It’s tempting to give up when you’re trying to make a change and you feel overwhelmed after a few days because nothing seems to have changed. But remember: these changes won’t feel natural overnight. It will take time for them to become a part of your process. Eventually you’ll begin to feel in control of your habits (and task list).
Pause. Take a break and do something you enjoy for a bit before you dive into why it’s not working. I love to go for a run in the trails.
Evaluate. Are you trying to make too many changes at once? Did you make an overly complicated system? Are you scared of ruining it and it not being perfect? Perfectionism is a challenge we all face.
Negotiate. Simplify! Chose one new step to implement this week for your new system instead of fifteen. Perhaps it’s simply keeping your notebook open on your desk during the work day.
Three Tips for Creating a New Habit
Here’s my thought process for beginning to use my planner more regularly.
- Build on existing routines. Each morning I drink tea. To open up my planner and look at it each morning doesn’t require significant effort.
- Make it easy to succeed. At night night before I go to upstairs to bed I put my planner on the dining table.
- Create a chain. My initial habit was for a few times each week and that was the foundation of my chain. After success I took on looking at my planner every work-day morning.
When I struggle to make a change, I take a moment to step back and try to figure out why. For example, I want to be able to read more in French, but haven’t studied the language seriously since my undergraduate years. After struggling through the first two translated Harry Potter books in French earlier this year, I decided to step back and review basic grammar. My college texts sat on my desk and gathered dust for months. Last month I decided to install one of the language apps on my tablet and have now been much more consistent with nearly daily study. Have my French language skills improved? Je ne sais pas, mais ça va mieux!