You Realized What? A Secret About Habits

IMG_1313You have gotten clear about what you want to create in your life this year and in your creative practice, you have set some goals and today I am going to write about habits.

Our habits can make or break us in terms of reaching our goals. If we have habits that aren’t in our best interests than it will be much more difficult creating what we want in our lives.

I highly recommend reading “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. It’s a wonderful and in depth look that explains why habits exist and how they can be changed. What I found most fascinating about the book was the secret about Keystone habits or small wins. It is the idea that a Keystone habit is one habit that can shift many other patterns in your life and like a small win if you apply something small in a steady manner it can have a huge consequences and amount to a big win over time.

The reason I found this fascinating is that I have been working to shift some of my own habits and have been struggling to focus, stay on track and be disciplined in my life as a whole but especially around my business. This usually isn’t a big challenge for me until lately. I have had to spend some time reflecting and being mindful of the choices I was making. I had to ask myself: what did I change in my routine, why was it difficult for me to focus on getting things done and how come I was struggling to have self-discipline and stay on track? After reading this book it really made me start thinking about what was the one habit I did consistently that impacted everything else and did I stop doing it or did I change it?

I have notoriously worked out first thing in the morning for the past 25 years. I do enjoy working out and feeling good but the truth is I have to move my body. I was in a severe car accident in my early 20’s and if I don’t do some type of movement or exercise at least once a day I suffer physically which cascades into emotional and mental stress as a result. Pain is one heck of a motivator 🙂

Over the past eight months or so I have struggled to work out first thing in the morning: it’s cold, I am tired, I am tired of this routine, yada, yada lot’s of reasons lately to put it off until later. I end up working out or exercising later in the day or early evening. The result of this “new routine” has led me to be a more unfocused, less disciplined (in many areas of my life) and not staying on track very well in my business and creative practice. As a result of putting exercise off, I have created a new habit of not exercising first thing in the morning that wreaks havoc in all areas of my life.

I am now in the process of re-creating my habit of working out first thing in the morning and let me tell you, it’s been rough going. However, the reward is enormous. I feel more focused and clear headed, my body feels good, I already accomplished something which helps build confidence and self discipline, I am in a good mood and I am ready to start my day in a positive way. I also eat better the rest of the day, my evenings are free to do other things, I am not worrying about when I am going to fit exercise in my schedule and I sleep better.

Once I figured out this was my Keystone habit I knew that I had to choose to re-create the habit loop so working out first thing in the morning becomes automatic. I don’t have to think about it, talk myself out of it or wait to do it when I get up in the morning.   I just do it.

If you don’t know what your what your Keystone habit is I challenge you to figure it out and start incorporating it. If you do know what it is that is great and keep it up! I would love to hear what your Keystone habit is and how it works for you in meeting your goals.

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