Creating Sticky Habits in 2019 – Habits Part 1
Today we’re talking about habits. In fact, it’s Part 1 of a longer discussion on habits and the types of habits that all freelancers should have.
In Part 1 (today’s episode), we’re going to talk about how to create sticky habits. Part 2 will focus on the five habits every freelancer should have.
So, how do we make sticky habits this year?
First, habits don’t have to be massive changes that happen overnight. Often, the most impactful habits are the ones we build every day through small repeated actions. Small changes each day can lead to big ones in the long-run – similar to how compounding interest works in your finances.
The problem is that it can be really hard to make new habits stick. And one of the big reasons for this is because we don’t actually address the underlying issue that will anchor our new habits.
I like to think about that anchor as a target. Picture four concentric circles. The outer most circle represents our goals. The second circle represents the tasks necessary to reach those goals. The third circle is the processes and systems you put in place to accomplish those tasks. And, finally, the fourth circle – the bullseye – is your identity. The tricky part is that you have to have each layer in place to support the one outside of it. So, to gain any traction with your systems and processes, you have to first understand who you are and ensure everything else aligns with that.
One hack to help you build sticky habits is to use habit stacking. In other words, attach your habits to other activities. For example, let’s say you have a business goal of getting new leads, and the way you’re going to accomplish this is by reaching out out to new people online. You can attach this new activity to your existing morning habit stack. For me, this might look something like, I wake up, shower, get ready, go make tea, eat breakfast, meditate, and then I add in messaging two new leads to setup discovery calls. After doing this enough times, messaging new leads becomes a habit.
Another habit hack is accountability. If you have a goal or habit you want to build, tell it to someone close to you. Tell them what you hope to accomplish and ask them to keep you accountable. The feeling of letting people down is a strong deterrent from letting your goals fall by the wayside. I’ve done this myself with some of my fitness goals this year and am excited to see what I can accomplish.
“I like to think of habits as tiny gains, which means that I can do something small on a daily basis and it can make a big impact in the long-run.”
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- Don’t wait – small, daily, consistent actions lead to big changes in the long-run.
- Be -> Do -> Have – you have to understand who you are in order to support the rest of the layers (your systems, tasks, and goals).
- Habit stacking is a habit-building hack that works by building a sequence of habits that reminds you to do the next habit – each habit is a trigger for the next.
- Tell people about the habits you want to build so you have accountability.