Habits run our lives. I know we’ve probably all heard this, but have you really given it much thought? Habits are stored in our subconscious mind as programs – must like computer programs – that just run without us giving any conscious thought to them. When you really stop to think about that, that’s really amazing.
Does that mean that if I could get in the habit of making a lot of money, then I could make money without even thinking about it? Of course. Does that mean that if I could get in the habit of being happy, then I could just be happy without even trying? Of course. Does that mean that if I could get in the habit of eating the right foods, I would do it without thinking? Yep. It does.
They say it takes 21 days to make a habit. I think it takes longer. I think 21 days is an awesome start and after 21 days it gets easier to keep going, but for me, it usually takes several 21 days at it to make it really sink in to my subconscious mind. Maybe my head is just thicker.
I also think that you need to get rid of something before you can add something new. If I want to start a new habit then I must replace an existing habit with the new one. For me to get in the habit of exercising more, it helped to get rid of my satellite TV service. That freed up enough time to go exercise. That may seem a little extreme for some of you, but I realized that I could get by with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Pandora and my Roku. Now, when I watch TV it’s more deliberate. I know what I want to watch.
I think this also works the other way. For instance, I can get rid of a bad habit if I DON’T do something for 21 days (or more). But, it is much, much easier if I replace that bad habit with something else, preferably a good habit. So, if I want to quit smoking (which I did almost 20 years ago), something else must fill that empty spot in my subconscious mind. Most of us fill it with eating more. It works better if we fill it with exercise or something healthier than over-eating.
Habits are what make up most of our lives. Most of the things we do, we do out of habit. It certainly makes sense to me to create the habits I choose instead of just letting the habits form themselves – good and bad. Since I’ve started doing this, life has just become much easier.
I used to HATE to make my bed (just ask my Mother). Why make up a bed? I’m just going to get back in it in a little while. But, I forced myself to get in the habit. I stuck with it for 21 days (or more) and it became easier. Now, many years later, I make up my bed as soon as I get up without even giving it another thought. I go on autopilot and before I’m even really awake, my bed is made. The dog is often just made up in the bed. I do it all without even thinking. It takes all of 2 minutes.
Who knew a made up bed would be so freeing? Now, my day seems to go much better because my environment seems to have so much order to it! I don’t have to put ‘Make Bed’ on my list of things to do. I don’t have to make a decision about when I will do it. I don’t have to analyze it to death. I don’t have to procrastinate and dread it. It’s done. With little to no energy. D.O.N.E. And I didn’t even realize I was doing it.
On days that I don’t make my bed (I’m trying to remember a time this didn’t happen in the last 10 years and can’t), or when someone comes in and messes up my bed (the kids, the dog, etc.), it makes my whole day go wonky. It’s like I have to make the bed again before I can do anything else. My world is out of order with an unmade bed, unless I’m in it.
What else might I accomplish with just a habit? Just 21 days and a new habit? It helps to have a specific time to do it. Such as just after something else. For making my bed, it was just after I crawl out. For exercise, it might be just after making the bed, or just after work. Whatever it is, it helps to do it roughly the same time every day. That way you don’t have to make the decision all over again every day. The decision is made, you just do it. You don’t question it. You just do it.
I like habitforge because it asks me every day if I made good on my habits the day before. It keeps a running score of how many days in a row I’ve completed my new habit. If 21 days isn’t enough, I can keep going. It will even remind me to do my habit each day if I want. If I miss a day, it starts all over. I can also share with friends if I want so that I have more accountability. Very cool.
I like it so much, I want to share it with you. I asked them for a special coupon code so that you can get a 25% discount when you sign up. You can get one habit tracker for free but to keep track of all your habits, you’ll want to go pro and sign up for the year. It’s very reasonable even without the coupon code, so with the code, it’s a steal!
Just go sign up here and use the coupon code CindyCullen
Add me as a friend when you get in there and we can hold each other accountable with our habits. Good habits make life so much easier!