I was talking to a client recently who was disappointed in the amount of exercise they were managing each day. She has recently recovered from a serious illness and is keen to get back into shape, yet the duration of exercise she was able to achieve had left her disappointed. In my eyes, this is a great problem to have and she’s actually doing incredibly well. The most important part of building a new habit is staying consistent. It doesn’t matter how well you perform on any given day. The consistent effort is what makes the real difference. She was already winning.
Why? Because they say habits are hard to break, but the same goes for creating them in the first place – particularly the good habits. The ones that will improve our lives often take discipline, because they don’t always provide a short-term fix or instant gratification. Instead, they are forming part of a longer term goal that we want to see to fruition. This takes dedication and work.
The person that wants to write a novel, needs to get into the habit of finding time to write each day, even if it’s only a paragraph. The book won’t appear in one day, but the habit will get them to where they need to go. The person that wants to run a marathon won’t be able to do it after one run, but building the habit running a little each day will help them get where they need to go!
So how can we start putting some good habits in place and sticking to them?
- Start simple. Start your new desired habit small and simple so it’s impossible to say no to. Set yourself up for success. If you want to be a runner, start by getting yourself into your running gear a few mornings a week and getting out there. The distance means nothing, the act of doing will help build a positive, long term habit.
- Eliminate triggers. Know thyself is key here. Understanding what has held you back in the past: what objections or roadblocks you foresee in advance will help you plan around them. Better yet, remove the barriers before you begin.
- Bounce Back. Be kind and don’t judge yourself harshly when you slip up. Slipping up on your habits isn’t a failure. It’s normal. What separates top performers is that they get back on track quickly. Have a plan for when you fail as to how you will bounce back and get back on track.
Forming good habits is the ground work for any long term goal or objective. It’s not easy, but nothing as working mothers you have done so far is! You have got it in you to do anything you set your mind to, just remember to focus on the consistency rather than the results and you’ll see your habits develop and your outcomes blossom. Don’t set yourself up to fail. Start small – bounce back when needed.