How are those New Year Resolutions going? Have you abandoned them already or have they become habits?
My New Year is off to a rough start and I didn’t make resolutions. I made a promise to adopt habits. I want to improve my health and fitness as well as some new productivity habits for the business.
Last year I loaded my online scheduler app to my phone. After every massage, when someone rebooked, I consciously reminded myself to schedule through the app. This small habit changed my stress level. Prior to loading the app, I would put it on my calendar then have to come home and get online and schedule it through the on line scheduler. Often times, someone would have booked online and now the appointment I had promised someone was on longer available. Or I would forget to do it each night and then schedule two people for the same time. I had lots of errors, mistakes and stress. But by making this change in the way I did things, creating a habit, I have eliminated most of this problem.
This is why I am talking about habits instead of resolutions.
A habit is an action you do automatically in response to your environment. Webster’s defines habit as an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary.
A resolution is defined as the act of determining.
Studies indicate that it takes anywhere from 21 days to 66 days to form new habits. But as with everything it is not that simple.
First you have to identify your goal. You have to set a tangible goal. As with my example above, I wanted to eliminate the extra step in coming home and scheduling and the potential scheduling conflicts. Goals could be doing paperwork consistently and in a timely manner so that it does not take a day to complete or making better choices when it comes to food so that you are reducing calories or exercising regularly or regular massage sessions.
Next you need to create environmental triggers. Paperwork trigger could be instead of piling it up, setting aside 20 minutes each morning or evening and tackling the paperwork. When offered a sweet, choose a fruit instead. Instead of watching television you go for a walk first. Instead of thinking about scheduling your massage appointment, you do it and then rescheduling before leaving massage office. This connects the action you want to adopt with activities you already do regularly.
And last rewards. Don’t motivate yourself with rewards. Use them to help you enjoy your habits. Rewards when used properly help to create habits. They need to be large enough to create good feelings that you associate with the desired action. Such as after finishing the paperwork each day you remember that you now won’t have to dedicate a day of leisure to the activity. You are free to plan a day of fun for the day you would have spent tackling paperwork. You have chosen to have a salad instead of carbohydrates and after the meal you check how much better you feel immediately. Now when offered birthday cake, you can indulge in a small helping knowing you are making better choices every day and the occasional will not be your downfall. After the massage, the feeling of relaxation and the better sleep you have. You will be investing an hour in yourself care.
So with all of this information, I am resolving to create better habits in my life and business. I am a little late this year but it is never too late to get started on bettering yourself. Join me. We can hold each other accountable.
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. - Aristotle