Reality Blog Challenge: 7 Tips for Forming Habits that Stick

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” ~ Aristotle

Habit: An acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary.

Routine: Habitual or mechanical performance of an established procedure. A routine consists of habits.

I’ve always struggled with routines… developing them and sticking with them. I can’t afford to do that anymore. Without good habits and an effective routine, I won’t reach my goals. I’m not being negative… just telling it like it is.

Since returning from AWAI’s Bootcamp (about five weeks ago), I’ve been focused on developing habits that, I believe, will lead me to a successful writing career. They’re done back-to-back, forming a routine that’s almost automatic. My morning routine consists of 3½ habits:

Habit #1: When I wake up, I go straight for the coffee. Nothing else happens before the rich dark aromatic liquid… my liquid energy… has passed through my lips and over my tongue, signaling my brain that it’s okay to be awake.

Habit #2: I meditate. Yes, jet fuel at my side… don’t judge me. It’s not always the same length of time, or the same guided meditation. Sometimes it’s to music. Or silence.

But over the past six months or so, I’ve made it a habit. After I fill my cup, it’s what I do.

It’s taken some effort to make meditation a habit. But I make myself do it every day, even when I feel like I don’t have time. A few minutes is better than none at all.

Quite honestly, now that I get up at 4:00 a.m. about four days a week, it’s made getting up early more bearable.

I’ve always had an aversion to early morning wake-ups. To convince myself to get up, I remember that I get to sip my freshly brewed “go juice” and zone out (i.e., meditate). When I’m finished it doesn’t feel so early, even though it’s still just 4:30 in the morning.

That prepares me for Habit #3: I sit down and write. Apparently early morning is when I’m most focused and alert… you could never have convinced me of that two months ago. It still boggles my mind.

The ½ Habit is yoga. I’ve had to put work (my writing career) before my yoga routine so I can write during my most productive time. It’s messed me up a bit, and I’m not getting to yoga every day at the moment because I keep writing too long…

… but, one step at a time.

After about five weeks of building these habits, they’re beginning to feel automatic. But how long does it actually take to form a habit?

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Tracy Clement Wilson

Tracy's a freelance B2B copywriter, web writer, blogger, science geek, tree hugger, and health food fanatic. When she's not busy with her family, she attempts organic gardening and hangs out with her chickens (the ladies who give her eggs), bearded dragon (her favorite...read "only"...lizard), and dogs (her office mates).

7 Comments

  • Bravo!

    But 4 a.m.? Really?

    I have heard that it takes 21 days or 1 month (depending on which self-help guru I’m reading at the time) to form a habit. Thank you for clearing up this misnomer for me, Tracy. Now I don’t feel so bad about dropping the meditation habit I’ve been trying to form. It may take me longer than a month to make it second nature.

    Thanks, also, for the tips. Good stuff.

  • LOL…Yup. Really. It’s the only time I can have quiet time. It isn’t as bad as I thought it would be!

  • “One idea at a time” is the one I try to stick to… until another thousand ideas come flooding in and wash away the first idea! Clearly, it’s something I need to work on.

  • Yikes! The average of 66 days?! I believe it. That definitely explains a lot about some previous fade-aways.

    This will come in handy for planning purposes. Thanks.

  • This sounds very familiar Tracy. I’m closer a 5 am rise time, but the rest is my typical morning too. Thanks for this reaffirmation!

  • I’m a crossword addict but, of course, if I start the day’s crossword before I start working, I’ll never get started. So the daily crossword is now my reward. Once I’ve accomplished the day’s projects, including a walk, I can start the crossword.

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