The common expression "Old Habits Die Hard" is a sad but unacknowledged truth. But have you noticed that it says hard not impossible?
Changing, developing or even eliminating a habit is one of the many FREE ways to better not only yourself, but your business too. I kid you not.
Once you summon all your might to actually do something, then you will. I mean you've intentionally clicked on this post to see how you can better yourself, and while yes, that's a first initial step don't ever underestimate it. You wanting to expand your mind and venturing ways of adopting positive habits is a BIG virtue so you definitely should applaud yourself for this, even if you just intended on skimming through. But if you read on...
I promise to offer you CONCRETE advise, not just the fluff and your typical motivational poster type things.
I've consistently struggled with two things: both in my personal life and in my henna career and just wanted to develop positive habits to harness both respectively.
IN MY PERSONAL LIFE:
Like most girls, I have struggled with my weight and body image issues my entire life. I was like a YO-YO, going from one extreme to another: so I was either too fat or too thin. There was no in between. At my highest I weighed 78 kg (171 lbs) and at my lowest I was 52 kg (114 lbs) - do you see how extreme that is? I was anemic for most of my adult life, in and out of hospitals to get blood and iron transfusions because they were abnormally low. About 3 months ago, I've decided that I need to change this especially that I haven't had health insurance in Canada for a while and didn't want to break the bank since I knew for a fact I'll be repeatedly in need of a doctor or consultation. I had to get rid of this problem once and for all.
So I joined Best Body Bootcamp and it had a very smart strategy where basically you place a deposit or bet of $600 against yourself to reach a specific goal in 6 weeks. The program offered you two goal options and I opted for "losing 10 kg (20 lbs)" for my round at the bootcamp. If I've managed to stick to my goal, my money would be paid back in FULL! And I thought that since I've paid, I would actually have a sound incentive to do it.
I literally had to get up at 5.00 am, 3 days a week to make it to class on time and had to calculate and account for every single thing I ate to report it back to the coaches. I was dreading going every single time but I always felt super great after.
But here's the twist, I actually did not lose the weight in time. I was EXTREMELY frustrated and didn't even bother going to class the last week justifying pointless excuses. However, here's the climax of it all. It actually got me to regularly work out completely on my own and even eat healthy too! I couldn't believe it, but that routine actually worked. Gone are the days of me craving that chocolate dessert or even that extra order of fries. The program worked and I realized it was money really well spent. I also actually utilize my work out time for listening to podcasts. I switched out work out music to informational podcasts that helped cultivate my brain and expand my knowledge in every which way. So it was a transformation for my body, health and brain.
IN MY BUSINESS:
As a henna artist, I always tended to hide behind the shadows of much more fashioned artists by; replicating their designs, styles and techniques. I developed such a bad habit of asking clients to bring me photos of work they wanted me to replicate, rather than offer my own designs. This completely suppressed my creative mind and made me even feel bad about myself that "I'll never be like other artists out there".
I've always compared my own work to other artists and see the massive difference of how amazing their work looked compared to mine, so I decided I'll just do what they do. This bogged down my ability to practice too. By not creating my own designs habitually, I was just cast behind other artist's work. If I wanted to season myself as a professional henna artist then I really needed to act like one. So I needed to develop a habit of practicing and creating my own work.
I decided to start off small. I printed a few hand template pages and devoted to this task just once a week for about 10 - 15 minutes. That was literally it. Not even a whole episode of a show on Netflix. Bit by bit, I picked it up. Once a week became twice a week, then thrice, then four, then you can see where I'm going with this. Now it's become a part of my daily routine. Everyday when I wake up, I gulp down a bowl of sugarless cereal (yes, I eat sugarless cereal now even with dried up fruit), switch on a podcast and draw for an hour before my day even starts. This honed my skill as an artist, gave me more to showcase in my portfolio and allowed me to develop my own sense of henna style rather than copying off other henna artists (don't worry, I ALWAYS give credit where it's due, I've never plagiarized).
I know I gave you a long back story about my experience on this, but I promised you I'd give you solid advise didn't I? SO JUST READ ON MY FRIEND...
It's been said that it takes 21 days to form a habit, yet that technique has never worked for me. I could never get myself devoted to something 21 days consistently. 21 days doesn't sound like a lot in theory, but it was actually very difficult in practicality. So here are the proven recommended ways that worked for me that developed good habits and got rid of the bad ones once and for all.
1) WRITE THEM DOWN
I know this seems obvious, but it's actually VERY effective. Having a task sheet in front of you that shows you what you want to develop and eliminate will be like an annoying alarm but it will undeniably trigger and rewire your brain without even noticing. Most important aspect, is that you need to align those with concrete values by asking "why?". Again sounds simple but actually quiet effective.
So let's say for example here's a habit you want to develop:
Waking up early
So I can get more work done
To improve my time management
So I can devote more time to my family
And there you have it. By getting to the root of why you want to develop or eliminate a habit, you get a much more meaningful value to why you wanted to do it in the first place. This is truly impactful because now you fully understand why it actually resonates with you.
2) INTRODUCE IT IN SMALL PORTIONS
This strategy actually works! If you inject something in your daily routine gradually, it creeps in slowly, becoming a habit. So for example, let's say you have a goal of drinking 1 litre of water a day. Would it be more realistic to drink it all in one sitting or distribute it evenly out during the course of the day? My guess is you chose the latter.
Invoking a habit in your day, week or even month slowly and realistically will make you more likely to adopt it and less likely to actually feel guilty that you're not doing it. This guilt will actually fester into something negative which will shut you off from that task all together completely. If you correlate that goal as a "chore" and develop a mindset of "I'll get around to it eventually", you're SO MUCH more inclined to actually not do it or even pick it up as a habit. But if you incur it bit by bit, you'll grow a liking to it slowly but surely.
3) FOCUS ON ONE HABIT AT A TIME
Don't overwhelm yourself by too many things you want to change. This will totally backfire. If too much is changing you are super vulnerable to resist and give up on the habits all together. If you overflow a plant with too much water it might actually die rather than grow faster.
Treat yourself the same way. I actually recommend to start with the smaller goals rather than the big ones. This perfectly aligns with the previous point; which is introducing the habits in small portions. This should be the same strategy with the type of habits you either want to develop or eliminate.
There you have it lovely readers! Here are the things you gotta do:
Write your intended habits with concrete values in mind
Introduce it into your daily regimen in small pieces
Focus on one habit at a time so you don't overwhelm yourself and steer away from this tactic completely