Who doesn’t want to build better habits? One small habit and business goal I set this year is writing blog posts for our company. I had no problem writing for our clients but was procrastinating when it came to writing for our company. I committed to writing at least one post each month this year. Now the more I write, the more motivated I am to write more. I set a small goal and committed to it. When you do this, you will build better habits at work and in any area of your life.
The secret to building successful habits is starting small and focus on one area at a time. To become consistent, you have to keep it simple. If you overwhelm yourself with a bunch of new habits all at once, you will quit. Creating consistency is the hardest part. Once you’ve built consistency in one new habit every day, it will be a lot easier to add-on new habits. Here are some of the ways I learned to build new habits and become consistent.
It is best to start small when trying to implement a new habit or change a bad one. Once you’ve built up the habit, then you can add to it incrementally. If you’re struggling to stay focused and get easily distracted, then you may want to work on a single task at a time. Gradually increase the time you spend working on your new habit. Soon you’ll find you can spend half an hour on a task without struggling to stay focused.
Start with something you do every day around the same time and use that as a trigger to remind yourself to do your new habit. I have a routine each morning to keep myself on track with work and not get distracted by the latest sale offer in my inbox! I stay focused on my calendar to get my tasks done. I do the most important things first and then take time later in the day to surf facebook or check non-urgent emails.
I transitioned a few years ago from working in a corporate environment to working from home. Working from home has so many great benefits, and it comes with its own set of challenges. It forced me to develop new habits and routines to ensure that my productivity did not decline with the new “freedom” as well as interruptions throughout the day. I have to adjust my work around kids schedules for holidays and summer vacation. That requires some major prioritizing of my work to keep up with all of the changes.
One of the biggest habits I have developed to run my business, school schedules, and life is organizing my calendar. Utilizing Google calendars for our family and work has made our life so much easier. I know what is going on at all times and it is a huge stress relief. Not to mention I am way more productive.
If you struggle with being organized and can’t keep up with your calendar, you can easily overcome this by setting up reminders. Set up a weekly reminder to look over your calendar for the coming week. Each Sunday night when you get your reminder, take a few minutes to look at what events you have for the upcoming week. When this starts to come naturally, you can do this more frequently. Plan to look at your calendar each night to review what you need to accomplish for the next day. I check my calendar each evening and morning for a quick reminder. I also have it open on one of my monitors during the day to keep me on track. Eventually, you will no longer need a reminder. It becomes second nature.
Exercising regularly is a habit many of us want to build to get stronger, look better, and stay healthy. This is an important habit because when you exercise regularly, you also make healthier choices and procrastinate less. Exercising is one of those things you have to do. The same for flossing daily or hitting inbox zero before leaving work for the day. The carryover effects it has on other areas of your life makes exercise even more important.
A little trick is to stack your exercise in with something you regularly do like getting coffee or going to lunch. When you are up getting coffee take an extra few minutes and walk around the block. If you want to go to the gym, set out your workout clothes, so you are prepared in advance. Then grab them and go at lunchtime. Don’t give yourself an opportunity make excuses.
Incorporating these habits will teach you how to build similar habits in your business. Make the habit obvious by putting what you need right in front of you. Be prepared with the equipment you need and making it easily available takes away the hurdle of getting started. It also acts as a reminder.
Everyone loves getting a reward. It is what makes it all worth the hard work. Every time you complete your habit, celebrate it. Reward yourself for putting in the effort. Building up habits over time means focusing on doing something small, every day. Celebrating each time you complete a habit reinforces the value of doing that small thing over and over, rather than reaching for a long-term goal.
Rewards can be anything that makes you feel good about sticking with your habit. It might be taking a well-deserved break or simply telling yourself, “Great Job!” We are a busy family, so a reward that I always look forward to is going to a nice dinner with my business partner/fiance when we close a big deal or have a successful month. It is a small thing but it’s nice to sit back and enjoy your accomplishments.
Track Your Progress
A good way to make sure you’re staying on track and rewarding yourself for your progress is to an app check off your habit each time. I use one called Don’t Break the Chain. You can check off each day that you complete your new habit.
If you struggle to stay on track get an accountability partner. Find someone who will keep you accountable and cheer you on when you succeed. I always text my best friend after my workouts and pictures of healthy meals. This support makes me feel good about what I accomplished, and it’s also really motivating to keep up the healthy lifestyle.
Most importantly, focus on one new habit at a time. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by trying to make several changes at once. You will likely fail and get discouraged if you try to change everything at once. Once you’ve built up one habit successfully, you can stack on a new one!