I don’t believe I have an addictive personality which is why I think I sometimes have trouble understanding why people find it hard to break a bad habit. Stop poisoning yourself, I say to my friend, the heavy smoker, exasperated, as she suffers from yet another chest infection.
However, what I’ve learnt since being self employed is how difficult it can be for me to form new habits even when they are good for me! And it dawned on me this morning that maybe I have the same affliction as my friend, only in reverse! Aagh!! Does this mean that my inability to create good habits could even be as damaging to me, as my friend’s smoking habit is to her health? Maybe…. Potentially…. Eek!
15 minutes per day can change your life!
The good habit I’m trying to form is writing for 15 minutes each morning. I read an article recently by John Gannon* and he suggests, persuasively, that writing for 15 minutes each morning is life-changing for him. When he wakes, he gives thanks for what he has in life, then he grabs a coffee and writes about anything he can think of. Finally, he writes down 10 ideas, crazy ones, sensible ones, ideas for other people, all sorts. What I understood from his article is that when you write first thing you are unencumbered by what the day has thrown at you and your words are coming straight from your heart. So, as long as you didn’t have an argument with the coffee machine or trip over the dog on the way to your pen and paper, you should be set up to write something special!
I’m NOT a morning person!
Now, for a long time, I’ve also believed that I’m not a morning person. I used to joke that it would be so much better if I held my sales meetings in the evening (preferably in the pub!) because once I’d put in a day’s work, I had all the answers! I really didn’t believe that I had much to say at 6.30am. After all, I can barely string a sentence together, in speech, at that time – just ask my husband!
However, I thought it would be fun to find out what kind of nonsense would come from my mind at stupid o’clock so last week I remembered to do the exercise, twice. And a strange coincidence happened; I wrote two blog posts! Woo hoo! My blog has been neglected for a month or so because I’ve been busy with other stuff so I was super chuffed to get not one but two posts published.
I also remembered to give thanks for waking up next to the love of my life, in my own home and for the unconditional love that I receive from Reuben, our English Springer Spaniel. I felt super grateful for all the wonderful new people I’ve met since my career change, 2 years ago, and for the brilliant clients that I have the privilege to help every day. Last but certainly not least, I gave thanks for my family and friends who continue to be beacons of light in my life. Some of them are going through some tough challenges right now and it’s fantastic to know that I can be there for them, as they have been for me in the past.
The ideas list was not such an overnight success. On day one, I wrote down just two ideas. Proof, I thought that I need the day’s input to produce anything worthwhile. But on day two I surprised myself by managing to create a list of ten. My sub-conscious mind must have been on my side that night!
So, you might be wondering why I started this piece whinging that I’m rubbish at forming new habits when I enjoyed some success last week? Well, so am I now actually! What I’d done was typical of a brand of self-sabotage that is so common. Today is Monday and I woke up remembering that I had forgotten to do my 15 minutes of writing over the weekend, even though I’d already accepted that it was a great idea that created results. I reprimanded myself. How could I have forgotten to do it when it’s such a good idea? How stupid is that? Nearly as stupid as continuing to smoke when you know it makes you ill! Then came the realisation – I could write, this morning, about how difficult it is to make a new habit, even when it’s a positive one with lots of benefits.
Wait, first of all I must give thanks. Ooh, I’m grateful for remembering that I forgot because now I can get back on track and share my experience to try and help you! 😉
In the writing up of this, I recognised several limiting beliefs that I have been lugging around and also spotted a fair bit of negative self-talk. How shocking! I’m the most positive and confident person around!
Get back on your horse!
It would have been so easy not to write this morning once I’d realised that I’d fallen off the wagon. As easy as it is for a smoker to give up giving up because they weakened and had a drag of a mate’s ciggie. Easier to fail quietly and hope nobody notices. I grew up falling off ponies, on a regular basis, though, so I know that you must always get back on and the sooner the better!
So even though I got back on this morning to give myself a telling off, I’m actually glad I did. It’s really not so difficult after all to create a good habit! Good habits are hard to make but not impossible. Now for those 10 ideas….. 😉
Is there a good habit that you’re struggling to make? What is it? Do you recognise what the limiting beliefs are that are threatening to hold you back? Did you identify with the negative self-talk I described? Please comment below or get in touch to discuss it further.