HOw to Start Adding & Replacing habits for your personal achievement and professional success

Brands who invest resources in their personal development are the most successful. Those that succeed in life take the time to develop good habits. A strong foundation will help you overcome roadblocks and barriers to success. Good habits also fuel the will power and motivation needed for achievement. Let's do it!

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Which Habit Needs Your Attention

Choose the habit to cultivate. It's time to get focused on the one habit that will yield you the greatest ROI. Or think about it this way, which habit costs you the most? For me, procrastination seems to be my nemesis. When I place my attention on thwarting the habit of putting things off, that yields the greatest return on my investment.

TIP: Make a list of the top 3 habits that need your attention. Start with the habit of most resistance and work your way down. Measure the impact on your life after each one.

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The 21-Day Commitment 

Make the commitment to yourself before you get started. Commit to giving one habit at a time, your undivided attention. Well, maybe not undivided...I know that's tough. The point is that it takes time to move a habit from an idea to an auto-pilot action. You must be diligent to master this habit to make it your foundation. It is also important to develop your determination muscle in order overcome distractions and those stronger habits of self sabotage.

Note: To thwart my procrastination habit, I immediately jump into action in order to complete tasks. The 5-Second Rule as described in Mel Robbins Ted Talk defines is as:

If you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must physically move within seconds or your brain will kill it. The moment you feel an instinct or a desire to act on a goal or a commitment, use the 5 second rule.  If you do not take action on your instinct to change, you will stay stagnant.

Here is the full Ted Talk below if you have can invest 21 minutes right now to learn more.

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Partner the Habit to Your Healthy Habit Family

Habits perform better when they are linked to other habits that reinforce the hold. Associating new habits with related already established habits, will increase the probability of becoming permanent. What does this look like? Here are two examples: If your intention is to take vitamins regularly before going to bed, then you may want to put your pill box near your toothbrush. 

A habit becomes strong when you have built a solid foundation for it.

I partnered 3 apps in my phone;  my To-do list with, the alarm and my calendar, to ensure I am getting due-date reminders as well as notification of priorities.

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It's a Marathon, Not a Race

Habits take time to form. It often takes time to permanently replace a bad habit too. Habits that don't serve you well must be eliminated, we know that. We must also understand that it will take an investment to bring good habit to the forefront. It can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days for a person to form a new habit and an average of 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic.

There’s no one-size-fits-all figure, which is why this time frame is so broad; some habits are easier to form than others, and some people may find it easier to develop new behaviors.There’s no right or wrong timeline. The only timeline that matters is the one that works best for you.

Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse, suggests that the first step is to become more aware of your habits so you can develop strategies to change them.

Here's what it looks like in real life...If you want get moving more by walking. If your goal for example is to walk 10K steps per day, you don't start with 10K steps. Rather, you start with something feasible, more realistic 3 days per week after dinner. Over the next 21 days you will build up to 10K per day.

Tip: Here is an article, Breaking Habits, Why It's So Hard to Change that you may find interesting.

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Set It & Release It

If there are tasks that can be automated, make your life easier and do so. Trust me take some time and automate everything related to your new habit. 

Here is what it looks like: If your goal is to build your credit, you will want to pay your bills on time or earlier than the due date. You can certainly automate your payments. If this is not an option, set auto reminders, sticky notes and digital methods to help you get this habit  on a regular schedule, it won't be long before it is understood and expected that you pay your bills when or before due.

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Be Ready For The Nonsense

Prepare yourself for drama. Undoubtedly, you will have roadblocks, barriers and setbacks. My son often tells me to "stay ready so I have don't have to get ready." Have contingency plans for probable roadblocks. 

Consider the following in your preparedness plan:

The most important thing is to plan ahead for things that may get in the way of making your new habit permanent. Make plans to overcome each obstacle. 

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Conduct Regular Checkins

I am sure that you are familiar with S.M.A.R.T. Goals. They apply to your habit goals too. Be sure they are specific, make sure that you are clear about exactly what you want? Are your goals measurable so you can know when you're on pace to achievement? Or offtrack and need to make adjustments.

Is this new habit attainable? Is it something doable? How realistic is your habit? Can you do it? Have you seen others do it? Have you set timely expectations. Give yourself enough time to make the change. It may take longer than 21 days, prepare and reevaluate often.

 

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Celebrate the Small Wins

Don't underestimate the power of positive reinforcement. Do yourself a favor, pay it forward by setting up rewards for each milestone. Positive reinforcement reinforces what you're doing right rather than concentrating on what you're doing wrong.  

Positive reinforcement increases the likelihood that the behavior will be repeated. The more you do the behavior the more you will solidify your habit.  It also supports your positive deeds through enthusiasm, encouragement, and natural, logical rewards. Bring a partner and get twice the reward. There's some motivation for ya!

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Embrace the New You

You are the brand of you, celebrate your new habits with excitement and pride. You did it! 

Maybe you still haven't done it, that OK. Remember, it a marathon not a race. The hardest part of implementing a new habit is getting your mind right. You must engage in the mindset that is conducive to your success. 

It may be helpful to think about the triggers that cause you to revert to old habits. If jumping all in to create ew habits, perhaps it would easier to slow-walk this process. Let's take baby-steps. Rather than start anew, how about replacing a bad habits with a better one? 

What this looks like: The best example, I can think of at the moment are smokers who replace the after dinner with cigarette with chewing gum. Combat possible triggers by requesting to sit in the non-smoking section. Get an accountability partner who will remind and encourage you to resist the urges. 

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Make It Real In Your Mind

Visualize your new habit with all the benefits that come from it. Be mindful of how you conduct yourself, move as if you have achieved your goals already. For me, I carry a planner in bag, I have apps on my phone and I have tools on my laptop that work together to keep me on track. I partner my personal habits with my business need to make a seamless experience. I walk, talk and behave like a person who gets tasks done. People describe me as a do-er. This reinforces the expectations for myself and thereby motivating me to make it real. 

Affirm it...name it..say it. Share your new habit, your journey and your outcomes below. I'd love to hear your story and all about your new identity. 


Callahan
Callahan

Andrea Callahan inspires passionate & purpose-driven brands to maximize their strengths to craft an image that represents their WHY, and then use that WHY to position themselves as Industry Influencers; who share experiences that attract their Ideal Buyers. Callahan is a speaker, seminar leader, and the author of, "It's Your Brand ~ Make Your Identity Clear." Callahan is also the principal brand manager @ACIagency, a high-end boutique, integrated-marketing agency, specializing in helping locally-owned brands share their WHY.

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