Habits: becoming your destiny

“Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits, Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Habit formation is the key to living your values (personally: become more proficient at my work, and get in better physical shape). For some of us it seems impossible.

Brian Tracy said that you should “eat a frog” at the beginning of your day; that “frog” is a difficult (or impossible) task on your to do list, the one you’ll procrastinate; if you eat it first, it’ll give you the motivation for the rest of the day. Also, frogs are the to-do’s we need to do, but don’t want to – not necessarily the most important.

Procrastination get’s a bad rap, but for some it’s the stewing time it takes to get something up and running. For those of us with the Creative Entrepreneurial Brain (smart, multi-talented, busy) it’s also a way of building up the pressure we need to get it done. But what if procrastination is self care? The frog sucks, avoid the frog, feel better, live in less suck.

Self > Dreaded Task > Avoid > Feel Better

What if you replaced Avoid with Do, and Feel Better with Reward Self? (sit!)

Self > Dreaded Task > Do Some Of It > Reward Self > Feel Better

Nice, huh? Make yourself a list of rewards: 10 minutes on FaceBook, 5 minutes watching cat videos on YouTube, a phone call to a friend, etc.

Not likely to do the habit (write your 3 most important things you need to get done today), then tie it to a habit that is easily done and you know will happen. Going to lunch, making coffee in the morning – tie something that isn’t a given (look over my to do list) with something that is (make my coffee). And for added benefit add a reward! Externalize it: write the thing that needs to get done on a sticky, program your email to send you a note, ask a boss/coworker to meet with you, or hire a coach!

Theories abound on how long it takes to build a habit 21 days, 5 weeks, 3 months. Well, who really cares because you’ll know when it’s been built. One of the easiest tricks I learned is the 5 trick: do something 5 minutes a day, 5 days a week, for 5 weeks and you’ll build the habit.

In the Land of Big and Supersized with think all our accomplishments have to be Nobel Prize winning; toss that because anything ever created started with just one step. Just take the next step towards building a habit and you’ll build your life.

If you don’t … someone else will.

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