Why do we do what we do? We do what we do based on our conditioning (our everyday default), our choices, and consequences from the choices we make. Our everyday habits dictate our choices so without a strong default, we won’t get far in the way of making a new habit stick. When I look at the habits in my life I’ve been able stick with over time, I notice three consistent attributes. Three decisions in regard to clarity, consistency and community that have created each habit to become present in my life more days than not. The amount of energy and commitment we bring can turn one decision into a habit and change our conditioning or everyday default to support the habit long-term. What does it take?
CLARITY. Getting crystal clear on what we want and more importantly why we want to add a habit to our life is critical to it’s lifespan. Gaining clarity on why we want to start a new morning routine or workout or eat healthier or be more present with our partner or our kids, is ours to determine. It can’t be because somebody else thinks it’s a good idea. The decision to start must come from within us and from our own personal vision of the value it will bring to our life. The potential reward or outcome needs to be greater than the discomfort of getting there. In this same place will be the fuel we need for the days when we feel like we want to quit.
CONSISTENCY. The second decision and often the biggest struggle for most is with consistency. Consistency is king and will determine the choice we make for next time, it will determine if there will be a next time. Too often we try to do everything from A-Z, all at once. We set ourselves up to fail before we get started. Here’s the secret, go for the low hanging fruit first! Start simple, get consistent with one thing at a time before you add another. Go for a small win every single day. One small consistent change will breed another and another and long-term you will be able to make greater impact.
COMMUNITY. Last and most certainly not least, with whom will you share your plans? We don’t grow and thrive alone in solitude. We need community to move from where we are to where we want to go. Who will be there to support you, cheer you on, join you on the journey? When we share out loud and engage with someone who can help hold us accountable, it take us from idea to action.
What do you want to make a habit this year? Start where you are right now, use what you have and work what you know–one small step at a time. Seek the small win as you begin working toward that one thing that matters to you. Our decisions impact the quality of our life and as the wise words of Aristotle remind us, “We become what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”