Bring it on – I love change
So-so – I like the idea but don’t always carry through
Not for me – sticking to what I know is best
I fall into all three camps, which is a bit confusing – but I’m a Gretchen Rubin rebel (read on to find out more) so I’m used to holding contradictory beliefs at the same time. More important is the idea of self-awareness. Do you want to change a habit? Most of us do. Yet change is hard to make, and to sustain. There are several things you can do to help.
First, believe change is possible.
Our brains are wired as learning machines, neuroplasticity is for life not just for infancy. Where we put our focus is where we grow. So if you want to implement changes or new habits, you can have faith that your very human nature is backing you all the way.
Second, understand your own motivations.
I’m a huge fan of Gretchen Rubin, her four tendencies quiz has been revelatory for me – and for many of my clients. Try it out here The Four Tendencies Quiz. Once you know what drives you – be it internal or external, for yourself or for others – you will be better able to implement changes that last. As a rebel, my inner voice says: “you can’t make me, and neither can I.” I find it helps to focus on what sort of person I want to be, rather than trying to make myself do things. Understanding how you respond internally to change will help you to identify useful and supportive self-talk.
Third, find habit-building techniques that go with the grain, based on your new-found knowledge of your tendencies. Here are some ideas to try out.
- Habit stacking – bolt on something new to a habit you already have, for example cleaning your teeth PLUS neck stretches
- Batching – do similar tasks together e.g. process emails, writing tasks
- Time blocking – make time in your diary for activities, including personal ones such as going to the gym
- Eating the frog – Mark Twain said “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning” i.e. the easiest way to get the hardest thing done is DO IT FIRST!
- Pomodoro technique – odd name, great concept The Pomodoro Technique: set a timer for 25 minutes to work on a task, then take a 5 minute break
I love the time blocking – even if my rebel side allows me to move my time blocks all over the place (as long as I do them, who cares?!) And the Pomodoro is my new-found favourite, as I can commit to pretty much anything for 25 minutes… and often find I’m sufficiently absorbed to just keep going.
So, whatever your views, if there are new habits you’d like to create, see if any of these tips make it that little bit easier to implement the change you want.