My last several posts have talked about resolutions or changes you may be trying to implement. The last time, we talked about getting back on track when you lose your way. This time, I have a couple suggestions, or ‘cheat codes,’ to assist you if you are struggling.
If you are struggling to stick with your goal(s), are you trying to change too much at one time? If you are trying to change multiple habits at one time – like lose weight, quit smoking, get in shape – it may be helpful to focus on changing only one or two habits concurrently. When you have succeeded at changing those first two habits, add another one or two. Success often fuels success.
If your challenge is that your goal is too large or complex, try breaking it down into smaller ‘chunks.’ For example, writing a 15 page paper may seem overwhelming. However, if you break this paper into smaller chunks, or goals, these smaller chunks feel easier to complete. Divide that paper into sections – an introduction, a couple points in the body, and a conclusion. Maybe you need a title page and a reference section or bibliography. Now you have 7 smaller chunks. Instead of writing “The Paper” (cue scary music), now you can focus on one small chunk at a time.
James Clear has a wealth of articles on habits and change behavior at JamesClear.com. In The 3 R’s of Habit Change: How To Start New Habits That Actually Stick, he recommends pairing a new habit with something you are already doing. His example was starting the habit of flossing, and his tactic was to pair it with brushing his teeth, a habit he already had. He facilitated his new flossing habit by placing flossers next to his toothbrush, making it easy to remember to floss after brushing.