Sticking with new habits

Lifestyle changes only occur when those changes fit and stick to what you are already doing. A new habit needs a buddy other than your mates, co-workers, or family. Those relationships are already sufficiently complicated without adding more into the mix. Your habit buddy is simply a tactic that works by encouraging your new but timid habit to buddy up with an existing but more experienced one. Long term success is yours when you realise that it is not you having to stick to the new habit rather it is you finding how to make that new habit stick to you.

Example: SQUATS. I wanted to increase my stability while shooting arrows in the wind. I specifically researched how improved glute strength and knee agility would assist my power stance while drawing my bow. I needed to buddy up this new good habit of bodyweight squats with the well established but boring good habit of brushing my teeth. In the beginning, I did not count repetitions rather I just worked the trigger of toothpaste with playing of peek-a-boo in the mirror. It only took three days before the new habit was automatically triggered by the existing habit.  RESULTS: After 10 days, my shooting stance felt more solid and after 21 days my other asset felt more solid too. It’s been 45 days and the habit is truly stuck.

To make your new habit buddies:

Step 1:  decide on a new but boring good habit with a full understanding of why it will be good for you.

Step 2:  choose one of those pre-existing 10,000 good but boring habits you are already doing.

Step 3:  start mixing in and matching up until something feels ok together.

This buddy up tactic has made my morning routine more healthy in small but simple ways, such as: repeating my morning mantra with belly breathing while the kettle is boiling – I am groggy but can remember my 3 magic words to start the day at peace; taking 5 minutes to sip my morning coffee and write/design/scribble in my journal before any electronic device is allowed to interfere with my dreamlike brainstorming – coffee in one hand, pencil in the other; and, in my attempts at oil pulling while bed making and bedroom tidying – this still new but feeling very smug and accomplished about doing it.

I encourage you to simply experiment with new and old good habits that will stick together. Size and intellectual depth does not matter but timing and mutual boredom will bond well. They do not need to have a great romance – rather let your habit buddies develop a co-existing loyalty to improve your well being and your personal assets.

Posted in KQ