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Develop a Routine Routine
Number 2: Develop a Routine You Can Stick With
Last time we talked about breaking down change-goals (or any goals) into manageable, bite-sized steps (Here). In this article we are focusing on taking these steps and building a routine around them, turning them into habits. Only when you can perform a desired change consistently can you make it a habit, an actual part of your daily life...hence: change.
The more good, consistent changes you can make in your life, the more good decisions you will make until it becomes second-nature to choose what is right. That is what we are all after. That is why you are reading this article. You desire some type of change(s) in your life and so you are making the time and effort to study some ideas.
I Think I Can, I Think I Can, I Think...
What we need to begin with is momentum. Once started, it is difficult to stop a train because of the momentum it has created. The same is true once you have started developing consistent change habits. Once you have the momentum going of performing daily tasks, moving them toward habit, you will begin to SEE the change and it will be difficult to stop you. However, like the train, getting started is the difficult part. That is exactly why at first you should concentrate on developing a simple routine you can daily and consistently put into practice.
Let’s use the apple and peanut butter as an example from the last article.
EAT the apple.
EAT the peanut butter.
DO IT as many times a week as you did the chocolate chip cookies. Eating them consistently per your schedule is better than shooting for five times a week and missing half of the five days because you didn’t schedule it and make it a habit.
Keep doing it. Do it until your routine turns into a habit.
This may be where tracking a routine comes in handy. If you are serious about change, then you cannot leave it to chance. I have already talked about scheduling your daily routines. Let’s take it one step further and talk about tracking your routines.
Tracking routines is nothing new. People have taught this and practiced this for a long time. You are probably well aware of Benjamin Franklin's tracking habits. However, like anything good for us, it bears being reminded of occasionally. If you follow this LINK you can download a tracking sheet I have prepared just for this article.
Simply write in the change-step you want to implement in the first cell then put a checkmark under each day you are successful in performing the routine. A simple checkmark does wonders for our motivation. Once you get a checkmark or two on the sheet, you won't want to miss a day and have a blank spot on your sheet!
In my next and final article on the subject, we will look at how to push through when you hit that proverbial ceiling and you think you can't get past a certain point.
The key? Water.
Look for my next article to find out what I mean.
Happy goal reaching!