In this short BLOG I'm sharing a slide from session 2 of my course 'Mindfulness and Emotional Resilience', where we focus on habits. I'm doing this because I am currently using this process to begin a habit of more frequent online sharing and blog writing. this is week 1 for me and I hope it inspires you to begin a new habit today.
1. STOP judging yourself with ‘shoulds and needs’ (use the STOP technique) and develop a loving attitude to your new habit
I believe that self judgement is our worst enemy in the creation of a habit. If we use excessive 'shoulds and needs' then we are using fear to motivate. This is a primitive and short lived motivator that will only make the bait feel heavy and stressful. Your willpower will give way. Instead try and address those 'shoulds and needs' using a tool, like the STOP technique (which we teach on the course) and develop a positive and purposeful attitude towards your actions. As Tony Robbins says: "use inspiration not desperation!"
2. Take time to consider why first, then what, when, where. Write it down
The book 'Start with Why' by Simon Sinek details how developing a clear WHY allows you to be selective of the advice you take on board. You need to make sure that WHAT and HOW you do things is consistent with your WHY. A WHY provides a filter for decision making which differentiates his quote: “Achievements comes when you pursue and attain WHAT you want. Success comes when you are clear in pursuit of WHY you want it.
3. Reduce the amount to its minimal - start with tiny steps. One habit at a time. You can increase and habit stack later
I learned a lot from Seth Godin , author of 'The One Thing' who reminds me "The hardest move in Yoga is rolling out the mat'. In other words the starting energy is the difficult bit. So make it small, REALLY small. You can gradually improve and the early habit can act as a sequence starter that you can stack more habits onto.
4. Share publicly and/or with an accountability buddy / contract
We have a brain that is constantly worrying about what others think of us, and is trying to be efficient with resources. Use it to your advantage - include others to check on you and include a contract to make it have consequences, if you like that My contract uses Stikk to add a financial consequence if I don't stick to the habit!
5. Place positive triggers (notifications, posters, images, props) at home/on phone. Remove negative ones.
I find it so helpful to have my trainers out ready if I'm intending on going for a run and I also like to record a positive association reminder on my phone and/or YouTube (and recite it daily ) to keep my intention in mind. I have removed distractions from my phone and environment and I continue to do this as an ongoing process. For me my calendar provides the most useful prompts.
6. At the end of the day review how your commitment went well
Make the pattern pleasurable and purposeful by adding rewards and self celebration. I find the end of the day a great time to do this as it puts my mind into a positive place before bed time. We humans are great at denying our achievements. Stop it! Celebrate yourself!
7. If you don’t manage it one day activate your inner curious compassion. Journal about what stopped you, how you feel and what you imagine. Begin this list again...
We are imperfect - you will fail. That is good. It shows you are trying and discovering the blocks. This is a time to really become fascinated with the blocks and use the techniques I teach to help you. These seven steps are an iterative process - I repeat them to refine my habits.
Can I help you to start a new habit? I currently have a group beginning a habit of meditation and journaling. I can work with you one-to-one or in a group (new ones coming soon). Please get in touch to find out more.
Neil Morbey is a meditation teacher, group facilitator and inspiration guide for Positively-Mindful.com