With the new year, we are all looking at our resolutions and deciding if we’re going to keep them.
The first question to ask though is did you turn it into a goal or is it still a dream?
Deadlines, Mile Markers, and Destinations
With these goals, did you just say work out more? Or say that you wanted to do 30 minutes a day–which is 10,980 minutes this year. Scary number right? Think about how it’ll feel when you say that you did that at the end of the year?
Mile markers in goals are the greatest thing because I get to check off the boxes. I really get a thrill from marking them off and saying, yes I did that. This year I made a goal of writing 1000 words a day. I made a plan to have 366,000 words written by December 31st. #leapyear
I was reading (or listening) to a thing by Hal Elrod about how he got himself into running more regularly. He set a daily goal–run one mile– and then a overall goal. Basically, as long as he did the one mile a day, he’d reach the overall goal easily.
The nice thing about this was that he could always catch up on a missed day. Or do a little bit extra for a week, to get back on track. There was no ‘throwing out the plan’ because one day was missed. It was all about getting back on the horse.
Isn’t it nice to not come up with a complicated plan and just follow it.
I really like how Hal Elrod in The Miracle Morning broke down the way we add habits to out lives, that there are three stages to it where we sometimes just have to get through. He talks about the traditional advice of how it takes 21 days to make a habit. And how it is really 30 to get it to stick.
The first phase of any habit is the unbearable stage–the first ten days– of doing something new are when it’s all awkward, you are off your beat, and you look like my nephew learning to walk. Cute on a toddler, but not so much on a grown-up.
Days 11-20 are uncomfortable stage, this is where you know what you’re doing mostly, but you still don’t like it. In yoga, you’re still falling over when you can’t get your balance and you regularly think about just staying down on the floor.
The last ten days of the first month of a new habit are when you catch your stride. This is the unstoppable phase. You can hold that pose in yoga. You can run that mile. You’re not totally sure that you like it, but you do feel the influence of that new habit and like the results.
Your mile markers are a destination, they are place to stop and assess if you really are getting what you need out of your habits.
I made a goal of writing a 1000 words a day this year. As of yesterday I was at 9777, which means that I’m halfway behind. My excuse is that I really should have bought myself that wireless keyboard for Christmas and I’d been where I want to be.
How do I know that?
Because I bought one last Wednesday, when I realized not having one was the problem (well it was that or replace my desk and this was cheaper) and my writing went from 4675 to that in four days. In fact, all of those days besides Sunday, I wrote more than I was required because I wanted to, I was on a roll and well, the characters were talking and I’m not about to stop them. I know better.
Now is the time to start.
Start where you are, when you are, how you are. Take your current state and dream big. Go for the final bit.
Break it down into the small steps.
Five minutes at a time if you need it. (Note: You do need it).
Make a tracker for the things you do and check off those boxes. Trust me, that highlighter slash through a done thing is such a nice feeling. Try it with something you’ve already done and mark it done. I’m right aren’t I?
Find something this week that you can add into your life, just a little thing. I suggest drinking enough water (half your body weight in ounces) and you might already see the changes. Sure, you’re going to have a few days to adjust to the new habit, but you’ll feel it about day three. That clean feeling under your skin. Then once you’re good at doing that, add something else.
I’m pretty certain I’ll be talking about habit stacking next. The linking one habit to another so that it becomes an autopilot so you get it done without having to remember to do it. Or I might start talking about your ‘start’ routine. You know, that morning routine thing that everyone that is a lark talks about. We’ll see which one I finish and like first.
Take care of yourself.
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