Posted by Tim Stobbs on January 28, 2015
So about now your well intentioned New Year’s resolution might be falling apart at the seams. After all learning a new habit is hard and we often trip and fall during the process. Well, at least, I always seem to have issues learning a new habit no matter when I try to get it going during the year.
Yet after failing to get into the habit of writing daily for years, I have come across something very small but helpful that is really getting me to get better at doing it. The secret to success in this case is very simple: stop mentally flogging myself when I screw up. Huh?
Let me explain. My cycle typically went like this. I would be full of hope and determination at the start and then at some point or another fall of the wagon of my new habit. Often it was small mistake like getting busy one day and forgetting to write. Then I would feel guilty and immediately try to make up the writing on the next day and double my word count target. Yet doing two days of writing in one can be hard, so that would often go poorly and I would get more disappointed in myself and I would the miss another day. Now feeling even worse with a even bigger debt of writing to complete. Then I would eventually get disgusted and quit the entire attempt. I would have another epic fail to create a habit to write daily.
This time around, it’s been different. Why? Like I said I stopped mentally flogging myself. I don’t try to make up any missed words counts when I screw up a day. In fact I planned for a few screw up days overall so I don’t have to perfect in the first place. Now oddly enough, I don’t have feeling of guilt and then shame about messing up a day here or there. I treat each day as it own personal challenge and I accept I will lose that challenge some days: it’s ok.
I think my problem lies in I was fighting the part of me that was lazy. By not allowing some goofing off days in my earlier attempts I had doomed myself to feeling guilt and shame and spiraling down to failure. Now I just accept that fact, I will screw up at times and frankly that is ok as long as over all I’m writing more than I previously was. Given the option, most people pick being lazy over hard work. It is sort of a normal feeling to have so life gets easier when you realize this and plan for it.
Which perhaps is why I’m such a good saver…I’m lazy about it. I literally forget about it most of the time and only try to do one transfer to an investing account once a month when I’m paying my other bills. I don’t set a deadline on this action, but rather at some point close to either then end or start of the month. But if you are just starting out I would highly suggest automatic transfers…I literally did that for years when we got started and it helped out a lot.
So have you been trying out any new habits lately? How are they going for you? Any tips to share on what works for you?