Making Habits Stick Part 2: The First Step is to "Notice"
Last week, I talked about what to expect when forming new habits. We found that the process can be intense and complicating. If you feel you need a refresher, feel free to refer back to last week’s email here before moving on to Part 2. If you recall, we outlined obstacles that can and will sidetrack you at some point in your journey.
Today, I’d like to go over how to get through these obstacles by introducing the first step in making your habits stick: Notice what exactly is preventing you from succeeding.
Before you even get started, pause for a second. Ask yourself questions like “What just took place?”, “What thoughts are going through my mind?”, “Who am I surrounded by?”. Is your mind or environment the cause of the obstacles at hand or are they advancing you towards your goal?
Let’s use this first step, “Notice”, and apply it to each of the barriers listed in Part 1…
1. Your mind plays tricks on you.
As soon as you hear your mind tell you “I can’t”, take a second and pay attention to what exactly is going on at that moment. Pause and listen.
2. It slips your mind.
Knowing that you have a bad habit of forgetting tasks, take the time to observe the reason why you have a hard time remembering. What is contributing to this mind slip?
3. You break the streak.
You've been so consistent, and then, BOOM, the ball drops. Take that moment to reflect, "What factors contributed to the ball dropping?"
4. You lose the passion.
Get a little uncomfortable and think about exactly why you lost the passion. Could it maybe just be "one of those days?" Do your goals line up with your personal values?
5. Traveling, becoming sick or an emergency throws you off.
Unable to get to the gym? Ask, "How can I still complete my workout for the day?" Blindsided by a head cold? What is the bare minimum that you can do in this state?
6. You get distracted.
What is it exactly that continues to distract you? Who are you with when it happens? What are some patterns that you notice here?
Similar to your fist time prepping raw chicken or perhaps your first time trying an exotic food (such as Natto, fermented soy beans that has an interesting texture and acquired taste), stopping to notice may seem weird and feel uncomfortable. Eventually though, the more experience you have with it, the better prepared you'll become.
This first step plays a huge part in getting us closer to understanding ourselves better and why we react the way we do. It will be much easier to make habits stick when the underlying cause of futile resistance is clearly identified. Noticing both what is going on around us and what is going on upstairs, in our minds, brings us closer to the clarity and awareness needed to be our best selves and take the best next action. This week, when any of the above circumstances create resistance towards your goals, write down what you notice. Don’t judge anything just yet, simply notice it. Next week, we’ll go over the next step in this process.
"If you don't have the time to do it right, when will you have the time to do it over?"