Today I have a special treat for you! My friend, Cori Casner from Planned Preoccupation, has agreed to share her process for ingraining new habits into her repertoire. With her process, she has reached her goals, repeatedly, and she’s going to share her process with us today. Here’s…Cori!
Do you want to retire early; attend a meditation retreat; or learn to play an instrument? But are you overwhelmed by the idea of doing any of these things because you don’t have a 401K plan; never sit still for more than a minute; or own a kazoo? And does it make matters worse that you found time to binge watch Black Mirror, but didn’t have time to walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes? I’m right there with you, but with a little Planned Preoccupation I’ve found a way to make a change.
In the last 2 years I have used the following process to build 10 habits that align with the lofty goals I have for my life.
Identify your lofty goals
First things first, figure out what you want so you can build a plan for getting there. I wanted to give concerted effort to figuring out my passion in life. Honestly, I didn’t even know what that meant the first time I wrote it down, but I knew I couldn’t figure it out if I kept up my same old routine. Even if your goals are vague, they take on significance once you put pen to paper.
Brainstorm small changes
Another lofty goal of mine is to lead a healthy lifestyle. To me that means being fit enough to walk for miles at theme parks, and managing my stress. The first habits I developed were adding more veggies to my diet and practicing daily meditation because those were small, healthy changes.
Commit to a small change for 66 days
I use HabitBull to track my habits and their system defaults to a 66 day challenge. It’s more than enough time for a habit to become ingrained in your daily routine. It also gives you time to experiment. When I first started tracking my daily spending I tried out a lot of online resources until I settled on a Google Sheet that I could access from my phone or laptop.
And their Target Reached pop-up is oddly satisfying!
Create an action plan
I love reading, watching movies, and learning new things. When I tackle a new habit I tie it to things I already want to do. For my random acts of kindness habit my action plan included reading books on philanthropy; watching the Billions in Change documentary; and watching Ted Talks On Generosity.
If you can connect your new habit to things you enjoy it will keep you motivated and give you a new perspective on your goals.
Give yourself an incentive
The health and wellness benefits you get from adopting good habits is enough of a reward for some people. For me, I need a little extra push to stay on track. For my minimalist habit we implemented the KonMari method. Our incentive for finishing was a monthly cleaning service at our new house! That kept us motivated even when the steps in the process got really hard.
A lesson that I’ve learned from following this process is the end game isn’t to build a routine that you do day-in-day-out for the rest of your life. We’re trying to change our default mindset. I don’t drink green smoothies for breakfast every day, like I did when I was first building the habit. But now, when I have a busy morning with no time to think I default to a green smoothie, where before I would’ve eaten a pop-tart.
Armed with a clear goal; small habit; timeline; action plan; and incentive you’re ready to give it a shot. So let’s quit talking and starting doing.
The next habit I want to develop is rowing! Please share your new habit in the comments below, and if you’re looking for an accountabilibuddy you can find me over at the Captivated by Curiosity Accountability Group on Facebook.
This is a guest blog post written by Cori Casner, creator of Planned Preoccupation. Personal development, one habit at a time.