Do you remember few months ago when 2019 started, we were all super motivated with our new resolutions: I am gonna sleep more, drink less, eat healthier, buy less stuff, spend more time with my friends… How many of them are you still doing today? We all want to improve ourselves and set up goals to make our life better. So why is it so easy to give up?
You can find so many tools on internet which tell you if you follow the steps it is going to work, like a magical recipe. Honestly those rules are not exact science and cannot work on everybody because we are all different. It is really important to find what works the best for you and to do so, you need to experience and educate yourself.
I am not really good at changing habits because I do not have a strong self-discipline but I love challenges. Here are few advice I can share with you, little tricks that have been working for me so far. But first of all grab a pen and a notebook, you have some writing to do!
The importance of writing things down
Writing down ideas, goals or projects is primordial for their realization. But I am not talking about using a sticky note or paper sheet you are gonna lose, I am talking about a notebook or journal you can have easily access to, to read them whenever you need.
I was like you when my friend told me for the first time to write my goals down, very sceptical: “What does it change? I do not need to put those on a piece of paper, everything is in my brain!”. And you see, that is the tricky part because those are just thoughts, nothing specific. Writing them down will help you to visualize them to make it more real. It will also help you prioritize on what you should focus on, instead of having it all mix up because you have to much going on in your brain and taking the risk to forget half of them.
This is the first step and most importante part. You need to have a strong motivation otherwise it is going to be very difficult to achieve. Once you wrote down the bad habits you want to change or new ones you want to add to your life, ask yourself why and write the reason. Let say you want to lose weight, what is the reason? is it because your actual weight makes you get tired real fast and you don't like not being in shape? or is it because someone told you you look too curvy?
Are you doing it for yourself or just because it is what you are “supposed” to do? Changing just to please someone else or to do the same thing as others will not help.
Recently, I decided to change my morning routine which was having breakfast in front of a tv show. There is nothing wrong with that until I realized it made me start my day tired and not really motivated. If I read, listen to music or work while having breakfast, it makes me start my day with way more energy than watching tv on my sofa.
Is it realistic
The second step is to make sure you can actually achieve them, otherwise let me tell you it is a waste of time and it might break your motivation, when you realize you cannot be successful at it. If they are unrealistic but you really really want to make them happen, then find a solution to the problem (even though it means changing other part of your lifestyle):
One of my goal is to wakeup everyday at 6.30am because I want to watch the sunrise and have more time for myself during the day. Unfortunately I do not sleep well so waking up early when you had only few hours of sleep was too difficult. I had to find first a solution to sleep better: 10 min of meditation before going to bed works like magic. Since meditation is new to me I really have to force myself to practice daily, so I can sleep better and wake up earlier. Do you see what I mean? You might have sometimes to create a habit to be able to work on another one.
Consistency & Self-Discipline
And of course the last step and most difficult one: daily routine! Consistency is the key to set up any new habits, you HAVE to do them everyday so it can become natural. Of course at the beginning you will forget or be too lazy but do not give up. Force yourself even if you are not motivated to do it and stop looking for excuses. You will be tempted to go against those good habits you are setting up, just don't. Temptation is like a bad craving, but it goes away after a few minutes… You are stronger than your brain! If not, trick yourself:
When I want to wake up early I put my phone far away from my bed so I have to get out of my bed to turn off the alarm. If I leave my phone close to me so it reachable from my bed, I turn off the alarm and fall back asleep.
Organization and scheduling
I found out planning your day in advance helps a lot to make some of your new habits a success. You do not have to be as organized as business man but just scheduling your day when you wake up will have a huge impact on your routine.