life but then you feel refreshed and wonder why you clung to that thing so much in the first place. Then after that comes the sense of knowing that without this thing in your life you’ll still be totally fine.

I don’t think we always anticipate that that last realisation will come which is why we can be reluctant to give things up.

I think we quite often think the opposite which is that we’ll feel as though we can’t live without the thing or come to crave it even more than before.

It could be something like snacking on sugary foods, a person you believe yourself to be so totally in love with or maybe it’s Instagram.

Whatever it is in your life, don’t be too afraid to take space from it.

You might even find that you no longer want the thing in your life and if that’s the case, be willing to let it go.

Not everything is meant to last.

Doing it wrong

If I aksed someone for advice on how to make this site better, I have a pretty good idea of what they would say.

The first thing is that I should use pictures to accompany my posts as a way to draw in readers.

The second is that I should promote my content on social media to put my stuff out there to a wider audience, not just fellow WordPress users.

To some the way I have chosen to run this site might mean that I am doing it wrong but in the 18 months since I started, I’m really pleased with what I have created.

The goal for me is to never reach the most amount of people or have the biggest audience. Those things won’t make me a better a writer or make me more committed to posting everyday.

When it comes to using pictures, if I have to post an image to get someone to read just over 100 words (the length of most of my posts) then that’s not the kind of reader I want. When it comes to social media although I have an Instagram account for this site my main focus will always be the daily blog posts and right now the extra effort it would take to promote on Instagram isn’t worth it.

And so sometimes you have to realise that what might be right for others is wrong for you and what is wrong for others might be exactly what you need to be doing.

As easy as possible

When it comes to the things we do in our day to day life, I think it’s important to make it as easy as possible.

If you want to read more, have a book on your bedside table instead of tighly slotted into your bookshelf.

If you want to spend more time with friends, make plans in advance instead of getting frustrated that they aren’t available with short notice.

If you want to drink more water, fill up a water bottle and keep it with you wherever you go instead of waiting until you’re thirsty.

A big part of changing your habits and the way you live your life comes from making a conscious effort not simply wishing you could be different.

Not enough time

One of the most popular excuses people make is not having enough time.

Yet you’re able to make time for things that you don’t even really consider to be important.

Meanwhile, it’s your life long dream that you’re willing to put on hold or sometimes put off altogether.

There’s no denying that it can be difficult to make time but surely you’d be willing to find a way for the things you truly care about.

Finding a way might mean getting up a little earlier, watching one episode of that show you like instead of three or even making use of your train journeys.

It might seem challenging but with a little thought and a little effort, it’s definitely possible to make the most of the time you have.

Two types of perfectionists

When you think of a perfectionist, what comes to mind?

Almost every time it’s the type A personality who is incredibly organised and competitive. The sort of person who is particular and also explicit about wanting to get things right.

But there is a different kind of perfectionist too.

The second is the sort of person that procrastinates and fears their best will never be good enough.

Beneath the surface they seek perfectionism too. They have such high expectations that they won’t even try if they think they can’t meet them. This sort of person feels disappointed if they produce something that isn’t ‘perfect’.

The difference between these 2 people is that the first is willing to try.

Slowly building

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither were helpful habits.

If you want to start reading more, getting up at 6am every morning, eating more nourishing food or committing to your creative projects, one day won’t make a difference on it’s own.

It’s a series of days, one by one, bit by bit that make the real difference.

One day isn’t enough to build a habit but that’s where things start. That one day will become 30 days and then 90 until that thing you’ve been doing each day is now part of your daily routine.

When you’re getting started, it’s worth remembering that change takes time. Don’t be disappointed after 3 days if you don’t feel like it, your brain is still getting used to your new way of doing things. Instead focus on it one day at a time and remember that you’re working towards something long-term.

And on days when you don’t feel like practicing your new habit, it won’t matter in the short-run but in the long run you’ll probably be glad you committed to it.